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CU System Briefs (08/09/2013)

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  • SALT LAKE VALLEY, Utah (8/9/13)--"If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it must be a" has taken on a new meaning at a credit union in Salt Lake Valley, Utah. The credit union was a top story for Wednesday after a pair of ducks arrived at the credit union and made a deposit: eight eggs in a nest in the reeds by the credit union's entrance.They have been in residence for almost a month--roughly the length of time it takes eggs to hatch. The papa duck patrols the sidewalk by the front door, while the mama duck nests. Credit union manager Chelsey Watson said the ducks are like neighborhood pets. Staff meet the fowls' needs by providing cereal on the sidewalk and water. The station would not divulge the name of the credit union--to avoid crowds that might scare them away. Animal control told the credit union not to relocate the ducks. Watch the video report ...
  • MONROE, Mich. (8/9/10)--Thieves with ATM skimmers have targeted financial institutions throughout Southeast Michigan, says the Monroe, Mich., police department ( Aug. 7). The latest skimming device, which is hidden on an ATM and records personal identification numbers as the victim types in the numbers on the ATM's keypad when using a credit or debit card, was discovered at an ATM located at Monroe-based Monroe County Community CU. Police are investigating whether any consumers' numbers were stolen or accounts compromised ...
  • MOUNT VERNON, Ill. (8/9/13)--An Illinois man accused of robbing a credit union and a bank last year in Mount Vernon, Ill., has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the bank robbery in a plea bargain. Jeffrey Wilson, 42, of Waltonville, pleaded guilty to the first-degree robbery of Community First Bank of the Heartland in Woodlawn. Prosecutors dropped three other robbery counts, including a December robbery of Jefferson County Schools CU in Mount Vernon. Wilson's wife, Jessica, 30, is charged with the credit union robbery, and a third person, Ann Ramsey of Waltonville, already is serving an eight-year sentence for that holdup (Associated Press Newswires Aug. 8) ...

CUs, Leagues Keep Up Tax Status Efforts In Districts

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MADISON, Wis. (8/9/13)--Four more endorsements for credit unions' tax-exempt status among Michigan's members of Congress, a new brochure with 32 Texas members of Congress and top state officials' expressing their specific support of credit unions' status, meetings with congressmen in Pennsylvania, and credit unions' continued determination to deliver the Don't Tax My Credit Union message are among the results of individual efforts back in the congressional districts.

The Cornerstone Credit Union League Thursday sent Texas credit unions an updated tax brochure outlining members of Congress who support credit unions and their tax exemption (Leaguer Aug. 8). In addition to Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who both state their support of credit unions' tax exempt status, the brochure includes 38 members of Congress and the Senate who state their support of credit unions. Of the 38 listed, 32 specifically state their support of the tax exemption. (Use the link to access the brochure).
Pennsylvania credit unions expressed concern about tax code reform and other issues with U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) in a meeting at his district office Wednesday. From left:  Rep. Pitts; Nate Muniz and Barb Bowker of PSECU, Harrisburg; Abby Kiebach, Lancaster (Pa.) Red Rose CU; and Tim Morris, Citadel FCU, Exton. Also attending was Pennsylvania Credit Union Association Vice President of Governmental Affairs Christina Mihalik. (Photo provided by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association)
In the brochure, U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-3) , a credit union member, stated, "I will, as a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, continue to fight for economic policies that promote freedom and free enterprise and stand up against new taxes that punish growth, prosperity and savings."
And Jeb Hensarling (R-5) said, "I will continue to fight against imposing new regulatory and tax burdens on the financial institutions that are working to spur economic growth by effectively meeting the financial needs of their communities. I believe it is critical that we keep credit unions lending in this challenging period in our nation's economic history."
Rep. Al Green (D-9), ranking member of the Financial Services subcommittee on oversight and investigations, noted, "While we must exercise fiscal responsibility in Congress, changing the historical tax-exempt status of credit unions could potentially hurt many low-income communities' access to financial services. I will continue to support our credit unions and the vital role they play in communities across our nation."
Click to view larger image Associates of Aventa CU, Colorado Springs, Colo., unite on casual Fridays to promote "Don't Tax My Credit Union," the national campaign working to make sure Congress doesn't take away the credit union tax-exempt status during its tax code reform. (Photo provided by Aventa CU).
In Michigan, U.S. Reps. John Dingell (D), Tim Walberg (R) and Kerry Bentivolio (R)  and  U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) weighed in with statements of their support for credit unions' tax exemption, said the Michigan Credit Union League.  They join Democrats Sander Levin, Gary Peters and Dan Kildee and Republican Mike Rogers who already issued statements supporting the tax exemption.
Dingell, the longest-tenured member of Congress in history, said, "Credit unions help thousands of people in my district save responsibly and are an invaluable source of private credit. So long as they stick to their mission of serving their members, I will continue to support their tax-exempt status."  A spokesman for Walberg told the league, "Rep. Walberg strongly supports maintaining the exemption."
In Pennsylvania, credit union leaders met Wednesday with U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts (R) at his Lancaster district office to discuss and share their concerns about tax code reform, regulatory burdens and the effects they have on credit unions and consumers (Life is a Highway Aug. 8). The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, represented at the meeting by Vice President Governmental Affairs Christina Mihalik, said Pitts was sympathetic to over-regulation and the challenges faced by credit unions and other industries.
Credit unions attending included Lancaster (Pa.) Red Rose CU; PSECU, Harrisburg; and Citadel FCU, Exton. The meeting marked the first of several district meetings and conference calls with Pennsylvania's congressional delegation during the summer recess.
And credit unions across the nation, like Aventa CU in Colorado Springs, Colo., were wearing Don't Tax My Credit Union t-shirts and urging their members to send letters to their congressional representatives using the Credit Union National Association's website.
Membership awareness events at the $152 million asset credit union during July and August include lobby events, statement inserts, website content, casual Friday awareness days, handouts and more.
"We feel it is important to rally our membership in support of 'Don't Tax My Credit Union,'" said Karin Kovalovsky, director of marketing and corporate communications.  "As the owners of Aventa CU, they need to recognize the importance of our tax-exempt status. By creating awareness about this issue among our membership, we hope that they will unite to send a clear message to Congress."

