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CU System Archive

CU System

New board members elected at Mid-America CUA

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BISMARCK, N.D. (7/6/09)--The Mid-America Credit Union Association elected one new board member and re-elected two board members during its Annual Summit in Grand Forks, N.D., June 11-13. Newly elected was Darrell Olson, CEO of Town & Country CU, Minot, N.D. Re-elected to the board were Darla Schafer, manager of Flasher (N.D.) Community CU, and Marietta Wahl, manager of Northland Educators FCU, Fargo, N.D. The association serves 87 credit unions in North and South Dakota. They serve more than 412,000 members with assets in excess of $3 billion.

CU System briefs (07/05/2009)

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* KENNEWICK, Wash. (7/6/09)--Mortgage lending by Washington State credit unions increased by 313% over the last decade, with those credit unions providing a total of $10.5 billion in mortgage loans to their members during that time span. Washington State credit unions lent $3.3 billion in mortgage loans during the previous decade. Auto loans and savings deposits also increased over the last ten years. (The Tri-City Herald July 1) … * MIAMI, Fla. (7/6/09)--A class action suit has been filed by IBM employees in the U.S. District Court in Miami, alleging that their credit union lost their money by investing with Wellstone Securities, a now-defunct company that underwrote bonds from Cornerstone Ministry Investments. Cornerstone is a religious affiliated group that specialized in real estate investments. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. The lawsuit was filed against Boca Raton-based IBM Southeast Employees FCU and four of its employees. The complaint says the members relied on the advice of credit union employees who had a business relationship with Wellstone that prevented impartial investment advice (Palm Beach Daily Business Review July 2) … * WICHITA, Kan. (7/6/09)--Mid American CU, a $141.5 million asset credit union based in Wichita, Kan., is in merger talks with the $3.3 million asset, Arkansas City-based Sunflower CU, according to Mid American President/CEO Jim Holt (The Wichita Eagle July 2). Both credit unions' boards have approved the proposed merger plan. Mid American will conduct a special member meeting July 27 to discuss the plan, which would make Mid American the surviving institution. A merger would give it its first physical presence in Arkansas City and Cowley County. The credit union has some members in that area already. Sunflower members would gain access to more services if a merger is approved by the Kansas Department of Credit Unions. Pending approval, the merger could be completed as early as the end of the third quarter (The Wichita Eagle July 2) … * TAMPA, Fla. (7/6/09)--Florida Central CU in Tampa has selected Laida E. Garcia as its new president/CEO. Garcia has been executive vice president of the $250 million asset credit union for eight years. She succeeds Ed Gallagly, who died in March. Garcia is also a board member of the Credit Union National Foundation board and serves as treasurer of the board of the National Credit Union Foundation. The credit union serves about 36,000 members and more than 1,000 select employee groups (MoneyCentral.MSN July 1) … * DEL MAR, Calif. (7/6/09)-- Michael Buecher, board member and Supervisory Committee chairman at San Antonio, Texas-based Air Force FCU, has been appointed to the board of directors of the National Association of Credit Union Supervisory and Auditing Committees (NACUSAC). Buecher was appointed during NACUSAC's 2009 Annual Business Meeting on June 19. Buecher is a former Region IV board member for the organization, which serves credit union supervisory and auditing committees exclusively. He will fill a one-year unexpired term …

Texas CUs offer payday loan alternatives

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DALLAS (7/6/09)--Credit unions in north Texas are working together to develop a payday loan alternative that will cap the interest rate paid by borrowers at 18% (Fort Worth Start-Telegram and Lone Star Leaguer July 2). Credit unions in the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) are developing the payday loan program as part of the league’s participation in the National Credit Union Foundation’s REAL Solutions program. Representatives of the participating Texas credit unions are currently examining credit union payday loan alternatives developed in Iowa, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. For example, $44.9 million-asset Hershey FCU in Hummelstown, Pa., offers loans of up to $500, which must be repaid in 90 days at 18% interest plus a $25 fee. Ten percent of the loan amount is deposited in a savings account. Loan applicants must be credit union members for 90 days, provide proof of income and be employed for six months. The Texas group hopes to launch its own payday alternative by year-end. Credit unions planning to participate include $5.7 billion-asset Guardian First FCU, Fort Worth; $49 million Security One FCU, Arlington; $36.5 million First Class American CU, Fort Worth; and $5.322 billion American Airlines FCU, Dallas. Payday lenders typically charge interest rates of 300% to 400%. Fifteen states have capped the interest rate at 36%, but a 2008 attempt to limit payday loan interest rates in the Texas legislature failed.

