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MSN Money cites CUs for auto financing

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NEW YORK (8/9/10)--Exempting car dealerships from the new consumer financial protection bureau amounts to painting a big red target on consumers' backs, but consumers can take four steps to protect their wallets, said MSN Money columnist Liz Pulliam Weston in her "Money Central" column Thursday. Credit unions figure prominently among the four steps. Pulliam Weston outlaws the tricks that dealers can pull on consumers. They include:
* Marking up the interest rate; * Larding the contract with junk fees; * Talking consumers into a more expensive car than they can afford; * Baiting and switching; and * Playing yo-yo with the contract (calling after the consumer takes possession of the new car and changing the loan terms).
"Because the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection won't have your back, you'll need to approach the car-buying transaction as the minefield that it is," Pulliam Weston wrote. The best approach, she said, includes applying for financing from a credit union or a community bank. "Don't walk onto a car lot until you have a loan approval in hand. You might want to start with your local credit union, because it's member-owned and tends to charge lower rates and fees." The other steps include pulling credit reports and checking FICO fees, setting limits on one's borrowing and saying no to the yo-yo. For the full article, use the link.

Self-Help is first CDFI Loan Fund member at Atlanta Fed

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ATLANTA (8/9/10)--Self-Help Ventures Fund, a financing affiliate of the Center for Community Self-Help, is the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta's first Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) loan fund member and the first CDFI-affiliated organization to join a federal home loan bank, the bank announced Thursday. The Center for Community Self-Help, based in Durham, N.C., works closely with its financing affiliations, Self-Help CU and Self-Help FCU, to provide financing, technical support, consumer financial services, and advocacy for economically disadvantaged individuals. In January, the Federal Housing Finance Agency implemented provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that permitted qualifying CDFIs to become members of a federal home loan bank. CDFIs include community development credit unions. Since January, FHLBank Atlanta has worked closely with Self-Help's leadership to bring its fund through the membership process, the bank said. "We have worked for 10 years to make this partnership possible, and together with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, we believe we can provide the financing that will enable thousands of well-qualified homeowners to buy their first homes," said Martin D. Eakes, CEO of the Center for Community Self-Help.

Missouri lawmakers make time for CUs

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ST. LOUIS (8/9/10)--Statewide in-district meetings with federal lawmakers representing Missouri began last week, and at least one congressman made time for credit unions during his appearance at the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) Conference in St. Louis Wednesday-Saturday. U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who was keynote speaker at the AACUC conference, met with Missouri credit union representatives for an in-district meeting before his speech. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee. More than a dozen representatives from seven credit unions took part, said the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) (The Missouri difference Aug. 6).
Click to view larger image Meeting with U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, seated, center (D-Mo.), are, from left: row one, Sharon Ichord, Mid Missouri CU, and Donna Weston, Bothwell Hospital Employees CU. Row two, Peggy Nalls and Amy McLard of Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA), and Karen Jurgensmeyer, Kilowatt Community CU. Row three, Rick Nichols, River Region CU; Pat Yokley, CommunityAmerica CU; Hal James, Missouri CU; Bill Mustain, Employment Security CU; and Tammy Parks, MCUA. (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association)
The in-district meetings across the state began Aug. 2 when Missouri credit unions hosted U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) at the Missouri Credit Union House in Jefferson City (The Missouri difference Aug. 4). Ten Missouri representatives discussed expanding credit union member business lending, debit card interchange fees and the impact of the Frank-Dodd Financial Reform Act on credit unions, and the need for overdraft protection for consumers during their meeting with Skelton. Attendees told Skelton that regulatory burden for credit unions of all sizes has grown increasingly difficult. The meeting included credit unions ranging in size from 900 members to 200,000 members. "I am concerned that efforts aimed at the bad players are hurting credit unions and community banks," Skelton said. He also shared his perspectives for the rest of the session. "I believe we are going to be focused on job creation and employment issues," he told the group. MCUA is working to reschedule a meeting with U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), whose Aug. 10 meeting with credit union representatives was cancelled when House leadership called a special session. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the House back into session to address a $26 billion jobs measure (The Missouri difference Aug. 6).

New group assists women CU leaders

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ST. LOUIS (8/9/10)--A new group, the Women’s Association of Credit Union Leaders (WACUL), will give women credit union leaders a forum for development, networking and professional recognition. WACUL was created by Lisa Ginter, chief operating officer, CommunityAmerica CU, Kansas City; and Glenna Osborn, president of Missouri Central CU, Lee’s Summit, said the Missouri Credit Union Association (The Missouri difference Aug. 6). The group will host events throughout the year for members. The next meeting, “Gaining Strategic Perspective,” will be Aug. 19 in Kansas City, Mo. The meetings are two hours and will occur four to six times per year. Participants will learn to lead more effectively in their current roles and be prepared to take on more responsibility in the future. “I believe women are an important ingredient to any successful business, and credit unions have always been very good to women by providing great opportunities,” Ginter said. “WACUL is designed to provide female credit union leaders with educational programming, equip them to become better leaders and enhance leadership opportunities in our industry.” “There are a number of networking groups made up of women from varied backgrounds, but ours specializes in the credit union industry,” Osborn said. “I want to see women in credit unions become more successful, but more importantly, I want to see credit unions of all sizes be successful.” For more information, use the link.

