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Radisson hotels breached check your accounts

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MINNEAPOLIS (8/20/09)--Credit union representatives and members who travel may want to check their credit card accounts. Radisson Hotels and Resorts announced Wednesday that the computer systems of some Radisson hotels in the U.S. and Canada were accessed without authorization between November 2008 and May. The data accessed may have included guest information such as the name printed on a guest’s credit card or debit card, a credit or debit card number, and card expiration date, Radisson said in a letter posted on its website. Social Security numbers were not accessed. “We recommend that you review your account statements and credit reports closely,” Radisson said. Individuals who suspect unauthorized card activity should report it to the financial institution that issued the card, law enforcement, state attorney general’s office, or the Federal Trade Commission. No educational programs with the American Association of Credit Union Leagues or the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Center for Professional Development (CPD) were held at Radisson hotels during the breach period, said CUNA CPD staff. News Now did not verify whether state credit union organizations might have had conferences then at Radisson hotels. Radisson has created a toll-free telephone number, 866-584-9255, for customers to call if they have been affected. The company also has created a website with frequently asked questions about the breach (use the link). Radisson Hotels and Resorts, based in Minneapolis, has more than 400 hotels worldwide. The breach was announced just a day after the Justice Department disclosed indictments of the hackers who caused the world’s largest data breaches--at Heartland Payment Systems and Hannaford Brothers. Those breaches affected thousands of credit union members.

CUSOs and restructured loans highlighted in article

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (8/20/09)--The National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) guidance on selling nonperforming loans to credit union service organizations (CUSOs) is the topic of an article in a Florida-based business review. Wednesday's article in Broward Daily Business Review notes that the decision is expected to help credit unions during the recession by removing nonperforming loans from their books. CUSOs previously could purchase, service and collect on troubled loans but were not allowed to restructure them because they are not allowed to make consumer loans, said Miami attorney Michael Lozoff, who obtained a clarification from NCUA on behalf of credit unions he works with. Now a CUSO can restructure the loan if 1) the credit union has made the original underwriting decision and 2) the loan involves no new credit or principal extended by the CUSO. A credit union wanting a loan off its books so it doesn't take a hit or show a loan as delinquent can sell it to the CUSO. That turns the loan into an asset. The credit union gets some payment--say 20 cents on the dollar. It pays the balance from its loan-loss reserve account and gives the loan to the CUSO to collect. The article outlines the debate on whether this is good. While selling bad loans to a CUSO makes operational sense, it doesn't change the fact that it has a bad loan, said Kamal Mustafa, chairman of Invictus Consulting Group, a New York firm that works with credit unions and small to medium-size banks. In the article, he noted this merely moves the problem. Some credit unions may put a lot of bad assets into a CUSO. Lozoff, however, said that a nonperforming loan can be converted to a performing loan through effective restructuring. And that, he told the publication, is a solved problem. The operational challenge for credit unions is whether it is cost-effective to create the program internally or share resources through a collaborate effort such as a CUSO, he said. The article also addresses the structure of CUSOs and notes the cooperative efforts involved with several credit unions consolidating back operations through a CUSO. "Banks typically don't cooperate to that extent because they're more in direct competition," Lozoff told the publication.

NYIB elects leaders for 2009-2010

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (8/20/09)--The National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) announced its leaders for 2009-2010 at the NYIB annual meeting in Tempe, Ariz., on Aug. 6. Brandon Pugh, director of communications and public relations at the South Carolina Credit Union League, will continue to chair the NYIB for 2009-10. Those elected to two-year terms as regional coordinators include:
* North West: Adam VanCleave, youth operations coordinator at Chetco FCU, Brookings, Ore.; * North East: Mary Ann Demczak, financial counselor at Clearview FCU, Moon Township, Pa.; and * North Central: Pamela Swope, marketing manager, FinancialEdge Community CU, Bay City, Mich.
South West Regional Coordinator Rebecca Isaacs, business development director at the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, will continue the second year of her term. Special elections were held for unexpired one-year terms in two southern regions. Filling the positions are:
* South Central: Doug Adams, president/CEO, MUNA FCU, Meridian, Miss.; and * South East: Dawn Lindley, director of marketing and financial literacy, Virginia Credit Union League.
This year’s officers include: Vice Chairman Isaacs; Secretary Lindley; Treasurer Swope; and Media Manager VanCleave. The group will meet Sept. 26-29 for its annual planning session.

520 participated in Illinois CARD Act webinars

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (8/20/09)--More than 520 individuals participated last week in two webinars hosted by the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) and ICUL Service Corp. to address critical compliance dates and information about the recently signed Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009. The individuals, from across the country, were from credit unions that use ICUL Service Corp. card programs. The Service Corp has card programs in 45 states for more than 3,100 credit unions and has a portfolio of more than half a million cards. The deadline for compliance with part of the act is today. The sessions discussed changes affecting fee limitation, limits on rate increase, underwriting requirements, notice, payment processing, today's compliance requirements, new requirements for cards issued to those under age 21, impact on gift-card programs, the facts needed to review and revise account terms to comply, and February 2010 compliance requirements. The webinars were presented by Con O'Mahoney, ICUL senior compliance analyst, and Cathy Pettis, ICUL Service Corp. senior vice president of operations. Pettis said the service corp will offer future webinars for its credit unions to share new information as it becomes available. The league created an archive page on its website that includes the audio and Power Point presentation. Questions from the webinars will posted to the archive page by Sept. 1.

CUANM helps pay waived prepaid-card ATM fees

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (8/20/09)--The Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) presented a check Aug. 13 to CU Anytime, an ATM network, to help pay for fees that the network waived for prepaid debit cards issued by a state agency.
Credit Union Association of New Mexico (CUANM) board Chairman William Jacobs, left, and CEO Sylvia Lyon present a check for $10,000 to Don Gray, president of CU Anytime ATM network. CUANM returned a portion of surcharge fees that CU Anytime waived for New Mexico residents, who used a prepaid debit card from the state Workforce Solutions division at the ATMs, to access unemployment benefits. (Photo provided by the Credit Union Association of New Mexico)
CUANM had announced in April that the state’s regional ATM network would waive the fees. New Mexicans receiving unemployment benefits from the New Mexico Workforce Solutions division do not incur the $1.75 ATM fee at CU Anytime ATMs when using the card to conduct transactions. There are 27 credit unions in the ATM network, with 170 locations in New Mexico and seven in El Paso, Texas. CUANM has committed to return a portion of the funds that CU Anytime would have received from surcharge fees, announced CUANM President Sylvia Lyon. “In tough times after losing a job, every little bit helps,” Lyon said. “We’re pleased that people facing unemployment in New Mexico were able to get a break on these fees and we’re glad to help them out.”

NASCUS to debut new logo website at its summit

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ARLINGTON, Va. (8/20/09)--The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) will reveal a new corporate logo and updates to its website at the NASCUS State System Summit, held today through Saturday in Boston. “As an organization, NASCUS continues to strengthen its position as the primary advocate for state regulators and the state credit union system. Our new logo symbolizes that innovation and progress as well as our modern identity,” said NASCUS President/ CEO Mary Martha Fortney. In addition to displaying the new logo and an updated design, the NASCUS website has improved navigation and enhanced regulatory resources for NASCUS members. NASCUS said it remains focused on providing its members with updates on state system issues and the latest in compliance, operational and regulatory issues.

WalletPop Bill hiking MBL limit good for small biz

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WASHINGTON (8/20/09)--A bill that would hike credit unions’ member business lending limits could give small businesses some hope, according to WalletPop. Walletpop is the name of the personal finance page on the America Online--or AOL--website. WalletPop Tuesday noted that credit unions may be able to lend more money to small businesses if a bill increasing their member business lending limit to 25% is approved. U.S. Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.) introduced a bill July 29 that would increase the lending limit from 12.25% to 25%. “This could free up an extra $10 billion of capital for small businesses and commercial loans, and if it makes credit unions more competitive with banks, everyone would benefit from the increased lending,” WalletPop said. “If you’re a small business owner who has been hoping to grow your business with the help of a commercial loan, this could give you some hope.” The article also cited a letter written to Kanjorski and Royce by Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica, which stated, “When other lenders have been forced to pull back lines of credit, credit unions have continued to lend and they have the capacity to do more. “Increasing the credit union member business lending cap makes sense for a number of reasons: credit unions have proven themselves as financial institutions that know their members and know how to lend to their members; they have demonstrated the ability to provide these loans safely and soundly; and most importantly, they can help address a real need in difficult economic times,” Mica added.

21 Oregon CUs get REAL

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BEAVERTON, Ore. (9/20/09)--Twenty-one Oregon credit unions are participating in the state's pilot of the National Credit Union Foundation's REAL Solutions program, the Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) announced Wednesday. The program helps credit unions meet the needs of members with low or moderate incomes, young adults, new Americans and the unbanked. During the pilot year, 21 credit unions will work with CUAO to initiate the program in their credit unions. They have indicated that outreach to young adults is a primary goal. "We are thrilled to bring REAL Solutions to Oregon," said Kasey Rockwell, CUAO's director of credit union development. Oregon's credit unions "will be able to tap into the resources of the REAL Solutions program, as well as network with over 600 credit unions across the country to enhance their mission as a member-owned cooperative. "Our focus is on helping our members and, ultimately, developing stronger and healthier Oregon families and communities," Rockwell added. As part of REAL Solutions, credit unions' programs aim to reduce dependency on predatory financial providers, encourage saving and wealth-building, build creditworthiness, increase financial self-sufficiency and improve the economic well-being of Oregon communities. CUAO's participation is supported by a grant from the Oregon Credit Union Foundation. The first partnership meeting will take place Sept. 10 in Albany, Ore.

CU System briefs (08/19/2009)

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* SUITLAND, Md. (8/20/09)--Andrews FCU member Michelyn Bell, center, was awarded $100 for her winning entry in the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) C-Note University online photo contest. C-Note posts a photo contest theme each month, and registered users, age 13-19, can vote for their favorite photo. All monthly winners are entered to win a $1,000 grand prize each year. The contest is supported by Andrews Federal through the Money $quad youth program. Bell is shown here with, from left: Pat Philippe, Andrews Federal acting branch manager, Henson Ridge, and Suzanne Curren, Andrews Federal director, public relations and community development. For more information about C-Note and CUNA's other websites for youth, use the link. (Photo provided by Andrews FCU) … * ALBANY, N.Y. (8/20/09)--Seventy soggy credit unions, vendors and friends from across New York state raised $13,000 for the New York Credit Union Foundation (NYCUF) during a rainy golf tournament recently. The event was held at Saratoga Spa Golf Course. Shown braving the weather are, from left, golf foursome Terry and Diane Slocum of Remington FCU, Ilion, and Marcie Gallagher and Roy Haller of Utica District Telephone Employees FCU, Utica. (Photo provided by the New York Credit Union Foundation) … * WAUSAU, Wis. (8/20/09)--Connexus CU, based in Wausau, Wis., has launched online enrollment for members through its website, www.connexuscu.org. Members and potential members can open a membership and/or checking account and fund the account online. Members' information is integrated into Connexus' core processor, XP systems, a part of the Depository Institution Division at Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv. The online enrollment takes between seven and 10 minutes. Members receive their member number, and cards with the account are ordered within one day. Normally it would take roughly 30 minutes of employee time to process an application manually. The online enrollment saves the credit union 50%-75% of costs related to member enrollment. PM Systems Corp. of Chapin, S. C. provides the new system … * NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (8/20/09)--A robber apologized to employees of the Merrimack Valley FCU as he ran from the building with the credit union's cash Monday The man robbed the $391.8 million asset, North Andover-based credit union of an undisclosed amount. As he left the building, he told the employees: "Sorry." He did not display a weapon and dropped several $100 bills as he fled. Police said they hoped to get fingerprints from the bills (Associated Press Newswires Aug. 19) … * HARRISBURG, Pa. (8/20/09)--Funeral services will be held Friday for John Bixler Jr., 85, founder and retired president of Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU and retired president of Pennsylvania Central FCU. Bixler, 85, died Monday. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the United Church of God in Harrisburg, Pa., with a viewing at the church from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. He is survived by two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His wife, Doris, died on July 13 (Life is a Highway Aug. 19) …