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SAFE CU presented California Desjardins Award

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (8/21/09)--The California Credit Union League announced the recipients of its statewide Desjardins Youth Financial Education Awards. SAFE CU, a $1.4 billion asset credit union based in North Highlands, Calif., is the first place winner in the asset category of $250 million and above, and The Golden 1 CU, a nearly $7 billion asset credit union in Sacramento, received an honorable mention. The number of youth financial literacy presentations made by SAFE CU branch managers at local high schools during the 2008-09 school year was remarkable, said judges, given the fact its field of membership isn't education-based. It also was recognized because of its student-run high school branches. The Golden 1 CU was recognized for its youth financial literacy programs and resources including the National Endowment for Financial Education's High School Financial Planning Program, Junior Achievement and the California and Youth Involvement Network. Winners of state-level contests are eligible to compete in the national award competition, which is coordinated by the Credit Union National Association.

Kennebec conversion debate fodder for op-eds

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AUGUSTA, Maine (8/21/09)--Members of Kennebec Valley FCU will begin voting Saturday on the board's proposal to convert to a mutual savings bank and then merge with Kennebec Savings Bank (Morning Sentinel Aug. 19). The controversial merger proposal has been steady fodder for local newspapers' opinion-editorial pages for months, beginning Feb. 10 with a letter to the editor of the Kennebec Journal from Gerald C. Poulin, former board chair of the $53 million asset credit union, who opposed a merger (News Now Feb. 11). In the past two weeks letters and articles have increased, as each side presents its case. The Kennebec Journal published a letter Tuesday from member Lorraine Philbrick (Aug. 18), who noted that the credit union provides competition and helps keep prices lower and products better. If a merger is approved, "This action could very well be the beginning to an end for our credit unions in the future," she said. Andy Lacasse wrote in the Aug. 13 issue that he would vote for the merger because the credit union was "not growing" and needed a partner. "It doesn't matter to me what the label on the door is, but rather what happens when you go through it," he wrote. And on Aug. 8, the Journal published a letter from Lucille Cloutier, questioning what the advantages for members would be. "What do the members get in return for turning over all of the credit union's assets in this merger?" she asked. The Morning Sentinel reported that Kennebec Savings Bank, a community bank with a service philosophy, recently received national acclaim for its employee benefits from The Principal Financial Group, a Des Moines, Iowa-based financial services firm that named the bank one of 10 best companies for employee financial security. The bank released that news to help ease fears that jobs might be lost in the merger, the article said. That shouldn't have any impact on the merger vote, John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League, told the newspaper. The league opposes the merger. "It's an issue of the membership and how they're going to benefit from such a conversion," Murphy said, adding that members have the option to join the bank if they want. If the merge is approved, the bank would acquire more than $5 million in capital assets owned by credit union membership, he said. Voting will end on Sept. 21.

Credit card statement stuffer explains new law

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MADISON, Wis. (8/21/09)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has new materials to assist credit unions in setting the record straight with members on what the new Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 will mean to them. While educating members about the effects, credit unions also can take the opportunity to remind members they'll get their best credit card deals at their credit union. "New Law Shows Credit Union Cards Still the Best" is a new statement stuffer that will help credit unions explain the impact of the new CARD Act, parts of which started taking effect Thursday. The six-panel statement stuffer includes a three-panel table that outlines the new law, when the changes become effective, and what it will mean for consumers. The stuffer addresses fees, interest rates, disclosures, payments, oversight, prepaid and gift cards, as well as changes for consumers under the age of 21. "In a way, there's almost too much information about the new law in the news. Consumers are very confused and will welcome this simple table--it outlines the big changes and when they will happen," said Michelle Dosher, managing editor at CUNA's Center for Personal Finance. Credit unions also can remind their members why the The New York Times (July 9 and June 24) says credit union credit cards are a great test for how other card providers will perform under the new law--because credit union cards already perform in consumers' best interests.

Northeast CU is top CUDL lender in New England

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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (8/21/09)--Northeast CU (NECU) was named top CUDL lender in New Hampshire and New England by CUDL (Credit Union Direct Lending) Merge magazine. The CUDL organization works with U.S. auto dealers to make credit union auto loans available wherever cars are sold. NECU generated more than 5,000 loans, earning the No. 1 spot on the top 10 lenders list in New Hampshire and No. 1 on the top five credit union lenders list in New England, according to CUDL’s 2009 summer regional lending report. “In this current climate where the big banks and finance companies are reducing staff, tightening lending criteria and making it more difficult for the local dealer to speak to them, we have a different formula,” said Doug Sites, NECU assistant vice president of lending. “Northeast CU’s success is based on an experienced underwriting staff, a full- time relationship manager and a philosophy that dealer relationships and service are keys to retaining and growing the business no matter what business cycle we’re in.” Auto lending has always been a core product for NECU, Sites said. Northeast CU, based in Portsmouth, N.H., has $656 million in assets.

VolCorp announces board elections

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (8/21/09)--Volunteer Corporate CU (VolCorp) announced the election of officers to its board of directors at its recent annual meeting. Officers elected were:
* Chairman--Hank Flury, Cornerstone Financial CU, Nashville; * Vice Chairman--Blake Strickland, Tennessee Valley FCU, Chattanooga, Tenn.; * Treasurer--David Atkinson, Eastman CU, Kingsport, Tenn.; and * Secretary--Karen Jordan, P&G Employees FCU, Cincinnati.
Newly elected board members are Mike Haggard, Healthnet FCU, Memphis, and Ken Swann, City of Memphis CU. Other board members include:
* Robert Arick, director, Agility Financial CU, Memphis; * Dave Mullican, director, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Federal Employees CU; and * Rose Melton, director, Altra FCU, Lexington, Ky.
With its national field of membership, VolCorp serves 266 credit unions in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia. VolCorp, based in Nashville, has more than $1.3 billion in assets.