MWCUF, CUs Raise $24K For Scholarships

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DENVER (8/9/13)--The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation held its second annual charity golf tournament, in partnership with the Denver Area Chapter of Credit Unions, July 24 in Englewood, Colo.
Click to view larger imageJacob Helleckson, Brayman Beach Scholarship recipient, right, and Carroll Beach, retired CEO, SunCorp CU in Westminster, Colo., took part in the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation's second annual charity golf tournament. It was held in partnership with the Denver Area Chapter of Credit Unions, July 24 in Englewood, Colo.  (Photo provided by the Mountain West Credit Union Association)
The event raised more than $24,000 to support the foundation's leadership development and educational scholarship programs, a 140% increase in funds raised from the previous year's event.
Nearly 40 organizations within the credit union community were represented from across Mountain West Credit Union Association's (MWCUA) tri-state area of Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. The event sold out with 144 participants.
Also attending was the foundation's 2013 Brayman-Beach Scholarship recipient, Jacob Helleckson, a senior at Paonia High School who will attend the University of Colorado Boulder this fall. 
The event was made possible by a volunteer host committee comprised of credit union professionals from:
  • Arizona Central CU, Phoenix;
  • Columbine FCU, Littleton, Colo.;
  • Denver Community FCU;
  • Premier Members FCU, Boulder, Colo.;
  • Security Service FCU, Denver, Pueblo, Fort Carson, Colorado Springs (branches of San Antonio, Texas);
  • Sooper CU, Denver; and
  • MWCUA.

SECU, Durham Ink Pledge To Rehabilitate Foreclosed Properties

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RALEIGH, N.C. (8/9/13)--
Click to view larger image Inking a Pledge of Support to rehabilitate foreclosed properties in distressed neighborhoods and revitalize the local community are, from left:  Warren Peacock, senior vice president of the Durham Duke Street Branch of Raleigh, N.C.-based State Employees' CU;  David King, SECU Board member; Rick Hester of the City of Durham Neighborhood Improvement Services; and Sam Adams, SECU senior vice president-SECU*RE. (Photo provided by State Employees' CU)
State Employees' CU and the city of Durham, N.C., have signed a Pledge of Support aimed at rehabilitating foreclosed properties in distressed neighborhoods while working to revitalize the local community.
The pledge's goal is to develop and implement a cooperative model between the credit union as a lender and North Carolina communities, and set a new standard in responsible stewardship of lender-acquired properties, said the Raleigh, N.C.-based SECU.
SECU is setting its new standard through its new property management subsidiary, SECU*Real Estate (SECU*RE).
In Durham's low-wealth communities, the nearly $26 billion asset credit union noted, foreclosures, abandoned properties and absentee landlords have led to declined safety, increased crime and lower property values. Combined, these translate into a breakdown in economic growth and social equity, said SECU.  SECU hopes to work cooperatively with the city, its residents and other stakeholders to rehabilitate a local area.
Sam Adams, SECU's senior vice president of SECU*RE, is working with community partners to renovate several SECU-acquired properties in one Durham community. The internal and external home improvements meet and in some cases exceed the building requirements, helping to create a safe and inviting neighborhood for area renters and homeowners, said SECU. The upfit also provides more energy-efficient housing for residents.
"There is a critical need to reinvest in our neighborhoods and be part of the solution for North Carolina communities, said SECU Board member David King. "With the support of the City of Durham and other community groups, we will make a difference for the citizens of this area and use this partnership model to positively impact other neighborhoods across the state."
Raising awareness of credit unions' work and value they provide not only their members but their community is one of three legs of the Unite for Good campaign of the Credit Union National Association and the state credit union leagues and associations. The campaign aims to reach the strategic vision in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partners." For more information, use the link.