Mid-America CU Association announces awards

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BISMARCK, N.D. (7/6/09)--The Mid-America Credit Union Association recognized the work done by exemplary credit unions as well as by outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers at its annual summit in June. Three credit unions were recognized by the association, which serves credit unions in the Dakotas:
* Capital CU, Bismarck, received the Champion Award for its commitment to the political well-being of the credit union movement, based on the percentage by which it surpassed annual fundraising goals. * Town and Country CU, Minot, N.D., received the Five Star Award for its work in education, legislative activities, public relations/marketing, member contact and community service. * Healthcare Plus FCU, Aberdeen, S.D., received the Growth and Progress Award for exceeding the state growth percentage in assets, members, loans and savings.
Professionals and volunteers were also honored for their work. They included:
* Melva Oak, who was inducted into the Mid-America Credit Union Hall of Fame. She was a key contributor to the success of First Community CU, Jamestown, N.D. * Truman Henry, a volunteer at Healthcare Plus FCU, was named South Dakota Volunteer of the Year. * Mary E. Nelson, a volunteer at First Community CU, was honored as the North Dakota Volunteer of the Year. * Tim Brown, CEO of Dakota Plains CU, Edgeley/Ellendale/Enderlin, N.D., was named North Dakota Professional of the Year. * Dave Gleason, manager of Coteau Valley FCU, Sisseton, S.D., was recognized as South Dakota Professional of the Year. * Roxanne Mullenberg, member service representative at Postal Family FCU, Fargo, N.D., was selected as the Young Credit Union Professional Network’s Cutting Edge Professional of the Year.

Cherry Blossom Race honors Capitol Hill competition winners

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WASHINGTON (7/6/09)--Markey’s Glacial Pacers from the office of U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) posted the best team time among the 29 teams competing in the Capitol Hill Competition of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Race.
Click to view larger image Members of the Markey’s Glacial Pacers team received the 2009 Capitol Hill Competition Cup from the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run's credit union sponsors. The group included, from left, Jennifer Wahlen, National Association of Federal Credit Unions; Charlie Mallon, Wright Patman Congressional FCU; team members Morgan Gray, Danielle Baussan, Ellen Connell, Mitch Robinson and Eben Burnham Snyder; Susan Enis of United States Senate FCU; and Pat Keefe of the Credit Union National Association. (Photo provided by CUNA)
House teams placing in the event included Arcuri’s Utica Club from the office of Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.) and Fab Five from the office of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Senate teams placing in the event were Run Io-way with Me from the office of the Senate Agriculture Committee, FRENZI from the office of Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sax In The City from the office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Capitol Hill Competition sponsors are the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), and the two credit unions serving Capitol Hill: Wright Patman Congressional FCU and United States Senate FCU. The competition represents a “race within a race” for teams drawn from congressional offices. Overall, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Mile Run draws about 500 congressional staff and members of Congress. Credit Union Miracle Day Inc. sponsors the run, which raised $1 million for the Children’s Miracle Network in 2009.

League poll Texas voters rank CUs high

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (7/6/09)--Credit unions ranked high according to results of a Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) telephone poll of Texas voters on their perceptions of the state’s top issues, elected leadership, the Texas economy, the economic crisis and other financial issues. “Texas voters are more optimistic than the rest of the country about our state’s economy and surviving their national current financial crisis,” said Buddy Gill, TCUL chief advocacy officer. “We’re delighted, but not surprised, to continue to see credit unions consistently rank as the most popular of any financial services institutions today. “Credit unions weren’t part of the problems that caused the national financial crisis, but we can be part of the solution to get our country back on its feet,” he added (The Advocate June 30). Findings of the poll indicated:
* Credit unions are not viewed as part of the country’s economic problems. * The popularity of credit unions remains high. The image of credit unions has remained virtually unchanged at 75% favorable and 8% unfavorable--statistically the same as the 2004 finding of 77% favorable and 9% unfavorable. What is noteworthy, said TCUL, is that credit unions are popular far beyond their own membership levels, nearly half (45%) of all Texas voters are members of Texas credit unions--up slightly from 42% in 2004. * Voters favored eliminating the 12.25%-of-assets cap on member business loans that Congress placed on credit unions 11 years ago. Voters see small-business loans as a workable way to help get credit into entrepreneurs’ hands while other financial institutions cut back on lending during the recession, TCUL said.
The poll of 800 registered Texas voters was conducted April 23, 25 and 26 by a bipartisan political polling team of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican company based in Virginia, and Hamilton Campaigns, a Democratic firm based in Florida.

CUs for Kids had huge impact report says

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SALT LAKE CITY (7/6/09)--Credit Unions for Kids has issued an impact report showing credit unions’ contributions over the years to Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Credit Unions for Kids ranks third behind Wal-Mart and Costco for corporate giving at Children’s Miracle Network. The credit unions raised a record $9.3 million in 2008--a 17% increase over 2007, according to Joe Dearborn, Children’s Miracle Network senior director. More than 170 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals benefit from Credit Unions for Kids’ contributions, which have increased annually. In 1996, the organization raised $1.5 million. This amount was more than tripled in 2000 with donations of $4.9 million. In 2005, Credit Unions for Kids raised $6.3 million, bringing the total amount of money raised from 1996 to 2008 to about $73 million. The report also noted individual highlights from 2008:
* With support from Children’s Miracle Network and Credit Unions for Kids, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare opened an Advanced Imaging Center in June 2008 that is designed for children with disabilities. The center offers MRI, CT, fluoroscopy and ultrasound exams. Gillette performed more than 4,500 exams in the summer of 2008. * IDADIV CU, Nampa, Idaho, raised $8,291 at a charity golf tournament for St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise. CO-OP Financial Services’ Miracle Match Program raised the total to $16,583. * Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, Middletown, Pa., raised more than $10,000 for Children’s Miracle Network through the corporate’s members. * Pennsylvania State Employees CU, Harrisburg, Pa., raised more than $12,000 through a baseball fundraiser. * Credit Unions for Kids supported the Carolyn and Scott Rainbow House at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. The home offers guest rooms for patient families of the children’s hospital. * CO-OP Financial Services raised $1.5 million through its Miracle Match program, launched in 2008. * Georgia Credit Unions and Affiliates raised more than $31,000 through cookbook sales--which was matched by $10,000 from CO-OP Financial Services. * The Arizona Credit Union League helped put CO-OP’s Miracle Match program $33,000 over its $500,000 goal.
Texas ranked No. 1 of the top 10 states for fundraising with a 2008 total of $1.01 million. Portland, Ore., ranked as No. 1 in the top 10 markets with a contribution totaling $702,025. Credit Unions for Kids also was featured in media campaigns in 38 markets and submarkets, with a campaign value of nearly $3.3 million. Children’s Miracle Network helps 17 million patients per year. The distribution of funds includes:
* 39% to immediate medical needs; * 30% to charitable care; * 15% to research; * 11% to equipment; and * 5% to preventative education.

NCUF funds resources to keep homeowners independent

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WASHINGTON (7/6/09)–America’s credit unions, through an Innovation Grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), are offering a DVD and website with resources for struggling homeowners to avoid foreclosure and remain independent. The “Right at Home” video and accompanying website feature information about:
* Budgeting for any situation; * Finding the right mortgage, and; * Rebuilding credit after foreclosure.
Testimonials from three homeowners who avoided foreclosure are profiled in the video. “The success stories from real homeowners are truly inspiring,” said NCUF Deputy Director Steve Bosack. “The DVD presents living proof that with the right information, struggling homeowners can save their homes. And the website provides resources that could help millions more consumers regain control of their financial future.” The website includes a downloadable workbook with problem-solving guides for problems homeowners face: income losses, increased mortgage payments, and other financial challenges. Detailed money management information and links connect homeowners with programs that offer free advice and mortgage relief, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Budget tools, including budget forms, are also available for download. The website and video were produced by CU Village, a web design and multimedia subsidiary of the Michigan Credit Union League. The video can also be viewed through the website chapter by chapter. Credit unions, members and consumers can purchase the DVD for a nominal fee. There are no other products for sale on the site--only tools to help families stay in their homes. NCUF Innovation Grants are funded by the Community Investment Fund (CIF), an award-winning system of investments that help credit unions earn dividends while donating to charities.

Googolplexs new youth editorial board at work

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MADISON (7/6/09)--New members of the Googolplex youth editorial board delivered their first evaluations of the latest stories and games to appear in the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) online periodical for credit union members under 18. Next year, the board--whose members range in age from 9 to 16--will critique content about money and consumer issues. Each board member also will write a Googolplex article, to ensure that the Web magazine remains relevant and interesting to subscribing credit unions’ young members. “Our editorial board members keep us on track with their feedback,” said Managing Editor Rena Crispin. “When they don’t like something, they’re blunt about it, which makes their praise all the more satisfying. They take their responsibility to represent our readers’ interests very seriously, and help keep Googolplex informative, interesting and fun for credit union members throughout the K-12 grades.” Youth board members have diverse backgrounds and are scattered nationwide. Staff of CUNA’s Center for Personal Finance selected members for their ability to provide frank and detailed criticism of what appears on Googolplex’s three age levels. CUNA also considered communication skills and writing ability.
Representative members from the three levels of the 2009-10 Googolplex editorial board:
* 5-Spot: Mary, 9, is an elementary school student who is a member of CEFCU, Peoria, Ill. She enjoys baking and recently started her own business, “Mary’s Sweet Treats.” She wants to become a teacher. “I want to help others to learn new things,” she said. * AJ’s: Tommy, 13, is a member of the NRL FCU, Oxon Hill, Md. He has a strong desire to learn more about “being smart with money.” Tommy plays on his middle school's football and basketball teams, and announces sports games for his school via the Internet. * C-Note: Alexandra, 14, is a high-school student and member of Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla. She excels at the arts and was nominated for Young Artist of the Year through a local organization. She also is active with her local church--teaching an art class that she started and helping with “Southwest Florida Outreach,” a group that provides food, clothing and financial assistance for the homeless.
Googolplex includes three customizable websites that feature interactive games, videos and stories dealing with money matters and life issues, including the benefits of credit union membership. They are available with a single annual subscription.

WesCorp announces staff layoffs

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SAN DIMAS, Calif. (7/6/09)--Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp) President/CEO Philip Perkins detailed Wednesday the final action of several cost-saving initiatives--including roughly 90 layoffs--that aim to roll back expenses to 2003 levels. The initiatives include belt-tightening measures resulting from reviews of the processes supporting WesCorp’s product lines, including appropriate staffing levels and employee benefits. The goal, said Perkins, is to ensure WesCorp’s ability to continue to efficiently provide service to its 1,000-plus member credit unions. The decisions announced Wednesday will impact about 30 employees at WesCorp’s headquarters in San Dimas, Calif. Staff reductions will also affect another 60-plus people at branch locations. About one-third of the layoffs are effective immediately. The remainder will take effect over the next 12 months, as four branch locations devoted to check settlement are phased out at the time their leases expire, and operational processes are migrated away. WesCorp’s staff will drop by roughly 22% from beginning-of-year levels to when all of the planned branch location closings are completed by the middle of 2010. “We, like our members, recognize that business and economic conditions have changed profoundly,” Perkins explained. “We looked at the entire scope of our organization with a critical eye for increasing efficiencies and scaling staffing to match business levels. We are making these tough decisions in order to continue a high level of commitment to the products and services our members expect from WesCorp.” The analysis prompted WesCorp to advance some strategic plans already in place, such as those associated with converting to image check processing and phasing out branch processing facilities. It also allowed WesCorp to realign and reduce staffing and organizational resources to support WesCorp’s core competencies. “WesCorp regrets the impact these decisions will have upon its work force,” Perkins added. “We join, however, with many of our members in making the tough expense and staffing decisions necessary to meet today’s economic conditions.”