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CUs announce Washington merger Maryland acquisition

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HUNT VALLEY, Md., and BELLINGHAM, Wash. (8/29/12)--Credit unions in Washington State and Maryland have announced mergers and acquisitions.

In Washington, members of Ferndale Refinery CU, a $4.6 million asset credit union in Ferndale, voted to approve a merger into Bellingham-based Industrial Credit Union of Whatcom County, according to a press release. The merger is set to take place Oct. 1 (The Bellingham Herald Aug. 27).

Ferndale Refinery CU's only branch will be closed, and its one employee, CEO Susan Prosser, will join ICU. Ferndale said it is financially strong but as with many small credit unions, it was finding it increasingly difficult to remain compliant with new regulations without increasing expenses significantly. Once the merger is completed, its members will have access to ICU's seven branches and its services, which include online banking, said the newspaper.

In Maryland, the $98 million asset Atlantic Financial FCU, based in Hunt Valley, announced it has acquired ABACO FCU, based in Perry Hall, Md.

The $357,000 asset ABACO served members and their families in petroleum refining manufacturing companies in Baltimore since 1958. It had 108 members.

Seven years later its dand233jand224 vu on Gulf Coast

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MADISON, Wis. (8/29/12)--Seven years after Hurricane Katrina came ashore on Aug. 29, 2005, New Orleans and Gulf Coast credit unions faced the beast again--this time in the form of Hurricane Isaac.

The Category 1 Hurricane Isaac made first landfall near New Orleans at 6:45 p.m. ET Tuesday as a Category 1 hurricane. Category 1 is defined as a storm with winds of at least 74 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

By comparison, Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane that killed more than 1,800 people and displaced 250,000, according to Bloomberg.com (Aug. 28). When the levees broke, 80% of the city and hundreds of credit unions were flooded.

The area got a soaking last night with high winds, flooding and a test of the city's post-Katrina $14.5 billion flood-control systems and improved levees. Storm surge was reported at nearly 10 feet above the normal high-tide levels as early as 9 p.m. Tuesday by the Weather Channel--while most of the hurricane was still off shore.

The slow-moving, massive storm was expected to dump about 20 inches of rain along the coast in southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and Alabama, and the extreme western Florida panhandle during the night Tuesday and early today.

Credit unions and some leagues in four states--Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana--reported closures as early as Monday afternoon as their areas prepared for the hurricane while it was still a tropical storm.  Isaac didn't reach hurricane status until about noon Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Florida was dealing mostly with flooding from when the earlier Tropical Storm Isaac passed through.

Credit unions had begun preparing last week and many began closing Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, staying open as late as possible to meet the cash needs of their members.  By noon Tuesday, more credit unions were added to the lists of closures, especially those in the evacuation areas of Southeast Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama.

In Pensacola, Fla., eight banks and credit unions closed, including Pen Air FCU and Gulfwinds FCU, reported local newspapers (pnj.com Aug. 28). That area was already saturated with a soaking in June from Tropical Storm Debby.  Businesses and homes in much of South Florida were dealing with power outages in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as squalls spanning from the hurricane's volatile northeastern edge. Much of South Florida was also under flood and flash-flood watches.

The League of Southeastern Credit Unions, which serves Florida and Alabama, added these closures Tuesday to its earlier list reported by News Now yesterday:

  • Mobile (Ala.) Educators CU, all branches closed, re-opening to be determined (TBD);
  • Alabama Telco CU, Mobile branch, re-opening TBD;
  • The Infirmary FCU, all branches closed until Thursday;
  • America's First FCU, Mobile branch, re-opening TBD;
  • Members First CU, all branches closed until Thursday;
  • Degussa Employees FCU, main office closed until Thursday;
  • Army Aviation Center FCU, all Mobile branches, re-opening expected today; and
  • Florida State Employees FCU, all branches, re-opening TBD.
Staff at the Louisiana Credit Union League, which is closed because it is in an area that was evacuated, is keeping contact with credit unions and advising them to check its website for information. It also has noted the value of shared branching during closures in disasters. In Katrina, shared branching saved the day for many credit unions and their members, providing access to accounts during closures.

