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CU System Briefs (08/28/2013)

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  • SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (8/28/13)--Christina Fernandez Padilla, 50, was arrested Friday in San Luis Obispo, Calif., after someone tripped an alarm at a branch of Sacramento-based Golden 1 CU. Padilla was arrested at 11:15 p.m. after a short chase and is being charged with four counts of robbery, felony evading and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm (The Californian Aug. 27). The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Padilla may be charged with six other financial institution robberies attributed to the "Central Coast Bandit" and that began on New Year's Day in Pacific Grove. Robberies occurred also in Atascadero, Nipomo, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and Modesto. In the robberies, the female robber said she needed to cash a check and then presented a note demanding cash ...
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (8/28/13)--Erie (Pa.) FCU CEO Mary Beth Wilcher and Chief Operating Officer Brian Waugaman (right) recently met with U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) (center)  at a special event, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Aug. 26). The congressman is a long-time credit union member and "is very supportive of credit unions and has a good understanding of how they differ from banks," said the association.  The three also discussed unemployment, welfare-to-work strategies, immigration, energy initiatives and agriculture, said PCUA. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association) ...

NEW: More Members Of Congress State Positives Of CUs

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LANSING, Mich. and CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J.   (8/28/13, UPDATED 1:40 p.m. CT)--A congressman from New Jersey has pledged to fight to keep legitimate tax exemptions and said credit unions do a great job and provide necessary competition to banks.  And three more members of Congress from Michigan have made statements of support for the credit union industry.
 
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which is overseeing the drafting of tax code reform, held a town meeting in Cliffside Park Tuesday night. Among the 200 people attending were Tom Quigley, XCEL FCU director of marketing, and New Jersey Credit Union League President Greg Michlig and Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel (The Daily Exchange Aug. 28).
 
Pascrell was quick to note that the credit union tax exemption is an intentional exception like the charitable gift and mortgage interest deductions. "It's not a loophole," he said, adding all deductions are under attack but Congress should be going after the loopholes like the ones that send jobs off-shore. He pledged to fight to keep legitimate deductions and exemptions, and noted credit unions do a great job and provide necessary competition to banks.
 
"This was an excellent opportunity to communicate the 'Don't Tax My Credit Union' message to an important member of our congressional delegation who will likely play a key role as tax reform moves forward," said Abeel.
 
In Michigan, 15 out of 16 congressional delegates from that state have voiced support of credit unions, with 12 of them specifically stating support for credit unions' tax status, said the Michigan Credit Union League.
 
The statements from Reps. Bill Huizenga, Candice Miller and Fred Upton, all Republicans, did not specifically state support for credit unions' tax status, but the statements are strong indications of their support for credit unions in general and the friendship they have shown the movement through their political careers, said the league (Michigan Monitor Aug. 28).
 
"These final three statements now provide the MCUL with a near clean-sweep of support from our 14 representatives and two U.S. senators," said league CEO David Adams.
Upton (R-St. Joseph) said credit unions are a critical element of the economy and that he will continue to work to give credit unions more business-lending authority.

"Credit unions are at the forefront of our economic recovery, providing essential financial services to communities here in Southwest Michigan and across the country," Upton said. "As we remain focused on getting our nation back to work, these member-owned and controlled institutions are helping locally owned small businesses grow, invest, and create jobs in our area. I will continue to stand by our community credit unions and work to lift the credit union member business lending cap."

Miller (R-Harrison Township) also mentioned the important role that credit unions play for small businesses and the need to remove arbitrary regulatory and statutory roadblocks to serving members in all capacities, including business loans.

"Year after year, credit unions in Michigan and across the nation have led the way in providing high-quality, low-cost financial services to millions of credit union members, especially those in more remote locations which do not regularly receive adequate services from other financial entities," Miller said.

