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CU System

CU System briefs (08/12/2011)

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* CLINTON, Tenn. (8/15/11)--Shirley McKinney, 52, former manager of Clinton, Tenn.-based Anderson County Employees CU, was indicted last week by a grand jury on one charge of theft over $60,000 and four counts of forgery (The Oak Ridger Aug. 11). The credit union discovered between $100,000 and $200,000 missing during a routine audit on Jan. 19, 2010 (News Now Feb. 19, 2010). The credit union, which had $1.8 million at the time later merged into Knoxville Teachers FCU. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, McKinney allegedly made unauthorized withdrawals from members' accounts … * TOPEKA, Kan. (8/15/11)--A running back for Topeka, Kan.-based Washburn University's football team has been charged with aggravated robbery of a Topeka branch of Envista CU at about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday (Capital-Journal Aug. 11). Vershon Darnell Moore, 20, was arrested about seven hours after the robbery. Also arrested was Tracie Lenae Bacon, 21, a credit union employee, who was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. The robbery occurred while Bacon and another credit union employee were filling an ATM with cash. A while sports utility vehicle pulled up to the ATM and someone pointed a gun at them and demanded money. The employees got the vehicle's license number. Police said they recovered money and a gun. During his sophomore year in 2010, Moore was first team All-MIAA and led the conference in rushing with 1,007 yards … * BUFFALO, N.Y. (8/15/11)--Buffalo Service CU, a $39 million asset credit union based in Buffalo, N.Y., is seeking a community charter (Business First Aug. 12). The 78-year-old credit union--one of the oldest in Western New York--has applied to the New York State Banking Department to convert from an employer-based credit union to a community charter serving anyone who lives, works or worships in Erie County. The credit union expects approval to be granted within 30 days, the article said …

Preparations for Youth Week 2012 underway

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MADISON, Wis. (8/15/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is seeking a theme for National Credit Union Youth Week, April 22-28. National Credit Union Youth Week is CUNA’s official designation of an annual, national celebration for credit unions that support youth financial literacy all year long. It’s also an opportunity to formally acknowledge young members and encourage them to start--and maintain--a saving habit. April is National Financial Literacy Month, and the National Youth Saving Challenge will run the entire month. Credit unions can participate for a week or the entire month. CUNA is asking for theme suggestions for the week. Deadline for suggestions is Aug. 19. Among the ideas suggested:
* Gold rush; * Olympics (the 2012 Olympics will be held in London next summer); * Science; and * Millionaire for a day.
A vote for the most popular them idea will be held later this month. Past themes include:
* 2011--Money rocks at my credit union (music); * 2010--Get in the saving game (sports); * 2009--The magic of saving (magic); * 2008--Got green? Grow it at your credit union (environment); * 2007--Stash your cash at the credit union (pirates); * 2006--My money. My credit union; * 2005--Want it? Save it. Get it; * 2004--Youth make a difference; * 2003--Youth count at credit unions; and * 2002--Your future. Your money. Your choice.
Replies are requested by August 19. CUNA offer specially designed items to young members. Many items can be customized and most will be available to use in youth programs all year long. CUNA will also have big bills, educational handouts, and activity books. CUNA will announce the availability of products in January.

Radio hosts advice for lean times Bank at CUs

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. (8/15/11)--Consumers should consider credit unions for their financial needs during times of fiscal austerity such as the U.S. is experiencing, said a radio host and authority on smart spending. Clark Howard is known for his acumen on money and consumer issues, which he dispenses on his national radio call-in show and on television’s HLN--formerly CNN Headline News (bellinghamherald.com Aug. 12). Regarding banking, Howard urges consumers to be wary of conducting business with what he terms “giant, monster megabanks.” Instead, he recommends smaller banks and--in particular--credit unions, which are consumer friendly and known for their superior customer service and lower borrowing rates, he told the newspaper. Howard also mentioned websites to help consumers find credit unions in their local areas. See the links. To read the article, use the link.

Study In year since Reg E 77 of consumers opt in

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LAKE BLUFF, Ill. (8/15/11)--Today marks the one-year anniversary of the implementation of Reg E's opt-in for debit card and ATM overdrafts. More than 77% of consumers surveyed have elected to opt-in to allow their financial institution to overdraft their checking accounts with debit cards, said a new study that indicated most view the service as a safety net. During the year, depositories maintained their price for an overdraft transaction at a national median of $28, said Moebs Services, a Chicago based pricing research firm that conducted the study in June. Wall Street banks lowered the price of an overdraft transaction to $34 in 2011, down from $35 in 2010. Nonsufficient fund return fees rose to $28 from $27 during the period, the study found. The study pointed two contradictory findings, said Michael Moebs, economist and CEO at the firm:
* Since Reg E's implementation, more depository institutions are allowing consumers to overdraft their checking accounts with debit cards; and * Institutions offering automatic transfer from a savings account or a line of credit for overdraft protection decreased.
Reg E required depositories to get approval from consumers before covering a debit card or ATM overdraft. The study found that 77% of consumers allowed the overdraft from their checking account when funds weren't available for a transaction. "This is over 100 million checking account consumers, more than voted in the interim election in November 2010," said Moebs. Before Reg E kicked in last summer, 45.4% of institutions offered debit card overdrafts. Today 97.7% do. ATM overdrafts were 61.9% in 2011, compared with 35.2% in 2010. "This shows the consumer treats overdrafts as a safety net, not a penalty," Moebs said. Other findings:
* Overdraft services are fading. Of financial institutions surveyed, 70.4% offered overdraft services in June, compared with 80.9% in 2009. * Those offering an overdraft line of credit dropped to 49.2%, from 63.4% in 2009. Moebs attributed the figures to high costs imposed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s new overdraft guidelines.
"What many regulators do not understand is that Reg E as introduced by the Federal Reserve in 2009 and implemented in 2010 has changed consumer behavior to regard overdrafts as safety nets and no longer as a penalty," he said. Because of the added regulatory scrutiny, "banks are unable to provide a safety net to their customers with overdrafts, and are therefore cutting the regulatory burden by cutting services."

Maine CUs members react to economic events

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PORTLAND, Maine (8/15/11)--Just as with credit unions nationwide, Maine credit unions were fielding questions from members about the recent debt-ceiling struggles, stock market volatility and the downgrading of the country’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, reported the Maine Credit Union League. The debt-ceiling issue caused the most concern to credit union members, according to a sampling of Maine credit union leaders. Many of the state’s credit unions reported receiving questions regarding federally insured deposits, and whether this would continue if no agreement had been reached to raise the debt-ceiling. The answer is “yes,” the league said (Weekly Update Aug. 12). Some members also expressed concern about receiving payments from the government. “In helping answer the phones last Wednesday, government payday, I talked to at least 25 people who just wanted to know if the government was paying them this month,” said Jim Lemieux, president/CEO of Sebasticook Valley FCU in Pittsfield. “Had Congress failed to reach an agreement, many credit unions I spoke with across the state were preparing to assist their members with no-interest loans and/or cover their federal checks until an agreement was reached,” said league President John Murphy. Kyle Casburn, President/CEO of Seaboard FCU in Bucksport, told the league he spoke with segments of his membership in recent weeks about the economic situation. “There is genuine concern from members and staff about the stock market plunge and the credit downgrade,” he said. “We are seeing some of what we saw in 2008 with an increase in deposits, especially from the more risk-averse members. I am providing our staff with timely and new information so they can pass it along to our members who have questions.”

Redecorated Christmas tree sparks mortgage marketing award

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (8/15/11)--By transforming a Christmas tree that stands in its lobby into a mortgage marketing vehicle, Vermont VA FCU, White River Junction, Vt., earned the fiscal third quarter 2011 Marketing Achievement Award from CU Members Mortgage. Wooden houses hang from the tree’s branches, prompting curious members to ask about the credit union’s mortgage services. “Because of this tree we have had more activity with our mortgage products than we’ve ever had,” Vermont VA’s CEO Sandi White told the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU) (Newslines Express Aug. 12). It’s too early to track mortgage application results, White said. But she is certain mortgage application activity has increased. Vermont VA’s mortgage tree evolved from the credit union’s Christmas tree’s--which has taken on an expanded role as a seasonally themed tree: Easter tree, St. Patrick’s Day tree, Memorial Day tree, even a tree depicting the local rainy weather in Vermont, full of flowers with an umbrella hat perched on top. “The members keep coming in to see what’s up with the tree,” White said. “They love it. They even come in and take pictures of it.” The mortgage tree was both creative and cost-effective, said Linda Clampitt, CU Members Mortgage senior vice president. “To repurpose their Christmas tree into a mortgage tree among other holiday and seasonal ideas is such a ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ campaign, we had to give the award to Vermont VA,” Clampitt said. “It’s such a simple, yet very effective, way to get the members talking about your services, creating a buzz that spreads. We can’t wait to hear about the results when they come in, too.” CU Members Mortgage is an AVCU business partner.

NWCUAs Brown named national Biz Kid coordinator

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MADISON, Wis. (8/15/11)--Danielle Brown, vice president of Northwest Credit Union Association and executive director of the Oregon Credit Union Foundation, has been named by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) as the national coordinator of Biz Kid$, the credit union-sponsored public television series. Brown will promote Biz Kid$ among credit unions as a financial literacy resource for middle school students. She will be responsible for fundraising and implementing credit unions use of Biz Kid$ in classrooms. The Washington Credit Union Foundation in June transitioned the Biz Kid$ project administration on behalf of credit unions to the NCUF so the program could achieve greater national reach and prominence. NCUF’s resources will provide additional marketing and promotion. Biz Kid$ is broadcast on nearly all Public Broadcast Stations and has produced four completed television seasons. Filming and production of season five episodes began July 26 at the North Seattle-based production studio. Fundraising is underway for the new season, which, upon completion, would position the show for national daily syndication, Brown said. If enough episodes for syndication are produced, the curriculum likely will be picked up in more classrooms nationwide, Brown said. Brown has 15 years of experience with regional credit union trade associations. Prior to the merger of the Credit Union Association of Oregon and the Washington Credit Union League, Brown served as a consultant, a compliance officer, director of education, and chief financial officer for Credit Union Association of Oregon.

Minnesota CU Foundation elects board

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/15/11)--The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation (MNCUF) elected two new board members to three-year terms at its annual meeting in July. Incumbent Mary Hansen, CEO of Mayo Employees FCU in Rochester since 2001, has served on the MNCUF board of directors since 2004. Hansen has been in the credit union industry for more than 28 years. Brian Sherrick, executive vice president of lending and market service at Postal CU in Woodbury, is the newest member of the board. He also is the chairman of the PCU Community Foundation. He replaces longtime board member Judy Root of Bluestone FCU in Eagan. Hansen and Sherrick join these board members:
* Chair--Pat Brekken, Richfield/Bloomington CU, Bloomington; * Vice chair--Dave Larson, Affinity Plus FCU, St. Paul; * Secretary/treasurer--Kristi Mukomela, Novation CU, Oakdale; * Chuck Albrecht, Mid-Minnesota FCU, Baxter; and * Lynn Kothe, North Memorial FCU, Robbinsdale.

FirstCorps leverage ratio nearly 6

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PHOENIX (8/15/11)--First Corporate CU has a leverage ratio of nearly 6%--well over the minimum regulatory requirement, announced the Phoenix-based corporate. As part of its corporate stabilization plan, the National Credit Union Administration requires corporates to have a minimum of 4% in capital, beginning in October. Some corporates needing to raise capital have issued calls for Perpetual Contributed Capital (PCC) from their memberships. They have until Aug. 31 to raise the funds. FirstCorp attributed the ratio to "tremendous member support." "The members have spoken and have finally been able to act and exercise their free choice," said FirstCorp President/CEO Pete Pritts. "We are appreciative of the confidence the membership has placed in us to keep getting it done." FirstCorp members converted membership capital to the newly defined PPC and over subscribed to FirstCorp's Non-perpetual Contributed Capital issuance of transitional capital, which emulates a five-year certificate of deposit. This demonstated member confidence, said the $1 billion asset corporate. "For 33 years we have worked hard to earn their confidence and do what is best for credit unions. Now we can get back to focusing on that, back to serving credit unions. We are here ready and able to serve those who want to be served," Pritt said.