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New shared branches fill gap in Calif. high desert

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ONTARIO, Calif. (8/12/10)--Nearly 200 credit unions with more than 30,000 members in the high desert cities of Hesperia and Apple Valley, Calif., won't be cut off from shared branching after actions taken by several California credit unions and organizations. Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC), Cardtronics, and a group of California credit unions ensured that shared branching would still be available despite the recent sale of four Arrowhead CU branches in the area. Arrowhead's branches had been active shared branch outlets prior to their sale. FSCC announced the first location is a full-service, in-store branch operated by Vons CU, in Hesperia. The second is a Vcom terminal in the 7-Eleven store in Apple Valley. FSCC also worked with its shared branching partner Cardtronics to have a Vcom terminal deployed on July 26 in Apple Valley. Vcom terminals are self-service, full-function kiosks located inside select 7-Eleven stores branch with the added convenience of 24/7 access. Although Vcom terminals rarely are moved, Cardtronics offered to help when FSCC said Apple Valley members might not have access to shared branching. “This could have been a devastating situation for thousands of members and a black eye for the concept of credit union cooperation,” said Sarah Canepa Bang, FSCC president/CEO. “We’re extremely blessed to have collaborative partners like Vons CU and Cardtronics who were willing to join us in jumping to the aid of members in the California high desert." About a dozen California shared-branch credit unions are working with FSCC to bring more shared branches to the area.

Mass. governor signs bill to remove deposit cap

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (8/12/10)--Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed the Massachusetts Credit Union League's legislative filing to remove deposit caps for credit unions into law. The league reported that Senate Bill 468, "An Act Relative to Credit Union Shares and Deposits," was signed on Monday. The bill passed the state legislature on July 31, according to the document signed. It removes the deposits limit under which state-chartered credit unions in Massachusetts operated. The measure provides credit unions the opportunity to meet demands of members who preferred to invest more with their credit union but had been denied the opportunity because of the arbitrary cap, the league said (News Now Aug. 6). The law, which will be effective on Nov. 7, was introduced by Sen. Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield).

McGrath sentencing in CU Mortgage Corp. fraud delayed

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NEWARK, N.J. (8/12/10)--The sentencing date has been postponed again for former U.S. Mortgage/Credit Union National Mortgage Co. President Michael McGrath, who pleaded guilty last year to the fraud of $139.6 million from 28 credit unions, Fannie Mae, and others. The latest entry on the court docket, for July 21, in McGrath's case in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey says the sentencing was postponed to Oct. 15 due to scheduling conflicts on the part of the U.S. Attorney in the case. U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden is to determine whether to accept the sentencing recommendation of 12 1/2 to 20 years in prison. McGrath remains free on bail until the sentence is imposed. He pleaded guilty in June 2009 to one count of mail and wire fraud and one count of money laundering conspiracy stemming from the fraudulent sales of hundreds of mortgage loans to Fannie Mae without authorization and without paying the credit unions for the sales. McGrath admitted to conspiring with others from January 2004 to January 2009 to fraudulently sell credit union loans and use the proceeds to finance U.S. Mortgage's operations and investments for himself and his company. He also admitted to diverting funds that should have been paid to credit unions for mortgage loans sold without authorization to Fannie Mae to help offset bad investments in mortgage-backed securities (Reuters June 11, 2009). Both U.S. Mortgage and Credit Union National Mortgage, which were based in Pine Brook, N.J., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy during February 2009 in Newark. They listed more than $200 million in debts to Fannie Mae and the 28 credit unions. The bankruptcies have led to several lawsuits by credit unions seeking to recoup losses against Fannie Mae and against insurance companies. Since McGrath pleaded guilty in 2009, eight sentencing dates have been set and postponed: Oct. 1, 2009; Nov. 30, 2009; Feb. 1; March 22; April 19, May 18, July 6, and July 27.