Filene Examines CU Loyalty Among Young Adults

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MADISON, Wis. (8/9/13)--Creating loyalty among the 18- to 34-year-old demographic remains a challenge for credit unions, but credit unions that meet the challenge will be rewarded with long-time, productive members, according to a new Filene Research Institute report.
To measure member loyalty, "Next Generation Needs: Examining Credit Union Loyalty Among Young Adults," uses Net Promoter Score (NPS) feedback from 19 credit unions, ranging in size from $100 million to $10 billion in assets. It splits adult members into three age groups: 18- to 34-year-olds, 35- to 54-year-olds, and 55-plus. Young adult NPS scores were the lowest of the three groups.
Analysis of young adults' qualitative feedback and scores from credit unions that achieved high NPS scores with 18- to 34-year-olds turned up three priorities:
  • Service and respect. Members feel that high-quality service and support are important and agree that their credit unions do a good job of providing it. About 40% of Promoters (those most likely to recommend their credit union) from both top- and bottom-performing credit unions used the word "service" when asked the primary reason for their "likelihood to recommend" rating.
  • Easy and convenient. Younger members don't want to expend much effort to bank with their credit union. The keyword "easy" showed up twice as often among top-performing credit unions as among bottom-performing credit unions.
  • Assistance in understanding personal finance. The most common request regarding financial capability is how to establish solid credit. Some of the most passionate comments came from members who built their credit and finally got a credit union loan for their dream car or first home.
Among respondents who feel ease of doing business is important, online and electronic services are key factors, the report said. The top-performing credit unions scored well on reliability and usability. Their systems are easy to use and work as advertised. But even members at these credit unions have wish lists. They want mobile check deposit, external account transfers, online account opening, instant withdrawal of bill payments, check image viewing, pending transaction viewing and budgeting tools.
Branches still matter to young adults, the report said. They use them just as often as their older peers, and additional branch location requests were common among both top and bottom performers. Easy access to funds is another top priority and one of the main perceived differences between national banks and credit unions. Educating members about mobile apps to quickly find surcharge-free ATMs is one way to combat the perception of inconvenient access to their money.

Sales Culture Recipe Outlined In OpSS Council Paper

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MADISON, Wis. (8/9/13)--A growing number of credit unions are integrating a sales culture where members achieve their financial goals in lockstep with the credit union philosophy, according to a new white paper from the CUNA Operations Sales and Services Councils.
"Recipes for a Sales Culture: How Credit Unions Blend Sales and Service" presents a variety of examples of how credit unions structure their frontline sales and service operations, implement incentive pay and other rewards and recognition programs, and identify sales goals and metrics.
The paper draws three conclusions for credit unions that seek to employ a sales-as-service culture:
  • Credit unions must maintain their commitment to extraordinary service as they develop their sales cultures. "You won't have sales if you don't have good service--or the volume will be short-lived," said Nicol Morris, chief operating officer at Charlotte (N.C.) Metro CU.
  • Members' needs must drive sales. "Sales and service are about defining the type of interactions you're going to have with your members and what type of outcomes you're looking for--managing the relationship versus approaching member interactions as an order taker," said Carla Schrinner, implementation manager and senior master trainer of CUNA Creating Member Loyalty. "It's about understanding what members need--and a need is not a product. Members don't come in for a loan. They come to you because they need to borrow money to buy something. What is that something? How important is that something to them? And how can the credit union help them meet that need?"
  • An effective sales culture requires all hands on deck--at all levels of the organization and from all departments. To develop a sales culture that is consistent with the "people helping people" mantra, credit unions need to explore all aspects of their organization and nurture their ability to support sales from the back office to the frontlines before launching into a sales culture, the paper said.
To download the white paper, use the link.