CU System briefs (08/20/2009)

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* WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (8/21/09)--Horizons FCU, based in Williamsport, Pa., reported that counterfeit cashier's checks bearing its name are in circulation, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The items display the wrong routing number--031302528--which is the number of Woodlands Bank, a Williamsport bank that issues Horizon's checks. The counterfeit items display a security feature statement embedded in a darkened top border, with the credit union's name, and mailing and street addresses at the top left. Horizon's authentic checks are light blue with a border that varies in color: dark blue, dark purple or dark orange. Its logo, name, mailing and street address, telephone and fax numbers are in the top left corner … * DALLAS (8/21/09)--Texans CU received the Junior Achievement (JA) of Dallas's "highest team average" honor for dollars the credit union raised for the 2009 JA Bowl-A-Thon. The credit union contributed nearly $8,999 with fundraisers such as "Jeans Day Fridays" and raffling off first-floor parking spots donated by executives. Eighteen Texans employees participated in the bowl-a-thon, which raised $216,000 for JA of Dallas. Bowl-a-thon team captains showing off the trophy awarded to Texans are, from left: Orlando Huerta, Sue Nash, Daisy Harris, Stacey Hastings and Dee Fincher. (Photo provided by Texans CU) … * ROCHESTER, Minn. (8/21/09)--Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-1) met with nine credit union representatives in a constituents' roundtable focused on credit union issues Aug. 18. They discussed several federal legislative issues, including regulation of the financial services industry. Citing H.R. 3126, which would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, credit unions emphasized the importance of maintaining an independent credit union regulator. Waltz acknowledged credit unions' concerns and agreed the mainstream financial services industry has not demonstrated a need for a "super regulator." As Congress works to protect consumers, elected officials need to ensure they do not punish financial institutions that have practiced diligence by working and complying with agencies such as the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said Walz. Credit unions also addressed their challenges in complying with parts of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act. Credit unions discussed the Promoting Lending For America's Small Business Act (H.R. 3380) and highlighted benefits credit unions offer small businesses through member business lending. Walz encouraged attendees to keep in contact with him as the issues progress through Congress. "Congressman Walz's desire to meet with us during his busy August recess demonstrates that he identifies credit unions as an important constituent group in his district," said Mara Humphrey, Minnesota Credit Union Network vice president--governmental affairs. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network) … * ST. LOUIS (8/21/09)--The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) is coordinating meetings across the state to give credit unions a platform to discuss their concerns with lawmakers. U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton (center of top photo) (D-District 4) met with 10 credit union leaders to discuss industry concerns about member business lending and open-ended lending in the Credit CARD Act. The meeting took place Aug. 14 at a CommunityAmerica CU branch in Blue Springs. Local media outlets were invited to the meeting by Skelton's staff. See article in local newspaper . Other meetings included an Aug. 13 meeting with Cindy Eberting Hall, a staffer of Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D) office, Missouri CU President/CEO Hal James and MCUA Senior Vice President Peggy Nalls. Representatives from four Springfield area credit unions met Aug. 17 with Dan Wadlington of U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt's (R-7) office. Wadlington is shown at center in the second photo. (Photos provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association) …

New WOCCU chairman a seasoned vet of U.S. movement

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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (8/21/09)--The new chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is a seasoned veteran of the U.S. credit union movement.
Click to view larger image Barry Jolette, new World Council of Credit Unions chair, (left) accepts the chain of office from former chair Melvin Edwards at the World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Barry Jolette, president/CEO of San Mateo CU (SMCU) in Redwood City, Calif., was named chairman of the board of WOCCU during its World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain, July 28. Jolette, who served as Credit Union National Association chairman from 2001 to 2003, has been president/CEO of SMCU since 1987. He also received the California Credit Union League Distinguished Service Award and Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. In 2007, he received the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime achievement, the credit union industry’s highest national honor. “I have been involved in credit unions for most of my life, and it is so rewarding to see the credit union movement remain healthy and robust in spite of the economic challenges that may arise,” Jolette said. “Clearly, the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ has proven its worth as a powerful financial tool.” SMCU has more than $600 million in assets.

NYIB honors outstanding contributors

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (8/21/09)--The National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) recognized two credit union professionals for their work in youth marketing, education and leadership development at its annual conference in Tempe, Ariz., Aug. 4. Julie McLean was named 2009 Delegate of the Year. She is the director of financial education at Arapahoe CU, Littleton, Colo., which won a 2008 Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award. She also is a board member of Littleton Public Schools and a member of the Colorado Certified Technical Education Advisory Council, serving as chair of the Family and Consumer Sciences Committee. McLean reached 6,482 young people in 257 financial education presentations during 2008-09. She works with the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), Colorado Jump$tart, and the Credit Union Association of Colorado. She received NYIB’s Robert L. Curry Scholarship in 2007. NYIB’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year is Dawn Ambuehl-Sadek, financial education specialist for A+ FCU, Austin, Texas. Ambuehl-Sadek is a certified Texas Educator and teaches the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program, conducts teacher training events, and serves on the logistics committee for Financial Fitness Greater Austin. She is also a member of Project NEFE, a statewide financial education initiative. Ambuehl-Sadek made 39 presentations to 589 students during the past year. She regularly appears on an early-morning Austin news segment entitled “Your Money” and was a financial services category finalist for the Austin Under 40 Awards. A+ FCU also recently garnered the Texas Credit Union Foundation’s FOCUS Award for commitment to financial literacy. NYIB accepts nominees for annual recognition, including the Delegate and Volunteer of the Year, plus applicants for scholarships to attend the NYIB annual conference and the National Credit Union Foundation Development Education Training.
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