NASCUS summit to spotlight state system innovation

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ARLINGTON, Va. (8/12/10)--The state credit union system’s leaders, state and federal regulators and dual-chartering supporters will join the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) for its annual State System Summit, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 in San Antonio. The event’s educational sessions will feature system leaders discussing key issues that must be addressed to preserve and strengthen state credit unions, NASCUS said. General session and workshop agenda items scheduled include:
* What’s Next for Credit Union Share Insurance?--John Annaloro, Washington Credit Union League, president; * National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Outlook for 2011--Debbie Matz, NCUA chairman; * The Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Outlook for 2011--Bill Cheney, CUNA president/CEO; * Economic Update and the Emerging Risks Facing Credit Unions--Jeff Post, CUNA Mutual Group CEO; * State Credit Union Innovation--Royal CU’s Purchase of Bank Branches--Charles Grossklaus, CEO of Royal CU, Eau Claire, Wis., and Suzanne Cowan, director, Wisconsin Office of Credit Unions; and * The Emerging Regulatory Giant--What Regulatory Reform Means for State Credit Unions and State Authority--Bruce Jolly, NASCUS outside counsel.
NCUA national and regional staff will join NASCUS state regulators for the NASCUS/NCUA Interagency Dialogue Oct 1. For credit union attendees, the annual “State Credit Union Issues Briefing” will provide a forum for discussion on the latest credit union challenges, including the search for income and the changing nature of credit union service organizations. Also, NASCUS’ Directors College will take place Sept. 29. For more information, use the link.

CU System briefs (08/11/2010)

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* ST. LOUIS (8/12/10)--More than 12 employees and board members of seven Missouri credit unions met with U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) for an in-district meeting Aug. 6 (The Missouri difference Aug. 11). Clay expressed concern for minorities and lower-income residents who lack financial services options, and credit unions shared their community outreach efforts. Clay asked how the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act affects credit union operations. Attendees explained concerns with the debit-card interchange provision and implementation of a two-tiered fee system. They also explained credit unions' affordable services and free financial education, and the philosophical differences between credit unions and banks. Clay, right, shown with Tom Sullivan of St. Louis Community CU, said he would consider assisting with the Federal Reserve rulemaking process on interchange. Also discussed was member business lending and overdraft protection, said the Missouri Credit Union Association. (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association) ... * HARRISBURG, Pa. (8/12/10)--Lehigh Valley (Pa.) credit unions met Tuesday with Mike Horton, Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 131st District, in a meet-and-greet at Allentown-based People First FCU. A member of the credit union, Horton said his door would always be open to credit unions (Life is a Highway Aug. 11). He told the group he opposes increasing financial regulations, is impressed with the Credit Union Better Choice (payday lending alternative) program and supports lifting the member business lending cap. Attending were representatives of People First FCU, First Commonwealth FCU and Lehigh Valley FCU, and Christine Seitz, director of political affairs and fundraising at the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. A similar meeting was held last month with Republican candidate Justin Simmons ... * GREENSBORO, N.C. (8/12/10)--The North Carolina Credit Union League was among the listed sponsors for North Carolina's State Night during the annual Southern Legislative Conference in Charleston, S.C. The meeting attracted legislators from throughout the South for leadership training. Pictured are, from left, Lauren Whaley, league director of legislative and regulative affairs, and Amy Fullbright of Hunton & Williams, who lobbies on behalf of the league. "A less formal setting away from the legislature allows our lawmakers to have more casual conversations with their business constituents," Whaley said in the league's newsletter (Weekly Update Aug. 6). (Photo provided by the North Carolina Credit Union League) ... * MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (8/12/10)--TopLine FCU 's financial experts were invited to lead personal money management sessions at the 2010 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) Leadership Forum, held in June at North Hennepin Community College, Brooklyn Park, Minn. One-hundred attendees represented MNSCU student leaders graduating with two-year degrees. TopLine's session, "The Real World of Personal Money Management," included how to use credit wisely; what a credit score means;how to build and maintain a good score; where to obtain a copy of a credit report and how to read it; budgeting tips; and strategies to reduce debt and prevent identity theft. They also learned how their actions today can impact future financial options ...

CUs surpass goal of reaching 400000 students

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HARBOR, Ore. (8/12/10)--Credit unions reached more than 400,000 students during 2009-2010, according to data collected by the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB). Credit unions reached 413,460 students in 13,577 classroom presentations. The numbers increased for a second consecutive year despite fewer presenters reporting data at www.nyib.org. The number of students reached and presentations during the period grew by 6.3% and 7.3%, respectively, despite the number of presenters dropping to 476, a 6.7% decline. However, several credit unions are choosing to enter presentations as a team instead of individually. Averaged over five years, credit unions are posting annual increases of 9.98% in presentations given and 10.4% in students reached, NYIB said. Youth advocates in the NYIB network turned in their largest recent increase in students reached of 29.4% in 2007-2008, exceeding 300,000 students reached. Credit unions’ consistent performance despite recent economic pressure has been reassuring and rewarding to NYIB leaders. “Credit unions have responded to young people seeking guidance and fundamental financial knowledge, and not a moment too soon,” said NYIB Chairman Rebecca Isaacs, director of business development at the Credit Union Association of New Mexico. “Now is the time for our institutions to assert their uniqueness with young people. NYIB will continue to do all we can as a cooperative network to help each credit union do just that.” Anissa Arthenayake of OSU FCU, Corvallis, Ore., conducted the most classroom presentations--614. Marsha Lunden of Desert Schools CU, Phoenix, reached the most students--14,648--in the 2009-2010 reporting year. The NYIB “Top Classroom Presenter”--the person with the greatest percentage increase in classroom presentations over the previous year--was Natalie McLaughlin of Community Financial CU, Plymouth, Mich. In 2009-2010, she made 130 presentations, 150% more than in 2008-2009. “Most Students Reached” was achieved by Kim Beaulieu of Jeanne d’Arc CU, Lowell, Mass., whose 4,584 students reached was a 400.98% increase over 2008-09.

LCUL inducts 12 into CU Hall of Fame

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HARAHAN, La. (8/12/10)--The Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) inducted 12 individuals into the Louisiana Credit Union Hall of Fame at the league’s 2010 Annual Meeting and Convention, Aug. 4-7, in New Orleans. The hall of fame was established to recognize the leadership, commitment, dedication and contributions of credit union professionals and volunteers statewide. The 2010 inductees are:
* Fred Banks, inducted by Livingston Parish FCU, Denham Springs; * Donald T. Bock, The New Orleans Firemen’s FCU; * Guy C. Comes, Post Office CU, New Orleans; * Betsy Hooper, LA Capitol FCU, Baton Rouge; * Charles M. Johnson, LCUL Board of Directors; * Charles W. Kramer, ANECA FCU, Shreveport; * Susan Parry Leake, LA Capitol FCU; * Hattie B. Johnson, Livingston Parish FCU; * Cora K. Pania, SAIF FCU, Baton Rouge; and Livingston Parish FCU; * Carolyn Ricks, LCUL staff; * Richard Turnley Jr., Southern Teachers & Parents FCU, Baton Rouge; and * Donna J. Wagoner, Ouachita Valley FCU, West Monroe.
A $500 donation on behalf of the inductees will be made to the Louisiana Credit Union Foundation. The donation will help foster educational programs for credit unions and provide resources to Louisiana credit unions during natural disasters.

NYIB elects leaders for 2010-11

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ST. LOUIS (8/12/10)--Rebecca Isaacs, director of business development at the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, will serve as the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) chair for 2010-2011. NYIB provides a platform for credit union educators to report their presentations to classrooms and other youth events. A volunteer
Click to view larger image The National Youth Involvement Board’s new executive committee and regional coordinators for 2010-2011 include: left, Brandon Pugh, chairman emeritus; Rebecca Isaacs, chairman; Lauren Mayhew, marketing director at Daviess County Teachers FCU; Juli Lewis, secretary; Julie McLean, South West regional coordinator; Mary Ann Demczak, vice chairman; Cynthia Campbell, treasurer; and Adam VanCleave, media manager. (Photo provided by the National Youth Involvement Board)
network of more than 700 credit union professionals, NYIB also collects and shares materials, resources and insight to help educate youth and attract young members. Isaacs was elected during the NYIB 2010 annual meeting July 26. She previously served two terms as South West regional coordinator. Brandon Pugh, director of communications and public relations at the South Carolina Credit Union League, will continue for a year with the executive committee seving as chairman emeritus. Regional coordinators elected to two-year terms include:
* South East: Juli Lewis, youth marketing manager at Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla.; * South Central: Cynthia Campbell, associate vice president of financial empowerment at Tinker FCU, Oklahoma City; and * South West: Julie McLean, director of financial education at Arapahoe CU, Littleton, Colo.
Continuing the second years of their terms are:
* North West: Adam VanCleave, marketing specialist, Chetco FCU, Harbor, Ore.; and * North East: Mary Ann Demczak, financial counselor, Clearview FCU, Moon Township, Pa.
Lauren Mayhew, marketing director at Daviess County Teachers FCU, Owensboro, Ky., was elected to complete the remaining year of the unexpired term in NYIB’s North Central Region vacated by Pam Swope of FinancialEdge Community CU, Bay City, Mich. The executive committee also elected Demczak as vice chairman, Lewis as secretary, Campbell as treasurer and VanCleave as media manager. The group will meet Sept. 25-28 for its annual planning session.