La. League Inducts Nine Hall Of Famers, Announces Awards

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HARAHAN, La. (8/9/13)--The Louisiana Credit Union League inducted nine individuals into its Hall of Fame at its annual meeting and convention. The league also recognized three credit unions for their community involvement and financial literacy efforts (eNews Aug. 7).
Hall of Fame inductees included:
  • Virgil Barnette, Barksdale FCU, Bossier City;
  • Glen Beard, Alexandria (La.) Municipal Employees CU;
  • Chuck Harrington, former National Credit Union Administration examiner;
  • Bodin Hugger, Louisiana FCU, LaPlace;
  • Marah Nell Jones, Bogalusa (La.) Schools FCU;
  • Hugh V. McCarty, Jr., Heart of Louisiana CU, Pineville;
  • Linda Saucier, Heart of Louisiana CU, Pineville;
  • Terry Roy, Lafayette Schools FCU; and
  • Graydon Walker, Neighbors FCU, Baton Rouge.
Credit community involvement and financial literacy award first-place winners included:
  • Lafayette (La.) Schools FCU--Desjardin Youth Financial Literacy Award;
  • Jefferson Parish Employees FCU, Harahan--Desjardin Adult Financial Literacy Award;
  • Lafayette Schools FCU--Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action; and
  • Pelican State CU, Baton Rouge--Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award.
Winners of these state-level awards go to the national awards competition sponsored by the Credit Union National Association.

NCUA Asks Appeals Court To Expedite Review Of Barclays Ruling

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DENVER (8/9/13)--The National Credit Union Administration has filed a motion requesting that the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals expedite its review of a Kansas federal court's ruling dismissing $550 million in claims against Barclays Capital for losses stemming from residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) sold to corporate credit unions.
The motion was filed July 31. It concerns a July ruling by U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum in Wichita, Kan., who dismissed the agency's claims on the grounds they were time-barred and NCUA hadn't filed the case in time.
"The district court's judgment rests on its legal conclusion that...Barclays...could argue that NCUA's actions were untimely despite having entered into a tolling agreement in which they promised not to do so--an agreement into which Barclays freely entered during settlement negotiations in which it was assisted by sophisticated counsel," said NCUA's motion, noting that the conclusion resulted in the dismissal of NCUA's entire case against Barclays.
A tolling agreement allows more time in which to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations time expires.
"The district court's ruling also dramatically affects four related actions pending before the same district judge," NCUA said in the motion. "Just as Barclays has done, those defendants had negotiated and signed tolling agreements with NCUA during settlement talks, but have now disavowed those agreements."
The four cases, including the Barclays suit, involve more than $l7.8 billion in RMBS purchased by U.S. Central FCU and Western Corporate FCU, which no longer exist, said the document. "The district court's rulings as to the tolling agreements will likely lead to the dismissal of more than $5.2 billion of those total purchases," NCUA said.  "Because the district court's ruling affects such a large proportion of NCUA's claims, it will disrupt and delay discovery in the remaining four cases." An expedited review will permit the entire litigation to proceed more efficiently, NCUA said.
NCUA filed the lawsuit against Barclays, as well as several other lawsuits against other brokerage firms, as the liquidating agent for the corporates. Its lawsuits claim that the brokers' offering documents for the RMBS had material misrepresentations about the underlying loans that backed the securities.
On Aug. 1, the appellate court issued an order for Barclays to file its response to NCUA's motion on or before Aug. 15.

International Leaders Program Seeks U.S. Interns To Brazil

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MADISON, Wis. (8/9/13)--The World Council of Credit Unions is seeking U.S. credit union professionals to apply for a two-week credit union internship, Jan. 12-25, in Brazil, through its International Credit Union Leadership Program.

Click to view larger image A group of U.S. participants visit the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica as part of their internships through the International Credit Union Leadership Program in June.  (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
A committee will select 12 candidates to participate in the scholarship program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and covers all expenses but airfare. The application deadline is Sept. 27.

"The International Credit Union Leadership Program gives credit union leaders in the U.S. a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience from Brazil's credit union system," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO.

"The country is globally recognized for successfully consolidating and fully integrating its credit union system. Interns will learn how Brazil's credit unions reach underserved populations and support their communities through member education and special projects. They will also gain an appreciation for cooperative collaboration that they can apply back home," Branch said.

The program is designed to facilitate idea exchanges, expose participants to cultural diversity and improve problem-solving skills in the credit union industry. Participating U.S. credit union leaders learn firsthand about methods to better serve an increasingly diverse membership, including youth, businesses and low-income members.

In a two-way exchange, credit union professionals from Brazil also can intern in the U.S. Twelve Brazilian credit union professionals will begin their U.S. internships Oct. 6 at the Cornerstone Credit Union League (Texas) and Northwest Credit Union Association (Oregon/Washington), implementing partners of the grant.

The program is part of the U.S. Department of State's Professional Fellows Program and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges. It provides each participant with credit union placement, lodging with a local host family, meals and communication stipends, local transportation and traveler's insurance.

Sponsoring U.S. credit unions will cover airfare cost of roughly $2,000.

Contact Michael Suing, or 608-395-2075, for details. For more information use the link.