Mississippi's Credit Union Association, with offices in Jackson, plans to be open to assist credit unions. Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson said residents were prepared for heavy rain and strong wind gusts today. The coastal town of Gulfport, Miss., was hard hit during Katrina and expecting large storm surges from Hurricane Isaac.

Even though Isaac isn't expected to pack the wallop that Katrina had, its size means that inland areas can expect especially heavy rains and flooding as the storm moves inland through southern states and into the Ohio River Valley. Credit unions in those areas will be on the alert for flooding and power outages.

CUNA Mutual Group will be in contact with impacted credit unions through its Property and Casualty Disaster Claims Team. Policyholder credit unions with damage claims can contact CUNA Mutual at its toll free emergency number, 800-637-2676. The number is answered live, 24/7.

New 2011 bankruptcy stats show 11 drop in filing

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WASHINGTON (8/29/12)--Thirteen million consumers filed for personal bankruptcy in 2011, an 11% drop in case filings, according to statistics compiled and released Monday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

The 2011 statistical report is required by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). It includes statistics on individuals filing for Chapters 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy relief.

The numbers represent a 23% drop in filer assets and a 25% decrease in filer liabilities. Roughly 28% of the Chapter 13 cases in 2011 were repeat filers who had filed a bankruptcy petition during the previous eight years.

Roughly 70% of those were Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, down from 71% in 2010, while 30% were Chapter 13 filings, down from 28% in 2010.  One-tenth of 1% of the filings were Chapter 11s.

Consumers sought protection for nearly $221.3 billion of which more than $133.8 billion was in real property and $87.5 billion in personal property, said the report. That compared with $407 billion in 2010 comprising $263.3 billion in real property and nearly $143.8 billion in personal property.

Liabilities totaled $280 billion in 2011, compared with $473.8 billion a year earlier.  Last year's total included more than $177.4 billion in secured claims, nearly $4.7 billion in unsecured claims, and $98.8 billion in unsecured priority claims.

For the full BAPCPA report, use the link.

CU cash mob boosts BBQ restaurants sales 66

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DUBLIN, Ohio (8/29/12)--A cash mob hosted by Central Ohio Chapter of Credit Unions helped a local restaurant increase its single-day sales by 66%.

The cash mob, which helped Gallo's Pit BBQ in Linworth, Ohio, increase its Aug. 16 sales by 66% over the previous Thursday, was part of a year-long initiative by the chapter to boost sales of locally owned businesses and support the Central Ohio economy.

A cash mob is an event in which people are encouraged to descend on a small business and spend money. The chapter said it will host more cash mobs throughout the year and into 2013.

"This type of grassroots effort provides a fun way to engage our credit union members and create social media awareness, aimed at steering the public toward a locally owned and operated establishment," said Jaime Crooks, marketing director for Ohio HealthCare FCU, who helped organize the event." If they are going to spend money somewhere, why not encourage them to do it at a place that directly impacts our community?"

Dakota CUs performing well in 2012

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BISMARCK, N.D. (8/29/12)--Credit unions in North and South Dakotas have performed as well or better than the national averages in asset growth, loan growth, and member growth during the past 12 months, according to the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD). 

As of March, North Dakota credit unions saw asset growth of 13.5%, while South Dakota credit unions experienced asset growth of 6.4%.  Both percentages exceed the national average of 4.8%. 

While North Dakota credit unions saw significant loan growth of 12.2%, South Dakota's loan portfolios posted growth of 1.2% over the previous 12 months. 

Both North and South Dakota outpaced the national average in member growth by almost 1%. North Dakota credit unions grew membership by 1.7% during the past year. Membership growth among South Dakota credit unions was 1.4%. The national average was 0.6%, said CUAD.

The positive trends have continued through the first six months of 2012 for the Dakotas' credit unions, CUAD said.  Assets have increased $229.4 million or 4.54%.  Both savings and loans increased by over 4% since December 2011 and credit union memberships continue to grow, increasing by about 5,000 members since the end of last year.

Hostage tells what happened at CU

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LAKEWOOD, Wash. (8/28/12)--It was the quiet moments that struck fear in the mind of Brielle Edwards, one of 12 people held hostage by a gunman in a Washington credit union Saturday, Edwards said Monday.

Police officers shot and critically wounded a man as he attempted to flee Washington State Employees CU, after he held a dozen people hostage at gunpoint, including his estranged wife, for about 45 minutes Saturday afternoon, according to KVAL.com (Aug. 28).

Eldridge and her mother stopped at the credit union as they were running errands. As she sat in a cubicle in the back of the branch, Eldridge heard a commotion up front. A man and a woman were arguing.

Soon Eldridge, her mom and the credit union representative working with them dropped to the floor out of concern for their safety, she told the television station.

Her fear was heightened during the quiet times because she didn't know the location of the gunman, she said. During those times, she could hear the police outside the credit union branch. At one point she made eye contact with a SWAT officer.

But the scariest moment came when she heard two pops. She thought someone had been shot, but she couldn't be sure who, she told the station.

It turned out that two policemen had each fired a single shot, disabling the gunman.

Moments later, police entered the building and identified themselves.

Eldridge said she is grateful how the situation ended, but has had trouble sleeping and keeps reliving the incident in her head.

The gunman remained in critical condition Monday.

Grant to CU will expand services to tribal members

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DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (8/29/12)--Citizens Community CU (CCCU), Devils Lake, N.D., will use its $1.5 million financial assistance award from the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund to expand affordable and equitable financial services to the Native American populations it has traditionally served.

"With this grant, we will be able to provide the direct financing of housing through Tribal Housing Agencies, and direct loans to individual tribal members," said Darwin Brokke, the CCCU's president. "We will be able to help assist tribal agencies by providing the credit they need to implement their own single-family housing plans."

One local reservation has an immediate waiting list of roughly 125 families, with 525 families identified as needing housing in the future, Brokke said.

Because tribal income is one-half of the statewide average and poverty on local reservations is three to four times more prevalent than in the surrounding communities, families must wait for up to 10 years for affordable housing. With the award, CCCU can provide several hundred new homes, Brokke said.

The Treasury recently announced more than $186 million in awards to 210 organizations serving low-income communities. That total, provided through the CDFI Fund's Community Development Financial Institutions Program and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program), is the largest amount awarded in CDFI Fund's history. Since its creation, the fund has awarded more than $1.4 billion to community development organizations and financial institutions.

CU Breakthrough's consultants assisted the credit union in preparing the necessary applications. CU Breakthrough, the fee-based consulting arm of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, specializes in helping credit unions expand offerings to underserved communities through a variety of services.

Employee kidnapped taken to CU for robbery

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (8/29/12)--A Fort Wayne, Ind., credit union employee was allegedly kidnapped from her home Monday evening and taken to the credit union, where suspects forced her to provide them access to cash before leaving the scene with her car.

The employee was reportedly ambushed, blindfolded and restrained inside her home by two black men, who took the employee and her car to Freedom Financial CU (indiananewscenter.com Aug. 28). After forcing her inside and gaining access to cash, the suspects fled in the woman's car, leaving her at the credit union.

Her car was recovered later in Fort Wayne.

She was not reported injured.

Annaloro NWCUA CEO to retire in October

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash., and BEAVERTON, Ore. (8/29/12)--John Annaloro, CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), will retire on Oct. 2, NWCUA announced Tuesday. 

NWCUA's change of leadership will occur in conjunction with its Convention and Annual Business Meeting in Vancouver, Wash.  A reception honoring Annaloro's accomplishments will be held on the evening of Oct. 4 during the convention.

Annaloro has served as CEO of the organization for 15 years, from 1997 to 2010 with the Washington Credit Union League and from 2010 to the present with NWCUA. Prior to moving to Washington, he was a senior executive for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

"John has consistently championed advocacy's vital importance to credit union success, implementing programs that are among the strongest in the nation and with a focus that has resulted in Washington and Oregon having two of the most progressive charters in the nation," said Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

"Further, among many other accomplishments, he has shown outstanding leadership in championing financial literacy, most notably through his visionary embrace and early financial support for the Public Broadcasting System's BizKid$ program, which has gone on to become one of the movement's signature financial literacy initiatives, now under the auspices of the National Credit Union Foundation," Cheney said.

"And, on top of all of that, as a league executive and president, he has demonstrated superior results both organizationally and financially, highlighted by his personal engagement and essential role in the historic vote by the Washington and Oregon credit union leagues to merge and become the Northwest Credit Union Association, " he added.

Annaloro was the Washington league's sixth executive officer and the first CEO of NWCUA, the product of a merger between the Washington league and the Credit Union Association of Oregon. It now serves nearly 200 credit unions.

Known as a promoter of aggressive and effective government affairs programming, he has earned numerous awards, including the Eagle Award from the American Association of Credit Union Leagues for his outstanding record of achievement as a system leader.  Among his other awards are:

  • ASAE National Award for Outstanding Governmental Affairs Programs;
  • The Western CUNA Management School Outstanding Graduate; and
  • Co-recipient of the National Credit Union Foundation's Herb Wegner Memorial Award for the PBS television series, "BizKid$," which was launched in Seattle with credit union funding.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to work with and get to know John over the past few years," said NWCUA Board Chairman Bill Anderson. "His focused and agile leadership he has put in place is the very foundation that has made this organization--and indeed, our industry--such a success."

Under his watch, Northwest credit unions gained national influence, working with CUNA to promote legislation, membership awareness and other initiatives improving the operating environment for the financial institutions.

"John is a thought leader in the credit union movement. He is usually months if not years ahead of everyone else," said Dan Mica, former CUNA CEO. "John spared no effort advancing the credit union charter. He clearly established Washington State as what I would call a 'soldier on the ground,' taking critical issues door-to-door to the people. There is no way a national organization such as CUNA can advocate alone."

Annaloro also was a leader in advocating for the passage of the Credit Union Membership Act of 1998, which significantly opened credit union membership eligibility to consumers.

"Serving the credit union system has been an honor in every way," said Annaloro. "I appreciate the trust vested in association executives by our credit unions. These appointments are noble endeavors, worthy of anyone's best efforts to provide a brilliant future. I will miss many friendships, as well as the staff, board members and past chairmen who have been my partners."

Annaloro will be succeeded as CEO by Troy Stang, NWCUA's current president.

NEW Annaloro to retire as NWCUA CEO

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash., and BEAVERTON, Ore. (FILED 2:25 p.m. CT 8/28/12)--John Annaloro, CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), will retire on Oct. 2, NWCUA announced today. 

NWCUA's change of leadership will occur in conjunction with NWCUA's Convention and Annual Business Meeting in Vancouver, Wash.  A reception honoring Annaloro's accomplishments will be held Oct. 4 during the proceedings.

Annaloro has served as CEO of the organization for 15 years, from 1997 to 2010 with the Washington Credit Union League and from 2010 to the present with NWCUA. Prior to moving to Washington, he was a senior executive for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues.

"John has consistently championed advocacy's vital importance to credit union success, implementing programs that are among the strongest in the nation and with a focus that has resulted in Washington and Oregon having two of the most progressive charters in the nation," said Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

"Further, among many other accomplishments, he has shown outstanding leadership in championing financial literacy, most notably through his visionary embrace and early financial support for the Public Broadcasting System's BizKid$ program, which has gone on to become one of the movement's signature financial literacy initiatives, now under the auspices of the National Credit Union Foundation," Cheney said.

"And, on top of all of that, as a league executive and president, he has demonstrated superior results both organizationally and financially, highlighted by his personal engagement and essential role in the historic vote by the Washington and Oregon credit union leagues to merge and become the Northwest Credit Union Association, " he added.

Annaloro was the Washington league's sixth executive officer and the first CEO of NWCUA, the product of a merger between the Washington league and the Credit Union Association of Oregon that now serves nearly 200 credit unions. Known as a promoter of aggressive and effective government affairs programming, he has earned numerous awards, including the Eagle Award from the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) for his outstanding record of achievement as a system leader.  Among his other awards are:

  • ASAE National Award for Outstanding Governmental Affairs Programs;
  • The Western CUNA Management School Outstanding Graduate; and
  • Co-recipient of the National Credit Union Foundation's Herb Wegner Memorial Award for the PBS television series, "BizKid$," which was launched in Seattle with credit union funding.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to work with and get to know John over the past few years," said NWCUA Board Chairman Bill Anderson. "His focused and agile leadership he has put in place the very foundation that has made this organization--and indeed, our industry--such a success."

Annaloro will be succeeded as CEO by Troy Stang, the NWCUA's current president.