"It is clear how critical these nonprofit cooperatives are to so many--from families, to students seeking loans for education, to small businesses who are the drivers of our national economy. We will continue to work in Congress to ensure credit unions are able to thrive without undue regulatory burdens, and in an environment where they can continue to grow their member-lending services," Miller added

Huizenga (R-Zeeland) pointed out that he is a longtime member of a credit union and said credit unions are vital to the country's economy.

"As a longtime member of a credit union, I understand the vital role that credit unions play in the financial services industry in Michigan and across the country," Huizenga said. "As a federal legislator, I believe that Congress's role is to help create a regulatory atmosphere in the U.S. to foster economic growth. We need to ensure that credit unions continue to provide our constituents with the opportunity and ability to achieve the American Dream."

Rep. Conyers Joins the Growing Ranks On CUs' Tax Status

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LANSING, Mich. (8/28/13)--U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) became the 12th out of 16 members of Michigan's congressional delegation to offer a statement of support for credit unions' tax status, reported the Michigan Credit Union League Tuesday.
 
He joins a growing number of lawmakers across the nation who are voicing support for credit unions during the tax code reform before Congress. Credit unions have been working in the congressional districts to send a clear message: Don't Tax My Credit Union.
 
"Credit unions provide a sound, reliable financial home for millions of Michiganders seeking access to credit and a place to build their future," Conyers said in his statement (Michigan Monitor Aug. 27).

"In addition to serving traditional borrowers, credit unions have been particularly successful at reaching out to underbanked individuals who are not served by the traditional commercial banking industry," he said.  "In light of this track record of success, I strongly believe that current tax policies that have allowed credit unions to thrive should remain in place."
 
League CEO David Adams noted that Conyers "has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation for standing up for people of modest means, for the unbanked and the underbanked. Credit unions excel at serving individuals and households of all income levels.

'The importance of Mr. Conyers' statement of support is that he reminds the public that credit unions serve an important niche that needs to be protected. Preserving the credit union tax-exempt status is one important means toward that end," Adams said.
 
The Credit Union National Association and state leagues and associations are urging credit unions and their members to contact their congressional representatives to urge them to preserve the exemption on corporate income taxes and to take advantage of the congressional recess to contact members of Congress while they are in their home districts.  (See related News Now story, CUNA: 13 Days Left For In-District Tax Talks With Lawmakers.)
 
The www.Don'tTaxMyCU website has more information about the national campaign and offers a way to contact members of Congress. For more details, use the links

Haegelin To Receive Wegner Award For Lifetime Achievement

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MADISON, Wis. (8/28/13)--The National Credit Union Foundation Tuesday named Tim Haegelin, retired president/CEO of Generations FCU in San Antonio, Texas, as one of three recipients of the 2014 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement.
 
This is the first time in NCUF's history that three awards for Lifetime Achievement will be given.
 
"We received an unprecedented 17 candidates in the lifetime achievement category this year," said John Gregoire, chair of NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee and president of The ProCon Group in Madison, Wis.
 
Haegelin's award will be one of four Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented at a special dinner hosted by NCUF at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Feb. 24, which is Monday night of the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference. Online registration for dinner tickets will be available later this year on the NCUF website.
 
Haegelin is perhaps best known for his role in the establishment of Credit Unions For Kids, the program through which credit unions raise funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. It was so successful that the Credit Union For Kids model was launched on a nationwide level in 1996. Funds raised help support new facilities, equipment, research programs, patient services, special patient needs and health education programs benefiting 17 million children annually.
 
He joined Generations FCU (then San Antonio City Employees FCU) in 1980 as associate manager, taking the helm as president/CEO in 1984. During his leadership, Generations expanded from a credit union with one location, 14,000 members and $37 million in assets to fourteen locations, 49,000 members and more than $400 million in assets.
 
Haegelin leveraged partnerships to empower Generations FCU to open co-located branches with the City of San Antonio at the airport and with Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, and one of the area's largest retailers H-E-B Grocery Stores.
 
Haegelin oversaw the launch of a pilot program with the City of San Antonio Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program to offer a zero-interest, zero-fee alternative refund anticipation loan (RefundExpress) to ensure that the underserved and un-banked could keep their annual tax returns out of the hands of predatory lenders.
 