NCBA blogs on CUNAverse about Mozambique co-ops

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MADISON, Wis. (8/9/10)--Andrew McLeod, communications specialist at the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), is guest-blogging on CUNAverse about co-operatives in Mozambique. McLeod will travel to Mozambique and look at NCBA’s work in the country, which is carried out through the Cooperative League of the United States of America (CLUSA) International program. The program has helped develop co-ps in more than 50 countries, with a concentration in Africa. Mozambique has nine projects. The nation is one of the world’s poorest countries and has a population of 23 million. The projects range from helping to launch farmer associations and training farmers to increase production, to creating export opportunities through fair trade and food quality testing. The program also has improved the overall framework for co-ops by mentoring a national co-op association, the Mozambican Association for the Promotion of Modern Cooperatives, McLeod noted in his first blog. McLeod’s blogs also will be the foundation for an article in the next issue of the Cooperative Business Journal, set for release in September. CUNAverse is the official blog of the Credit Union National Association.

NYIB wins 2011 Wegner Award for outstanding organization

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WASHINGTON (8/9/10)--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has recognized the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) as the winner of the 2011 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Organization. This will be one of three awards presented at the 23rd Annual Herb Wegner Awards Dinner hosted by the NCUF at the Credit Union National Association’s 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference. The conference will be held Feb. 27-March 2.Online registration for dinner tickets will be available later this year on NCUF’s website. NYIB is led by a seven-member, volunteer executive committee elected by credit union league designated delegates chosen from the network. Committee members serves as their region’s contact to uphold and encourage activity in classrooms and communities. NYIB’s mission was to build a grassroots network of credit union advocates concerned about the perception and acceptance of credit unions among younger generations. This led to a more concrete goal: Reduce the average age of credit union members and increase membership under age 18. So far, 2.5 million young people have been reached through the classroom. NYIB’s annual conference draws about 125 participants to explore current challenges and techniques with credit union peers. A listserv for exchanging ideas has as many as 470 subscribers annually. That number closely matches the average annual number of credit union educators in classrooms each of the past five years. NYIB tracks credit union in-classroom financial education online through its website, www.nyib.org, which has a data collection feature. Credit unions nationwide average an annual growth of more than 12% in students reached and a 16% increase in presentations made in the classroom. NYIB said it expects to reach 400,000 students between 2009 and 2010. NYIB partners include:
* Junior Achievement (JA). Speakers from JA Worldwide and area chapters have been featured at NYIB Annual Conferences, and network members rely on JA where classroom support and materials are limited; * National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). The comprehensive materials in NEFE’s High School Financial Planning Program brought NYIB network members and other credit unions together with Cooperative Extension Service agents; * Jump$tart Coalitions. Locally, many NYIB members carry their cooperative perspective into their state coalitions, holding seats on state boards and working to provide conference speakers, breakout sessions, and teacher workshops; and * Biz Kid$. The companion curriculum for each episode of this PBS series for youth on financial responsibility and entrepreneurship is a presentation data option for NYIB members to use.
The awards are named in honor of the late Credit Union National Association CEO Herb Wegner.

Maine mid-year stats reveal CUs growth

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WESTBROOK, Maine (8/9/10)--Assets, shares, loans and membership all increased at Maine credit unions, according to mid-year statistics of the state’s 66 credit unions, said the Maine Credit Union League. From Jan. 1 to June 30, assets rose by 3% or nearly $153 million, and loans increased by 1% or $21.5 million, while the trend of share growth rose 3% with $145 million in new deposits, said Maine’s Weekly Update (Aug. 6). Membership grew 1% with a net increase of roughly 4,000 members since the start of the year. “These numbers indicate that even in the initial stages of recovery, more Maine consumers are building and strengthening relationships with credit unions,” said league President John Murphy.

Flag flown in Iraq now flies at CUNA Mutual

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MADISON, Wis. (8/9/10)--Lt. Col. Thomas Heyden’s gift to company leaders became a tribute to past and present CUNA Mutual Group employees serving in the military during a flag-raising ceremony this week on CUNA Mutual's Credit Union Center Campus, Madison, Wis.
Click to view larger image CUNA Mutual Group Chief Operating Officer Bob Trunzo, right, hands a flag flown in Tallil, Iraq, to Army Master Sgt. Philip Peters and Maj. Josephine Daniels of the University of Wisconsin-Madison ROTC Badger Battalion to fly at CUNA Mutual in honor of past and current employees serving in the military. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
Heyden, a CUNA Mutual employee and Army Reservist serving in Iraq as a senior combat advisor to the Iraqi Army, sent a U.S. flag that had flown at Camp Adder in Iraq on June 12, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In recognition of service by Heyden and others, the flag was raised at the company’s Madison headquarters. Heyden is a senior sales executive for CUNA Mutual who works out of Winston-Salem, N.C. He is serving in Tallil, Iraq, and will complete his 400-day deployment in December. Members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison ROTC Badger Battalion raised the flag, which was presented by Bob Trunzo, executive vice president and chief operating officer, CUNA Mutual. "It’s an honor and privilege to display this flag on the CUNA Mutual campus,” Trunzo told a small gathering at the ceremony. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Lt. Col. Heyden and many others at CUNA Mutual, past and present, who have made tremendous sacrifices in order to preserve our many freedoms.” CUNA Mutual has 111 current employees who are reservists or retired military. At home, Heyden is an active runner who competes in triathlons, adventure races and marathons. He has put that athletic competitiveness to good use in his support of credit unions. He is a founding member of “Team Little Guy,” a group of credit union runners and cyclists who raise money for charitable causes in North and South Carolina for the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation.