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Maine fin ed initiatives subject of radio program

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WESTBROOK, Maine (8/17/10)--The Maine Credit Union League's and Maine’s credit unions' initiatives regarding financial education were recently the focus of a weekly, half-hour public affairs program that is one of the most popular shows of its kind on Maine radio, the league said. The show, MainePoints, airs on Saturdays and Sundays on the following stations in the Portland market: 560 WGAN, Coast 93.1, 970 WZAN, Big Hits Y-100.9, 98.9 WCLZ, and AM 1400/1490, according to the Maine league’s Weekly Update newsletter (July 30). The league’s Governmental and Public Affairs Manager Jon Paradise was the show's guest and spoke at length about the “leading and visionary role that Maine's credit unions have taken in moving financial education, specifically geared to youth, forward in Maine.” The show's host, Ken Altshuler of the top-rated WGAN Morning News Show with Ken & Mike, praised Maine credit unions for “looking for ways to bring an important topic into schools and making a difference. I am impressed with how proactive credit unions have been and continue to be in youth financial education.”

Survey small-business confidence tempered by slow recovery

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HOUSTON (8/17/10)--About 61% of small-business owners have lowered their expectations of an economic rebound until 2011 or later because of uncertainty about the economic recovery, according to respondents to the most recent Business Confidence Survey recently released by Administaff, a provider of human resources services for small and medium-sized businesses. Only about 18% of respondents were optimistic and said a turnaround will happen in 2010, while 20% said they are unsure about the timing of a recovery (Maine Credit Union League’s The Weekly Exchange Aug. 9). The economy was listed by 78% of business owners as one of their biggest short-term concerns, up from 71% in April, followed by 53% citing government health care reform, 46% specifying rising health care costs and 40% listing controlling operating costs. For the longer-term, 70.7% of respondents said they were either very concerned or had elevated concerns about potential tax increases, followed by 70.3% listing government expansion and the effect on business, 67.9% designating the economy and 67.7% citing the federal deficit and the total national debt. When asked about their pipelines for new business for the balance of 2010, 48% of survey respondents said that they expect a sales increase, down from 55% in April; 31% predicted it will stay the same, while 12% anticipated decreasing sales, up from 7% last April. Also, 65% of owners and managers said they are either meeting or exceeding their 2010 performance plans compared to 72% in the last survey, while the remaining 35% reported that they are doing worse than expected. Administaff also announced compensation data from its base of more than 5,600 small and medium-sized businesses. Compared to 2009 second-quarter data, average compensation is up 2.1%, bonuses are up 11.2% and commissions are up 0.4%. Overtime pay is still low, running 8.2% of regular pay, under the 10% level that generally indicates a need for additional employees, but up slightly from 7.5%. “Many owners of small and medium-sized businesses seem to be hesitant to hire more workers and commit important financial resources in the face of current economic uncertainty,” said Paul J. Sarvadi, Administaff’s chairman and CEO. “However, they appear to be ready and willing to make those positive decisions as soon as key fiscal elements are in place.” When asked how they are managing the number of company employees, results were identical to April with 60% of participants stating that they are maintaining current staffing levels, 31% are adding new positions and 9% are laying off employees. The survey also found that 62% of participants expected to maintain employee compensation at current levels throughout 2010, 21% planned increases, 5% expected decreases, and 12% were unsure. Respondents to the Administaff Business Confidence Survey are among the small and medium-sized companies Administaff serves nationwide. The questions were designed to measure the state of the small-business community and gauge the activities and expectations of business owners in 2010, the company said. Administaff conducted the survey July 20-22 of CEOs, chief financial officers, and other executives in a variety of industries at its client companies.

Security officer at CU testifies at murder trial

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GOLDSBORO, N.C. (8/17/10)--A security chief at Marine FCU testified Friday in a high-profile murder trial in eastern North Carolina. Frank Davis, who is in charge of security at the $646.2 million-asset, Jacksonville, N.C.-based credit union, testified that Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who went missing in December 2007, used her credit union debit card five times that month (WRAL.com Aug. 13). Cesar Laurean, a former Camp Lejeune (N.C.) Marine, is charged with killing Lauterbach in December 2007, then burying her body in a fire pit in the backyard of his Jacksonville home. Lauterbach was eight months pregnant at the time of her death. Her remains were recovered in January 2008, WRAL said. Lauterbach had accused Laurean of raping her in the spring of 2007, and although she later recanted the allegation, Camp Lejeune officials continued their investigation of the matter until she died, WRAL said. On Dec. 14, the security camera at one ATM captured an image of a pregnant woman withdrawing $500, Davis testified. Lauterbach’s roommate and other witnesses testified Thursday that they didn’t see her after Dec. 14, WRAL said. On Christmas Eve, the security camera at a different ATM showed a man tried several times to withdraw $400 to $500 using Lauterbach’s credit union card, Davis testified. The transaction was declined twice because of an incorrect identification code, and the transaction was denied the other two times because of insufficient funds in the account, he said. Prosecutors attempted to get Davis to compare the images on the security camera with the photo in Laurean’s account file at Marine FCU, but Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith stopped him after the defense objected, saying he wasn’t an expert in facial recognition, WRAL said.

CU System briefs (08/16/2010)

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* FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (8/17/10)--David Lynch, chairman of Yakima Valley CU’s board of directors, is the recipient of the Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer Award from the Washington Credit Union Foundation. He will be honored during the Washington Credit Union League Convention and Annual Meeting Sept. 16 in Sea-Tac, Wash. Lynch joined the board in 1991 and has been active with Yakima Safe Kids Coalition fundraisers and the Moxee Hop Festival, which raises money to support students and the community. Yakima Valley CU, Yakima, Wash., has $270 million in assets ... * GLENDALE, Calif. (8/17/10)--One of three suspects charged with cutting open a Los Angeles FCU ATM and then taking $80,000 from the machine has been sentenced to 190 months in prison and ordered to pay a $124,000 restitution (Cardline Aug. 13). Clinton Thompson was convicted in May of conspiracy to use fire during the commission of a felony, bank larceny and the use of fire during the commission of a felony. The thieves broke into the ATM Jan. 28 using a thermal lance, also known as a burning bar. Tavrion Dawson, who was convicted along with Thompson of the same charge, will be sentenced Sept. 27 while Samuel Eaton will stand trial Sept. 21 ... * SAN DIEGO (8/17/10)--Teresa Halleck, former president of Sacramento, Calif.-based The Golden 1 CU, began her post as president of San Diego County CU Monday, the credit union said. Irene Oberbauer, former president/CEO of San Diego County CU, retired in February. San Diego County CU had been run by interim president/CEO Tum Vongswad. The credit union has $4.8 billion in assets and 210,000 members (North County Times Aug. 13) ... * TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (8/17/10)--Florida Commerce CU, Tallahassee, Fla., won the Dock Pop All Florida Golden Image Award for its weLiveFIT! Challenge campaign, which was created to help families shape up their personal finances. The campaign is a 10-month competition to help families reduce their debt, increase savings and boost credit scores with the help of a Florida Commerce financial fitness coach. The family with the highest level of improvement is awarded $10,000. The $316-million-asset credit union worked with Salter-Mitchell, an advertising firm, on the campaign ...

CU outfits 600 students for school

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WEST MONROE, La. (8/17/10)--Ouachita Valley CU, West Monroe, La., recently helped 602 area students obtain supplies for school. Several weeks ago, the credit union had a list of students who needed supplies, but had only $300 for its Ouachita Valley-Sunny 98.3 School Supply Drive. After an article appeared in The News-Star with a photo of an empty room at the credit union that was intended to hold the supplies, and requests from area businesses and credit union workers asking for donations, the drive garnered $13,000 for supplies (The News-Star Aug. 12). Last year, the drive helped 270 students, with $6,000 in donations and $2,000 in supplies. The minimum average cost of one bag of supplies is about $30, the newspaper said. Credit union workers, volunteers and National Guard soldiers sorted and bagged the supplies. The National Guard then delivered the bags to schools. Ouachita Valley CU CEO Donna Wagoner said the community came to the rescue to help make the drive a success. A local elementary school teacher stopped by the credit union before the bags were delivered and her jaw dropped when she saw the supplies, the paper said. The supplies will help the needy children start on the right track when they begin school, she told the newspaper. Ouachita Valley CU has $121 million in assets.

Hanley wins Wegner award

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WASHINGTON (8/13/10)--Rudy Hanley, president/CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU in Santa Ana, Calif., is the winner of the 2011 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for individual achievement. The award will be one of three presented at the 23rd Annual Herb Wegner Awards Dinner hosted by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Feb. 28 during the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference. Online registration for dinner tickets will be available later this year on the NCUF website. Hanley was born in Hungary and was 14 when his family fled the Soviet-occupied country in 1957. His family settled in Los Angeles, where Hanley and his brother spent six months learning English in a “foreign adjustment” program before attending public school. After high school, Hanley served for three years in the army before returning to California. Hanley earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California-Irvine (UCI), and a law degree from Western State University College of Law. He supported his family, which by then included two daughters, by working at a supermarket at night while attending classes during the day. Hanley’s early career was teaching high school math, and being a tax and small business consultant. Joining the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) to develop a white paper to retain tax-exempt status for credit unions set him on his ultimate career path. “I decided the ‘people helping people’ philosophy on which credit unions are built was a perfect match for me,” said Hanley in an interview for the UCI alumni paper. After his CUNA experience, he returned to California, joining the California Credit Union League as head of the league’s Research and Information department, providing compliance and operational guidance to credit unions, before taking the helm of SchoolsFirst FCU, formerly Orange County Teachers FCU, in 1982. Today, SchoolsFirst FCU is the largest educational credit union and the fifth-largest credit union in the country. It has more than $8 billion in assets, serving nearly a half a million members in 33 branch locations. “Rudy Hanley has always embraced collaboration,” said Rae Miles, CEO, Open Financial Solutions (OFS). Hanley is a founding member of OFS, a research and development credit union service organization. He has chaired The Trust for Credit Unions--created for the purpose of safe and responsive investment choices for credit unions. He also has served on the boards of the California league, CUNA, CUNA Strategic Services, CUNA Mutual Group and the Consumer Federation of America. He is a founding member of the Filene Research Institute. Working with Santa Ana city officials, he organized the formation of Comunidad Latino FCU, Santa Ana, Calif. SchoolsFirst FCU has provided financial support and ongoing operational assistance and resources. “Rudy Hanley’s accomplishments place him at the pinnacle of the credit union community,” said Tom Dorety, president/CEO, Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla. “The most impressive thing about Rudy is his integrity. Integrity means everything to Rudy, and he lives his life and runs SchoolsFirst accordingly. He is incredibly generous and humble to a fault.”

Minnesota CUs support congressman

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (8/17/10)--Minnesota credit union representatives took to the streets in Rochester last week to show their support for U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) in his bid for re-election, said the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN).
Click to view larger image Credit union professionals and volunteers gathered for an event to support U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), center, in his bid for re-election at the home of Kelly McDonough, president/CEO of First Alliance CU, Rochester. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Since elected to office in 2006, Walz has been a strong credit union ally, advocating for the movement on a variety of issues including member business lending (MBL) and interchange. During in-district and Capitol Hill meetings over the past years, he has sought industry insight on issues affecting credit unions and their members in southwestern Minnesota, said MnCUN. Credit union professionals and volunteers dispersed throughout neighborhoods last Thursday in the 1st District, distributing literature and sharing information about the congressman’s strong desire to support constituents. The door-knocking event was followed by a reception held at the Rochester home of Kelly McDonough, president/CEO of First Alliance CU, Rochester. At the event, Walz thanked attendees for their efforts. He voiced concerns with an interchange provision of the recently enacted regulatory reform bill, and urged credit unions to remain active advocates for the industry and their members. Walz also discussed the need to increase the credit union MBL cap, expressing frustration with the fact that credit unions have money to lend but are being prevented from doing so due to the cap. He stated that limiting small businesses’ access to capital is “not good business sense” for the community. During this year’s campaign season, the MnCUN will coordinate several events to increase credit unions’ involvement in local election activities. Minnesota credit unions’ campaign involvement will continue throughout the summer and fall with events for credit union allies running for office at the state and federal level.