Haegelin also has worked to establish a partnership with Goodwill Industries of San Antonio to assist the un-banked and underserved. The partnership led Haegelin to oversee the development of Generations FCU's OptionCheck checking account and MoneyExpress loan, which are products and services designed to break the significant hold that payday lenders have. The partnership is considered a best practice and is currently being reviewed by Goodwill Industries nationwide.
 
Generations FCU established a full-time financial education program in 1996. Since its launch, the program has been recognized nearly every year locally, regionally and nationally for its significant impact on the community. For example, in 2012, Generations FCU was named as the State of Texas Desjardins Youth Financial Education award recipient. And in 2013, the program was the recipient of the Credit Union National Association National Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award.

VolCorp Elects Board

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (8/28/13)--Volunteer Corporate CU (VolCorp) held its annual meeting Aug. 22, in Franklin, Tenn., and elected its board of directors.

Elected officers are:
  • Chairman--Ken Swann, Memphis (Tenn.) City Employees CU;
  • Vice Chairman--Wade Stapleton, Lifeway CU, Nashville, Tenn.;
  • Secretary--Janice Jones, United Southeast FCU, Bristol, Tenn.; and
  • Treasurer--John Jacoway, Southeast Financial CU, Franklin, Tenn.
Chris Johnson, ORNL FCU, Oak Ridge, Tenn., is newly elected to the board and will serve a three-year term.

Re-elected to three-year terms were Bonnie Sensing, Nashville (Tenn.) Firemen's CU, and John Jacoway, Southeast Financial CU, Franklin, Tenn.

Other board members include Tom Brewer, Peoples FCU, Nitro, W.Va.; Todd Swims, Leaders CU, Jackson, Tenn.; and Rick Mikels, ETMA, Louisville, Tenn.

Illinois Foundation's Second Round Of Grants Totals $23,325

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (8/28/13)--The Illinois Credit Union Foundation recently awarded $23,325 in grants for Small Credit Union Development (SCUD), Community Service, Marketing and Business Development, and Financial Independence & Revitalization Effort (FIRE) grants, bringing the total awarded for the year to more than $75,200.

SCUD grants totaled $6,825 and were awarded to six credit unions. Purposes for the SCUD grants included computer hardware and software, equipment and upgrades, and other operational needs. The recipients were:
  • Alton Bell Community CU, Alton;
  • Gideon FCU, Waukegan;
  • IRSE CU, Springfield;
  • Taylorville (Ill.) School Employees CU;
  • Tazewell County Government Employees CU, Pekin; and
  • Waukegan (Ill.) Municipal Employees CU.
The foundation also awarded one $500 Community Service grant. Credit unions and chapters can qualify for grants by hosting, creating or volunteering at an established event. Landmark CU, Danville, will use its grant to initiate a backpack program.

Three credit unions received Marketing and Business Development grants that totaled $8,500. The recipients were:
  • Bensenville (Ill.) Community CU;
  • Sangamo Chapter CU, Springfield; and
  • Utility Employees CU, Decatur.
Established in 2006, the grants help credit unions with assets of up to $30 million to start or expand outreach efforts. The maximum grant award is $5,000 per credit union per year. Grants have financed website upgrades, new services and brand development.

Community Plus FCU, Rantoul, was a recipient of a FIRE grant. The FIRE Program provides assistance to credit unions so they can provide credit and financial services to residents and businesses in low-income and underserved areas of Illinois.

The credit union will use its grant to investigate leveraging a community development financial institutions award to potentially introduce a non-predatory auto loan alternative program in the community.

CUs, Banks Take Over Gas Pumps To Urge Local Banking

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AUSTIN, Texas (8/28/13)--Credit unions are always on the alert for ways to help their communities. Today and Thursday they will team up with community banks nationwide to pump $150,000 in free gas to raise awareness about how they fuel local economies, and also to encourage consumers to transfer their accounts from megabanks. 
 
Nearly 40 credit unions and community banks across the country will take over gas stations as part of the Take Back Your Banking initiative.

In partnership with Kasasa.com, a resource for free checking accounts with rewards at credit unions and community banks, the community financial institutions will showcase the benefits they offer consumers, including free reward-checking, superior member/customer service and nationwide ATM fee refunds with no minimum balance requirements to earn rewards or maintain accounts.

The Take Back Your Banking event will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. local time each day.
 
 Today's event will be in:
  • Dallas;
  • Atlanta;
  • Baltimore;
  • St. Louis;
  • La Crosse, Wis.;
  • Wellesley, Mass.;
  • Marietta, Ga.;
  • Glendale, Ariz.;
  • Worthington, Ohio;
  • Yarmouth, Maine;
  • Shreveport, La.;
  • Altoona, Pa.;
  • Mason, Mich.;
  • Greenville, S.C.;
  • Hackettstown, N.J.;
  • Kennett, Mo.;
  • Mankato, Minn.;
  • Evanston, Wyo.;
  • Mineola, Texas; and
  • Auburn, Hills, Mich.
Thursday's events will be in:
  • St. Paul, Minn.;
  • Portland, Ore.;
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.;
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa;
  • Baton Rouge, La.;
  • Worcester, Mass.;
  • Middletown, Conn.;
  • Suffolk, Va.;
  • Teays Valley, W.Va.;
  • Biddeford, Maine;
  • Warner Robins, Ga.;
  • Lubbock, Texas;
  • Benton, Ky.;
  • Colchester, Vt.;
  • Hiram, Ga.;
  • Green River, Wyo.;
  • Rock Springs, Wyo.; and
  • Quitman, Texas.

Federation Fellows Training To Aid CDCUs

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NEW YORK (8/28/13)--
Click to view larger image Participants in the National Federation of Community Develop Credit Unions' Cooperative Finance Leaders of America pilot training included: From left, front row:  Hudson Presume, Manatee Community FCU; Preeya Saikia, Fidelis FCU; Rachel Barker, Holy Rosary CU; Phelicity Thompson, Northwest Baptist FCU; Lila Phimmasone, Genesee Co-op FCU; Monique Dunbar, Credit Union of Atlanta; Eileen Auld, Citi Community Development; and Pamela Owens of the federation.  Back row: Greg Schiefelbein, City Community Development; Ash Extanus, ERDA FCU;  Lauren Hudson, Bethex FCU; Josh Mendonca, Appalachian Community FCU; Jason Change of the federation; Ashish Verma, Cooperative FCU; and Alex Bibb, Marisol FCU. (Photo provided by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions)
The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions kicked off its Cooperative Finance Leaders of America (CFLA) pilot this month, with 11 fellows visiting the federation's New York City headquarters for a week of training.
 
CFLA is an initiative to recruit, train and support new and emerging professionals to be placed in leadership positions in credit unions that provide credit and safe banking services to low- and moderate-income communities.
 
The fellows are placed with federation member credit unions to promote and grow the future leaders of the credit union movement, said the federation (CDCU News Briefs August). A major focus for many in the group will be to expand community outreach to attract more and younger members.
 
Pamela Owens, vice president of programs at the federation, designed the curriculum, working with Kevin McQueen and Charles Allison, professors at the New School's Milano School of Public Policy and the Community Development Finance Lab.
 
Training topics included risk management and internal controls to loan origination and underwriting, marketing and branding.
 
"The fellows spent a week immersed in every aspect of managing and growing a credit union and learning about the financial needs and pressures of low-income individuals," said Owens.

"The goal of CFLA is to develop leaders who will go on to create community finance solutions that are relevant to all members of the community, including young members. This is vital to the continued growth of the credit union movement, because awareness of credit unions among Millennials is so low," she said.

Sackett To Provide Volunteer Viewpoint At CUNA Board Meetings

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MADISON, Wis. (8/28/13)--John Sackett, chairman of the Credit Union National Association's Volunteer Leadership Committee, will participate in and bring the volunteer viewpoint to future CUNA Board meetings, CUNA announced Monday.

The move will ensure the volunteer viewpoint  is heard at the system's highest levels, CUNA said.

Sackett, treasurer of Royal CU in Eau Claire, Wis., will attend his first CUNA Board meeting in mid-September.

"Credit union volunteers play a critical goal in the success of the credit union system, and we must continue to find new ways to get them more engaged with CUNA," said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. "We are grateful to have the benefit of Mr. Sackett's views, and I look forward to his participation in our meetings."

Sackett has been a member of RCU for more than 25 years and served 17 of those years as chairman. He was appointed chairman of the Volunteer Leadership Committee in January 2011. The CUNA Board created the committee to support volunteers and further increase their participation in CUNA.  The committee also is a strategic leadership resource for CUNA, providing staff with advice and guidance for enhanced volunteer-centered initiatives.

"We all know the incredible contributions that volunteers have made to the success of the movement--and how critical they are for our future," said CUNA Chairman Pat Wesenberg, who is also president/CEO of Central City CU, Marshfield, Wis.

"With the many challenges before credit unions today--particularly in reducing the regulatory burden, addressing the issues of small credit unions and preserving our tax exemption--this added voice to our board deliberations is most welcome," Wesenberg added.

Cornerstone Foundation Awarded $25,700 In 3Q Grants

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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (8/28/13)--The Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation awarded $25,700 in grants during third quarter of 2013 in its mission to empower people to improve their financial well-being.  So far this year, it has awarded $141,068 in general grants and $14,750 in financial literacy grants.
 
The grants for third quarter include 11 general grants and three financial literacy grants (Leaguer Aug. 27).  Consumer CU Counseling Services (CCCS) of Greater San Antonio and RAISE Texas are among the recipients.
 
CCCS of Greater San Antonio is collaborating with several area credit unions--Firstmark CU, Generations FCU, Randolph-Brooks FCU, River City FCU, Security Service FCU and San  Antonio CU--to improve the financial well-being of low- and moderate-income families in that city.
 
CCCS and the credit unions will provide consumers with an action plan, guidance and support as they work toward financial goals such as reducing debt, improving credit, buying a home, creating a workable budget, saving money and improving their overall financial well-being.
 
The program will provide individual financial counseling in person, over the phone or through the Internet. Consumers choose a package with a predetermined number of sessions or receive month-by-month coaching. Depending on their needs, they can choose from:
  • Basic Financial Coaching;
  • Pre-purchase Housing Coaching;
  • Credit Analysis Coaching;
  • Debt Repayment Coaching; or
  • Life After Bankruptcy Coaching.
Families also will be required to attend group classes and webinars covering topics such as building a strong credit report, money management 101 and money management beyond the basics.
 
RAISE Texas' grant will fund expenses for its Asset Building Community Leadership Team Training and Planning Session in November, where asset building community leaders from diverse geographical areas will discuss and research asset building activities in communities across Texas, and discuss innovative grants and pilot projects through Opportunity Texas.
 
The training will benefit credit unions in two ways: By providing information the asset building leaders will take back to their credit union communities and by offering projects where credit unions play a key role in expanding these efforts and partnering with RAISE Texas and Opportunity Texas groups.
 
RAISE Texas is a network of non-profit organizations and institutions working to support and expand asset-building activities such as individual development accounts, free tax preparation and earned income tax credit sites, children's savings accounts, broad-based community financial education and developing alternative financial products.
 
Other third quarter grants from the foundation included three Junior Achievement grants, one chapter grant, and six training and conference scholarships for credit union staff and volunteers.
 
Such outreach projects help raise awareness of the value of credit unions to the community and to the member. Raising awareness is one of the components of the Credit Union National Association's and state leagues' Unite for Good campaign, which is working toward a strategic vision where Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution.