Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

Safety via NCUSIF highlighted in Dallas newspaper

 Permanent link
DALLAS (8/12/08)--After recent bank failures hit the news, queries to a Dallas newspaper provided an opportunity for readers to learn more about credit unions' National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). Columnist Pamela Yip writes in Monday's issue of The Dallas Morning News that she received queries from readers about the insurance that covers credit unions. She reassures that the deposit insurance at credit unions is similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and is backed by the U.S. government, and explains the individual account and joint account insurance limits as well as limits on retirement accounts. The article quotes former National Credit Union Administration Chairman JoAnn Johnson saying that NCUSIF is strong and "enters the second half of 2008 secure and well-capitalized." Dick Ensweiler, CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, notes credit unions "simply haven't experienced the problems to the degree some of our for-profit counterparts have. Our loan portfolios are performing quite well, despite current economic conditions." Also interviewed is Jim Brisendine, CEO of Resource One CU, a $255 million asset Dallas-based credit union, who noted that although the banking industry has a credit crunch, there's "nothing to worry about" at his credit union. And Charles R. Idol of ALM Consulting & Research, Edgewood, N.M., says Texas credit unions are well-capitalized. The article mentions banks raising the tax-credit-unions rhetoric but concludes credit unions offer many benefits in rates and that consumers have many options to decide where to put their money. To read the entire article, use the link.

MDDCCUA widens scope of community outreach efforts

 Permanent link
COLUMBIA, Md. (8/12/08)--The board of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA) has moved to unite two key committees and widen the scope of the combined committee's outreach efforts. "MDDCCUA wants to expand and enhance the outreach efforts of the association and credit unions by having talented, credit union officials work together to help consumers understand the strengths and opportunities available at the 179 Maryland and DC credit unions," announced MDDCCUA Chairman J. Wesley Bone. The Community Outreach and Cooperative Marketing committees will combine into a single Community Outreach Committee, chaired by Bert Hash. Hash is president/CEO of MECU of Baltimore and vice chairman of MDDCCUA. Mike Dilworth, chief of marketing and business development at Freedom FCU will be vice chair. He formerly chaired the Cooperative Marketing Committee. "Both committees have proven strong voices and perform great work," said Hash. "Working together will give those efforts one voice representing credit unions throughout Maryland and District of Columbia." The new committee's scope will be broadened to include:
* Credit union awareness. The committee will develop a credit union "Safety and Soundness" media campaign for Maryland and DC to run in fourth quarter; * Financial empowerment events for consumers. Credit unions can act as partners in developing and sponsoring new and established events in the region; * REAL Solutions. The committee will expand area credit unions' involvement in activities that provide outreach tools and learning opportunities for consumers; and * The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10K Run. The committee will promote the charity event, which raised more than $1 million this year for the Children's Miracle Network with more than $500l000 going directly to local children's hospitals.

CU System briefs (08/11/2008)

 Permanent link
* MEMPHIS, Tenn. (8/12/08)--HOPE Community CU, a community development credit union based in Jackson, Miss., has opened its first Tennessee-based branch in the Midtown neighborhood of Memphis, said the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The branch will provide a full range of affordable financial services and affordable alternatives to predatory and subprime lenders. HOPE is a certified CDFI sponsored by the Enterprise Corp. of the Delta (ECD). "By working with a range of partners, both public and private, ECD/HOPE has become one of the nation's most effective CDFIs," said CDFI Director Donna J. Gambrell, noting it had used a $15 million allocation and converted it into more than $50 million in loans for economically distressed communities (US Fed News Aug. 1) … * NAPERVILLE, Ill. (8/12/08)--The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) is promoting healthy lifestyles for its staff. ICUL just concluded its first "Biggest Loser" competition, a 12-week competition with 20 staff losing 214.6 pounds total. Nearly 80 employees participated in ICUL's first wellness screenings, which test blood pressure, body mass, and check for cholesterol, diabetes and more, and health risk appraisals, where participants answer dietary and lifestyle questions IN addition to flu shots and blood drives, the league also has incorporated healthier food choices at its staff social functions and added an "ICU Well" page on its intranet with nutrition and fitness website references, healthy recipes and other information. "We even quit putting out the candy dish at our reception area," said Dan Plauda, ICUL president/CEO … * SAN JOSE, Calif. (8/12/08)--Four people have been arrested after two masked men, who had been thwarted by Pacific Postal CU's bandit barrier earlier in the week, returned Friday and held up the credit union, threatening to shoot the tellers and members. They fled with more than $76,000. Alert witnesses helped identify the assailants after they were seen getting out of a Jeep and into a sedan. Witnesses said one of the men resembled a relative of a former employee who had been fired over a shortage in her cash drawer. Arrested were Sefo Sagote, 26; Elisara Taito, 25; the former employee Angelica Sagote; and Donnisha Harrell (San Francisco Chronicle Aug. 10) … * WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (8/12/08)--Robins FCU President/CEO John Ruffin announced he will retire Dec. 31, after 37 years in the credit union industry. Ruffin was hired at the credit union as executive vice president in 1997. He became CEO in 2003. Previously Ruffin was retired from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), where he served for 26 years in several positions, the last of which was as Regional Director in Austin, Texas. John Rhea, current executive vice president at Robins Federal, will succeed Ruffin in the CEO position on Jan. 1, 2009. Rhea started his career at Robins Federal in 1996. He has 30 years' experience in the financial industry … * OSHKOSH, Wis. (8/12/08)--Douglas (Doug) Arent, former board chair of CitizensFirst CU, Oshkosh, Wis., died Aug. 6 at his residence. He was 75. An employee of Rockwell International until he retired in 1988, Arent served on the board Wisconsin Axle CU (now CitizensFirst CU) and on the CitizensFirst board from 1973 to 2000. He was board chair from 1978 to 1993. Arent served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Credit Union League from 1984 to 1999 and was a member of numerous committees (The League Aug. 11). He is survived by his wife Carol, a daughter, two grandchildren, two sisters, a brother, two stepchildren and four stepgrandchildren. Funeral services were Monday. (The Aug. 10) …

CUs help San Diego employees receive pay after error

 Permanent link
SAN DIEGO (8/12/08)--San Diego Metropolitan CU received an overwhelming response from other credit unions who helped make sure San Diego City employees were paid after an employee error at the credit union slowed the posting of payroll deposits Friday. All employees were paid by Monday, Adele Sandberg, San Diego Metropolitan CU senior vice president of finance, told News Now. Many of the deposits were posted on Saturday, she added. The error occurred when the City of San Diego’s payroll automated clearinghouse (ACH) origination file didn’t settle Friday because it had not been cleared for processing by the credit union’s ACH department. The credit union re-sent the file Friday around 8 a.m. and contacted each of the 171 financial institutions requesting that each institution perform an additional ACH receive session to process the payroll transactions, according to a letter San Diego Metropolitan CU President/CEO Joseph Schroeder sent to the city. San Diego Metropolitan CU told the financial institutions that their funds would be guaranteed once the deposits were posted. “Credit unions help credit unions,” Sandberg said of the outcome. San Diego Metropolitan CU’s members were not affected by the error because their funds are held at the credit union, Sandberg said. San Diego Metropolitan CU has disbursed pay to city employees for 15 years.

Educators CU creates at-home savings challenge

 Permanent link
RACINE, Wis. (8/12/08)--Educators CU members can compete to win $10,000 in the credit union’s first-annual savings challenge. More than 90 have applied for the challenge, which is part of the Filene i3 Savings Revolution. Six families will compete for the prize while improving their financial well-being. Winners will be announced Thursday. Participating families will be paired with financial counselors for nine months in attempts to reduce the families’ debt by 3%, increase their savings by 5%, improve their credit history and become more financially savvy, according to the Wisconsin Credit Union League (The League Aug. 11). Members also can play the challenge from home. Educators CU is the first credit union to create a home version of the challenge. Members must pick a goal to achieve over the next seven to nine months, obtain a credit report, open and maintain a VIP Savings account, keep a spending plan, and attend three Educators financial education workshops or three online courses from Balance, a financial fitness program. Online participants will be entered into a drawing to win $1,000; $750; $500; or $250. They must sign up by Oct. 31. Educators is one of 10 credit unions to offer the Savings Challenge.

HandFF Radio spotlighted in radio trade publication

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (8/12/08)--H&FF Radio, the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) consumer finance issues show broadcast by the Radio America Network, was spotlighted recently in a radio industry trade publication. Radio and Records magazine featured Home & Family Finance's show, which airs Sundays at 3 p.m. EDT. The one-hour program is devoted to consumer finance issues and is brought to the public by America's credit unions and their 90 million members, and presented by CO-OP Network. "Being spotlighted in this prominent radio industry trade publication indicates our show is gaining notice, and the added exposure should help bring the program to the attention of more local stations around the country," said Mark Wolff, senior vice president of communications at CUNA. The R&R article reports there are a number of "well-produced, credible syndicated weekend shows to help listeners navigate today's economic challenges." It cites two programs, including "Home & Family Finance." A sidebar and photo feature Paul Berry, host of the program, saying that the orogram isn't about sophisticated investments or making a killing in the market. "We bring it down to the kitchen table level," he told the publication. Home & Family Finance is a resource center for personal finance information from CUNA. The radio show is sponsored by CO-OP Network, the national credit union ATM network; Cabot Creamery Cooperative, maker of award-winning cheddar; Visa; and Western Corporate FCU and its member credit unions. Each Friday, News Now features the next Sunday's H&FF Radio lineup in its "Consumer News" section.

Wisconsin TV station features shared branches

 Permanent link
MADISON, Wis. (8/12/08)--Just after NBC's broadcast of Friday's opening ceremonies at the Olympics in Beijing, a local newscast on the NBC affiliate in Madison, Wis., featured a story on credit unions and shared branching. John Stofflet and Leigh Mills, anchors on "15 News at Ten," noted that credit unions have a lot of benefits, including lower interest rates on loans and higher rates on savings. "So why don't more people use them?" they asked. The answer was convenience. "They don't have as many branches" as competitors, said Stofflet, who added, "Or do they?" They interviewed Sandra Smith, identified as a "credit union manager," who explained that many credit unions are joining shared-branch networks. "Credit unions are banding together to offer services in networks, like a credit union cooperative," said Stofflet. The broadcast also noted that some networks have kiosks in 7-Eleven stores. It displayed a list of CU Service Centers. The newscast also noted viewers could check out credit unions on the station's website. To view the broadcast, use the link.

Georgia foundation raises 34K for Iowa disaster relief

 Permanent link
DULUTH, Ga. (8/12/08)--The Georgia Credit Union Foundation rallied the support of the state’s credit unions to raise more than $34,000 to assist credit unions affected by the floods in Iowa this spring. Georgia credit unions contributed more than $29,000. The remaining $5,000 was donated by the foundation. The Georgia group donated the funds to the Iowa Credit Union Foundation, which will disburse 100% of the money to credit unions and members throughout Iowa who are struggling to get back on their feet following the floods. Excessive rains caused flooding in Iowa during May and June. Total damages are estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars. The floods left 13 dead with another 65,000 injured, displaced or otherwise affected. Georgia credit union’ contribution is in the top five in the nation from the credit union movement, said the Iowa Credit Union League. The funds will help fulfill more than 2,100 requests to the Iowa league for assistance. About 800 have been met so far. “The floods in Iowa and other parts of the Midwest have unfortunately touched the lives of many of our friends and colleagues in the credit union movement,” said Dan Denning, vice president credit union development, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, adding, “We can always count on our credit unions to step up and offer financial support in times of need.” Patrick Jury, CEO of the Iowa league, said: “I’ve heard the good folks of Georgia have made some serious contributions to Iowans impacted by the flooding. I doubt I could ever thank you enough for this generosity. We’ll make sure the money is put in the hands of the credit union members who need it most. “The folks we are working with have lost most everything. Please extend my thanks to others who have worked to help improve the lives of our members,” he added.

NCUF report CUs help car buyers avoid predatory loans

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (8/12/08)--A new research report published by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) details seven lessons from credit unions making sustainable used-auto loans to non-prime borrowers. Steer Clear: How Credit Unions Help Car Buyers Avoid Predatory Loans, demonstrates how credit unions can gain a sustainable share of the “non-prime” market, where eight million used cars are sold each year to borrowers with less than prime credit scores. The free 57-page report is available on NCUF’s website. The non-prime auto loan market is dominated by sub prime lenders (60% market share) and banks (30% market share) that charge much higher interest rates than credit unions. “Non-prime auto lending represents a substantial opportunity for credit unions to expand their markets, build net income, and attract new loyal members by giving them a substantially better deal,” said report author Bill Myers, field coach for NCUF’s REAL Solutions program and senior fellow at The Aspen Institute. The report’s seven lessons are based on experiences from more than 250 credit union lenders who responded to a survey commissioned by NCUF, and on Myers’ follow-up research on best practices from credit unions making “large and sustainable inroads” into non-prime auto lending. These credit unions have learned to:
* Recognize that non-prime used-auto lending is a financially viable line of business; * Reduce the underwriting gap by transferring traditional character lending techniques into an automated decision-making process; * Get in front of dealers by assisting members in finding cars; * Employ a “hard close” to cement bonds with members; * Insure borrowers against events out of the realm of their control; * Export risks by using available loan loss insurance products and guarantees; and * Keep in touch with borrowers by allocating resources to monitor and collect loans at the first sign of trouble.
NCUF will be taking model auto loan programs on the road. “We plan to bring the Steer Clear project to a national scale by adding non-prime auto lending options for credit unions to offer through REAL Solutions,” says NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “By saving used-car buyers thousands of dollars on reliable transportation to work, we hope to create more discretionary income for these low-wealth borrowers. The Steer Clear project has the potential to achieve transformational philanthropy that will strengthen the financial security of households across America,” he added.”

Faith-based CUs affinity card donates to mission work

 Permanent link
NAMPA, Idaho (8/12/08)--Christian Community CU (CCCU) is offering its members a credit card that will donate $25 to mission work each time the card is approved. The credit union will donate additional funds each time the card is used for a purchase or pay a bill. The card is offered through a partnership the credit union has with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). CCCU designed the card, MAF Platinum Rewards Visa, and created the donation program. “Every time there’s an MAF card account opened, and cardholders use it exclusively, the potential donations to MAF are tremendous,” CCCU President John Walling said. CCU also will double rewards points when the card is used to make donations to MAF and most churches. MAF’s missionary teams help 1,000 organizations worldwide and MAF pilots transport missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies. The teams serve in 51 countries and pilots fly an average of 281 flights per day across Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, in isolated areas. CCCU, of San Dimas, Calif., has more than $450 million in assets.

CUs fare well in Michigans primary says league

 Permanent link
NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (8/12/08)--Credit union-friendly candidates fared well in the Michigan primary election Aug. 5, says the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL). Of the 66 State House candidates supported by the league's political action committee, MCULAF, 64 will move on to the general election Nov. 4, said Patrick La Pine, MCUL executive vice president (Michigan Monitor Aug. 11). In the federal races, one of the closest and most widely publicized races was in the 13th House District, where U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Detroit), a co-sponsor of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA), narrowly defeated challenger and former State Rep. Mary Waters of Detroit. The vote was 39% for Kilpatrick and 36% for Waters. State Sen. Martha Scott (D-Highland Park) received 25%. MCULAF-supported State Rep. Ted Hammon (D-Burton) lost to Jim Slezak of Davidson, and Gibraltar Mayor Jim Beaubien (D-23), also endorsed by MCULAF, lost to Woodhaven Brownstown Board of Education member Deb Kennedy. La Pine told the Monitor that in the coming weeks, the league's governmental affairs staff will prepare a list of targeted races and ask credit unions to turn out grassroots support.

Minnesota CUs hit soldiers home fundraiser goal early

 Permanent link
ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/12/08)--Nearly a month ahead of the projected timeline, Minnesota's credit unions have surpassed their $150,000 fundraising goal for financing the building of a home for an injured Iraq war veteran.
Click to view larger image Minnesota credit unions reached their $150,000 fundraising goal to build a home for Sgt. Marcus Kuboy in Woodbury, Minn. Shown at the home are, from left: Pat Brekken, chair of Minnesota's Home For Our Troops fundraising committee; Kristi Mukomela, chair of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation; and Peter Skaalen, executive vice president of Minnesota Credit Union Network. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Working with Homes for Our Troops, credit unions in Minnesota and across the country raised funds to build two specially-adapted homes in St. Paul and Denver, the sites of the 2008 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, respectively. Roughly $300,000 is needed to finance the building of both homes. More than 40 Minnesota credit unions participated in fundraisers, with contributions from credit unions, their members, the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN), several state partners and organizations, and other credit unions nationwide. "The outpouring of support for this initiative is symbolic of the way our credit unions support the military and thank them for the defense of our country," said Mark D. Cummins, president/CEO of MnCUN. The home is for Sgt. Marcus Kuboy, a Minnesota native who served three years' active duty with the Minnesota National Guard. He sustained serious injuries in March 2007 when an improvised explosive device exploded under his vehicle. Homes for Our Troops, a non-profit organization, builds homes around the country for American soldiers who return home from war with serious injuries and disabilities. The organization works with local contractors to build the specially adapted homes at no cost to the soldiers or their families. Credit unions around the country are committed to giving something back to the communities that host the national conventions. Homes for Our Troops is working closely with the Credit Union National Association, the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention Committee. The Republican National Convention will be Sept. 1-4 in St. Paul. The Democratic National Convention will take place in Denver Aug. 25-28. The deeding ceremonies for the homes will take place during the conventions.

Belize league Southwest Corporate sign partnership

 Permanent link
PLANO, Texas (8/12/08)--Southwest Corporate FCU and the Belize Credit Union League (BCUL) signed an international partnership agreement Friday as a part of the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) International Partnerships program.
Click to view larger image The Belize Credit Union League and Southwest Corporate FCU Friday signed a partnership agreement through the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) International Partnership Program. Participating in the signing of the document are (seated, from left): Belize Credit Union League (BCUL) Director Leopoldo Romero, CEO, Toledo Teachers CU; BCUL Executive Director Natalie Goff; Southwest Corporate President/CEO John Cassidy; and Victor Miguel Corro, WOCCU International Partnerships manager. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Thirteen Belize credit union delegates, including five from Belize’s 13 member credit unions, traveled to Southwest Corporate in Plano, Texas, for the event. The Belize credit union contingent represented La Inmaculada CU, St. John’s CU, Holy Redeemer CU, Toledo Teacher’s CU and St. Martin’s CU. The hosts organized roundtable educational sessions with local credit union executives to discuss technology operations and security, business continuity, product development, and marketing and loan operations. Delegates also participated in a training session on board governance and took operational tours of local credit unions. Natalie Goff, BCUL executive director, visited the Texas Credit Union League’s Bob Gallman, senior vice president and chief operations officer, and Mike Delker, vice president of credit union relations. The visit concluded with the partnership-agreement signing. Corporate credit unions offer services that allow natural-person credit unions to better meet member needs, said Victor Miguel Corro, WOCCU International Partnerships manager. “We have been working with corporates very closely for a long time; they play a very important role in WOCCU’s development overseas,” he said. “We view Southwest Corporate as part of an evolved credit union system and hope that the knowledge that they share with us will help Belize in its mission to have stronger credit unions,” Goff said. “We also hope that Southwest Corporate can learn from the passion that Belize credit unionists have for their credit unions.”