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Georgians saving more still short on expenses

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ATLANTA (8/25/11)--Georgia's credit union members are saving more, but would still be short on their ability to pay long-term expenses if they lost their income, according to the most recent Georgia Credit Unions "Paying Attention" poll. Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) compiles the quarterly report based on poll responses from more than 6,000 credit union members and from aggregated data from credit unions statewide. More than half (52%) of Georgians polled could not cover essential expenses for more than three months, and more than three-fourths could not do so for more than a year. However, that's an improvement from survey results a year ago, when 76.3% indicated they couldn't survive more than three months, said GCUA. "The good news is that many Georgians are starting to realize the need to save, but the bad news is most haven't saved enough to cover essential expenses more than three months," said Mike Mercer, GCUA president/CEO. "Our poll shows that paying down debt and cutting expenses are among the top strategies consumers are using to get back to saving consistently." The new report revealed that 40.8% of Georgians set a savings goal this year. Of those with a goal, 55.2% believe they can attain it. Roughly 35.5% of respondents said they eliminated vacations to cut costs; 58.1% indicated high gas prices were a factor. Still, 58.5% said they plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. GCUA also compiled savings and lending data from 38 credit unions representing 91% of credit union assets and 84% of members in the state. It found a trend toward savings with mixed results in lending. Among the findings:
* Savings deposits increased 9.12% for the first half of 2011 and 9.43% for the past 12 months. * Business lending continued growth of 17.01%, but this growth rate is based on a low loan base because the current business lending cap for credit unions is low, at 12.25%, said GCUA. (Credit unions, state leagues and the Credit Union National Association are pushing Congress to raise the lending cap to 27.5% to help generate 140,000 jobs and $13 billion in business loans without cost to the taxpayer). * Used-car lending, which has been in a slump, grew 3.97% during second quarter; * First mortgage balances rose 3.1% in the first six months of 2011 and 11.81% the past year, largely due to refinances at larger credit unions; * Members' bankruptcy filings dropped in June by 9.72% from June 2010; * Credit card balances decreased 3% in the first half of 2011 but increased 2.6% from the same period a year ago; * Certificates of deposit dropped 1.8%; consumers unwillingness to lock their money away a long term with historically low rates was likely a factor, said GCUA.
To access the full report and a video, use the link.

Dakota CUs Fill the Boat for flood victims

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BISMARCK, N.D. (8/25/11)--Dakota credit unions and members helped to make the “Fill the Boat” campaign--a credit union drive that began in June to collect donations and cash for flood victims in North Dakota and South Dakota--successful, said the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD). Roughly 44 credit union locations throughout the two states collected more than $2,000 worth of donated supplies and nearly $8,000 in cash donations through the Young Credit Union Professionals (YCUP) organization when the campaign concluded last week. The YCUP network consists of credit union employees--between the ages of 18 and 40--who are dedicated to increasing social, professional and service-related opportunities for young credit union professionals in North and South Dakota. Two YCUP members, CUAD’s Amy Jo Johnson and Steve Rahrich, took a 14-foot U-Haul vehicle on a road trip through the North Dakota towns of Edgeley, Jamestown, Devils Lake and Minot to pick up the items from some of the participating credit unions. Donated items in Fargo and Grand Forks were collected by Roxanne Mullenberg, a Postal Family FCU employee and YCUP member. Half of the items were delivered to Our Lady of Grace Food Pantry in Minot; the other half went to Bismarck’s local food banks. In South Dakota, Amy Kleinschmit, a YCUP member and CUAD director of compliance, collected donated items from some credit unions in the Sioux Falls area. The items were donated to the Sioux Falls Red Cross office for Missouri flood victims. Several other participating South Dakota credit unions delivered their collected items directly to the Red Cross. The $8,000 in donated cash will be divided between two charities. Half will go to the Minot Recovery Fund, and half to CUAid.

Tech CU offers Solar mart loans

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (8/25/11)--Technology CU is offering two new solar loan programs for homeowners installing solar energy panels. Called Solar $mart, the loans complement San Jose, Calif.-based Tech CU’s work with the Bay Area Climate Collaborative on SunShares, a program through which residents and businesses receive discounts on their solar energy purchases by taking advantage of group buys from solar providers. Regional expansion of SunShares builds upon a pilot program the City of San Jose began for its employees in 2010 with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities program. Tech CU members who participate in a SunShares solar installation can choose to receive a pre-negotiated discount using SunPower solar panels or they can participate in a group discount with a solar provider. The $1.5 billion asset credit union will provide financing for all projects through Solar $mart. It offers two loan options: the Solar $mart Home Equity Line of Credit, a secured loan that provides financing up to 80% loan-to-value with credit limits from $5,000 to $75,000; and the Solar $mart Unsecured Loan, which offers 10- or 20-year term loans from $10,000 to $50,000. Also, individuals may qualify for federal tax credits for up to 30% of their solar project.

Hoosman invited to MLK Memorial ceremony

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WASHINGTON (8/25/11)--Hubert Hoosman Jr., president/CEO of Vantage CU in Bridgeton, Mo., will attend the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Dedication Ceremony and Dream Gala this weekend in Washington, D.C. Hoosman helped raise more than $1 million for the memorial during the past five years, and was invited to the dedication ceremony, the $670 million asset credit union said. “I just want to enjoy the moment,” Hoosman said, “I want to see [the monument],” which he called the “highlight of my career.” In 2006, Hoosman became aware of efforts to build the memorial when the credit union was asked if it could make a contribution. Vantage pledged $50,000, and asked the nation’s credit unions to contribute to helping build the memorial. Hoosman, who also is active in the 250-member African American Credit Union Coalition, received the group’s endorsement for the fundraising effort. While in Washington, D.C., Hoosman will attend the Interfaith Prayer Service Saturday morning, the Dream Gala Saturday evening and the official dedication on Sunday.

Filene reports on governance who owns CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (8/25/11)--Credit unions’ rapid modern rise--from small, fragmented lenders in the 1970s to increasingly sophisticated full-service institutions today--distracts from the fact that governance structures, in stature and in practice, have changed slowly in response, according to new research from the Filene Research Institute. “Power and Governance” Who Really Owns Credit Unions?" by Robert F. Hoel, professor emeritus for the College of Business at Colorado State University, offers critiques of annual meetings, CEO compensation, antidemocratic board renewal policies, hostile mergers, and board perks--to separate credit union rhetoric from credit union reality, said Filene. The governance report, the first of three, encourages directors and leaders of credit unions to:
* Measure members’ sense of credit union ownership and assess the relative governance power of the actors in their credit union to determine whether that power hierarchy is in the best interests of members. * Take steps to overcome governance biases. For example, a bias toward lack of board professionalism can be addressed through targeted board recruitment efforts. A bias toward excessive risk aversion can be addressed through in-depth analysis and discussion of risk-reward tradeoffs. * Expect regulators to overreact and try to dominate credit union decision-making in difficult economic environments. * Operate the credit union with transparency. Withholding information from members is unnecessary if the board is doing its job well. * Don't fret about low turnout at credit union annual meetings. Most owners of large institutions do not wish to be directly involved in the governance process. Instead create an extravaganza and use the event primarily as a marketing opportunity. * Realize that they share the responsibility to prioritize goals and demand high levels of organizational performance. Credit union members won’t demand anything. They will just take all or part of their business elsewhere if the credit union doesn't deliver good economic value.
“Power and Governance: Who Really Owns Credit Unions?” will be followed by two more reports: “Boards and CEOs: Who’s Really in Charge?” and “Boards and Leadership: How Boards Can Add More Value.” All three take aim at credit union governance, both the good and the bad, and prescribe real-world responses. To download the complete report, use the link.

Scholarship deadline for Community CU and Growth Conference extended

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MADISON, Wis. (8/25/11)--The deadline to apply for a 2011 Community Credit Union & Growth Conference scholarship co-sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has been extended to Sept. 9. Applications originally were due Sept. 2. Up to 30 scholarships to the CUNA event will be awarded, and scholarship winners will be notified by Sept. 15. The conference is scheduled for Oct. 24-27 in San Francisco and will focus on how to turn growth-generating ideas into action plans. Use the resource links below to access the conference website, including a simplified scholarship form and scholarship criteria, or to apply for the assistance.

Defense Council chair rings NASDAQ opening bell

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NEW YORK (8/25/11)--The Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) Board of Directors was on hand at Times Square Wednesday morning as Board
Click to view larger image Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) Board Chairman Frank Padak rang the opening bell at NASDAQ Wednesday morning on Times Square. Padak, other DCUC board members and DCUC President/CEO Roland "Arty" Arteaga visited the stock exchange at the conclusion of DCUC's Annual Meeting. Pictured are Padak and executive board members Patricia Kimmel, Jean Yokum, Dave Davis, Denise Floyd and Gordon Simmons. (Photo provided by the Defense Credit Union Council).
Chairman Frank Padak rang the opening bell at NASDAQ to usher in another day of stock trading. Padak is president/ CEO of Scott CU, a $695 million asset credit union based in Collinsville, Ill. With him for the ceremony were DCUC First Vice Chair Patricia Kimmel, president/CEO of Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va.; Second Vice Chair Jean Yokum, president/CEO of Langley FCU, Newport News, Va.; Treasurer Dave Davis, president/CEO of Pacific Marine CU, Oceanside, Calif.; Secretary Denise Floyd, president/CEO of Fort Sill (Okla.) FCU; and Immediate Past Chair Gordon Simmons, president/CEO, Service CU, Portsmouth, N.H. DCUC President/CEO Roland "Arty" Arteaga was also in the group, which was in New York for the DCUC Annual Meeting Monday through Wednesday morning. The event received wide coverage, with these networks reporting on the opening of the market: CNBC, CNBC India, CNBC.com, Itsaboutfinance.com, Business News Network (Canada), NDTV in New Delhi, Bloomberg, Fox Business and Fox affiliate KTVU, reported DCUC. Attendees at the conference were feted to a continental breakfast and a behind-the-scenes tour of the stock exchange. The day was a good day for the stock exchange, which finished up 144 points. The video of the ceremony is also posted on NASDAQ.com.

Advantis CEO named vice chairman Fed San Francisco advisory group

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SAN FRANCISCO (8/25/11)--Ronald Barrick, president/CEO of Advantis CU, Milwaukie, Ore., has been appointed vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Twelfth District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. It was also announced that Darin B. Moody, president/CEO of Utah First FCU, Salt Lake City, has been named to the council. Moody will serve a three-year term. The council represents banks, thrift institutions and credit unions of various sizes within the Twelfth District. The council provides input to the district bank’s senior management on a variety of topics such as economic and banking conditions, regulatory policies, and payment issues.

Dorety wins a Wegner Lifetime Achievement Award

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MADISON, Wis. (8/25/11)--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has named Tom Dorety, president/CEO Suncoast Schools FCU in Tampa, Fla., as a winner of 2012 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement. Dorety’s award will be presented March 19 at a dinner hosted by NCUF during the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2012 Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington D.C. “When you look at Tom’s lifetime efforts, you realize that this is the perfect description of dedication, compassion and success within the credit union world,” said NCUF Awards and Recognition Committee Chairman Bob Schumacher. “No matter what Tom does, it seems to turn into something good for someone else.” Dorety has been president/CEO at Suncoast Schools FCU since April 1996, after serving as a senior vice president for eight years. Suncoast Schools is the largest credit union in Florida and the 11th largest in the U.S., with nearly $5 billion in assets. He has served as chairman of CUNA, Filene Research Institute, the National CEO Roundtable, and MEMBERS Trust Company. He currently serves on the boards of the CO-OP Financial Services Network, Hillsborough County Education Foundation and All Children’s Hospital. Dorety was chairman of CUNA from 2008-2009. During that time, he helped build consensus with fellow board members and served on almost every major committee. “Tom stepped up to provide strong leadership during some of the most challenging times in the history of credit unions,” said Dan Mica, former president/CEO of CUNA. “It was his passion and ability to motivate people to action that stand out as defining characteristics of his incredible leadership. He built consensus when there was no consensus. He brought people to action when they hesitated to get involved. And he addressed issues that nobody else wanted to even talk about.” At his own credit union, Dorety initiated the Suncoast for Kids Foundation, which contributes $1 million per year to public schools on Florida’s West Coast. He was successful in rallying Tampa-area credit unions to build a new intensive-care wing and a new Center for Autism at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla. Through Dorety’s leadership, Suncoast developed a culture of educational volunteerism and community outreach, NCUF said. Suncoast offers financial literacy programs and student operated credit unions branches in local elementary, middle and high schools. The credit union supports a program for at-risk school students, provides college scholarships and grants, and holds annual school supply drives for both teachers and students. Dorety is one of two 2012 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement recipients. The second winner will be announced soon.

CUs 75th birthday generates 18 hike in loan volume

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DALLAS (8/25/11)--Promotions related to the 75th anniversary on July 15 of Dallas-based Resource One CU have resulted in an 18% hike in its loan volume, with $9.38 million in gross loans, according to the Texas Credit Union League. The $310.8 million asset credit union kicked off its "75 is the new 25" vehicle loan promotion, which offered 0.25% off all vehicle loans in July. The credit union also entered the loans in a contest for a $7,500 cash prize (LoneStar Leaguer Aug. 22). During the credit union's birthday week, Resource One's marketing team visited all branches with a cash cube, the children's mascot Roary the Lion and free giveaways and prizes. To generate buzz about the celebration, employees videotaped more than 150 member testimonials, which can be viewed on the credit union's YouTube Channel. Use the link to view it. The city of Houston also declared July 15th as "Resource One Day." "By offering the 0.25% birthday discount to our members, and focusing on our auto loan recapture program, we saved our members money and had the biggest loan volume year to date," said Chief Lending Officer Mike Roark. Four of the nine branches broke their loan records--in volume and in dollars booked.