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Hawaii League Pledges $500K To Children's Medical Center

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HONOLULU (9/17/13)--The League of Hawaii Credit Unions has pledged $500,000 through Kapi'olani Children's Miracle Network to the Campaign for Hawaii's Children to rebuild and expand Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children. The move reinforces the league's mission to help those most in need.

The pledge marks a new record for Hawaii Credit Unions, a long-term partner of Kapi'olani Medical Center and its Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' Credit Unions for Kids program.

The league and the credit unions of Hawaii have embraced Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and its "Credit Unions for Kids" program as "a major fund-raising initiative," said Dennis Tanimoto, league president. "Best of all, funds raised in Hawaii stay in Hawaii to benefit pediatric programs at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children--which has performed miracles for the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Basin for decades."

Both entities are not-for-profit organizations looking to serve local families who otherwise cannot afford quality care. "Our history with Hawaii's credit unions is a long and rich one, and we are proud to be partnered with an organization that year over year has increased its donations to the community. Hawaii's credit unions truly care about our community," said Martha Smith, CEO of Kapi'olani Medical Center.

To date, the 15-year relationship has raised more than $650,000, Smith said.

Tanimoto added that the connection with Kapi'olani Medical Center expands beyond keeping all donations in Hawaii, it is also a matter of personal ties with the hospital.

"My wife and I, as well as our two children and now three grandchildren, were all born at Kapi'olani Medical Center, so we are well aware of its great facilities, technological advancements, wonderful staff, and dedicated volunteers," Tanimoto said.

The campaign has raised $28.4 million toward a $30 million goal to fund the first phase of a multi-year master plan to rebuild Kapi'olani Medical Center.

Ways & Means' Sanchez Defends CU Tax Status

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WASHNGTON (9/17/13)--As credit unions continue their all-out push to preserve their tax status, another House Ways and Means Committee member spoke out in support of credit unions.  This time Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) supported credit unions' tax status by writing an editorial in Credit Union Digest, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' flagship magazine.

Just last month, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), also spoke publicly in support for credit unions. Camp noted the "very important role" credit unions play in communities across Michigan and the rest of the country  (News Now Aug. 14). He added, "I will continue to look for ways to reduce regulatory burden and to help credit unions in their mission of serving consumers and small businesses with affordable financial services."  He made his remarks in a statement delivered to the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates.
The House Ways and Means Committee is the chief committee working on tax reform. The leagues' legislative advocacy team has worked with Sanchez, discussing credit unions' vital role in the communities they serve.
"Getting rid of their tax-exempt status would hurt credit unions and consumer choice, and drive up the cost of financial services for everyone, Sanchez wrote. "That's a bad deal for consumers. That's an even worse deal for our communities."
"As a longtime credit union member, I understand the very special role credit unions play in our communities," she wrote. "Credit unions make it possible for small businesses to expand their operations and hire more employees. Credit unions make it possible for students to pursue higher education."
Sanchez represents 158,000 credit union members in the 38th Congressional District. "These members include teachers, janitors, firefighters, and military personnel--the people who are the glue holding our communities together."
As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, she said, "I am committed to ensuring that our tax code helps protect middle class families." Although tax reform is long overdue, she emphasized  that reform should be "in a way that supports American industry and hardworking Americans" and "provides economic certainty. Preserving the current tax-exempt status for credit unions would help provide some much needed certainty.
"Congress has consistently supported the credit union federal tax exemption because of the special manner in which credit unions serve consumers," Sanchez said. "As nonprofit, member-owned and operated cooperatives, credit unions are focused on returning benefits to their members. That means higher savings yields and lower loan interest rates."
Eliminating credit unions' tax status "would severely handicap the ability of credit unions to compete with the big Wall Street banks. More competition means more choices and better terms for consumers," Sanchez wrote.
Sanchez noted that credit unions have "been historically good stewards of their members' finances. During the 2008 financial crisis, most financial institutions stopped lending money. Not credit unions."  She cited their increased lending to individuals and small businesses, and said that during the housing crisis, California credit unions "addressed 80% of their delinquent loans, and less than half of 1% of those loans were foreclosed.
She provided examples of credit unions offering 0% interest loans with no credit checking for janitors or school food service employees required to buy their own uniforms and skip-a-payment options to furloughed school employees.
"Credit unions provide crucial support to our families and communities. This support is why it is important that we preserve the tax-exempt status for credit unions," she concluded.
Sanchez also serves on two crucial subcommittees: the subcommittee on select revenue measures, which has jurisdiction over federal tax policy, and the subcommittee on oversight, which includes oversight of the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department.  She is ranking member of the Ways and Means' Manufacturing Tax Reform Working Group, which reviews manufacturing sector tax law.
Earlier, House Ways and Means Committee members Kevin Brady and Kenny Marchant, both of Texas, also issued strong statements supporting credit unions and their tax status.

Off-duty Officer Shoots, Kills Robber At CU

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (9/17/13)--An off-duty police officer shot and killed a man Saturday during an attempted robbery at a Virginia Beach branch of Chartway FCU.
The incident occurred about 10:10 a.m. when a man wearing a mask, dark clothing and gloves entered the branch, waved what appeared to be a gun at tellers and announced the robbery (The Virginia-Pilot Sept. 16).
As of Monday afternoon, the credit union had not verified that the man was brandishing a gun, said Heidi Worker, Chartway FCU corporate communication director, told News Now.
"Law enforcement officials are still conducting their investigation," Worker said. "Hopefully we'll know more soon."
Police have not identified the robber. No other injuries were reported.
The branch was open Monday.
The credit union provided one-on-one counseling for employees, Worker said.

Minn. Foundation Offers $10K In CU Fin. Ed Grants

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/17/13)--The Minnesota Credit Union Foundation is offering $10,000 in grants to assist state credit unions in implementing financial education projects.
Minnesota credit unions can apply for grants through Oct. 1.
The grants are part of the foundation's mission to provide resources for credit unions and communities to prosper and thrive.
"Minnesota credit unions are doing amazing things to teach the basics of personal finance to their members and to members of the community, young and old," said Pat Brekken, chair of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. "The foundation is proud to support these efforts."
Beginning in 2013, the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation has committed 50% of its annual budget to financial education grants, with application periods in the spring and fall. The foundation board of directors will evaluate applications based on factors such as credit union value, community impact, collaboration and creativity.
Examples of financial education projects/initiatives include:
  • Establishing an in-school branch;
  • Partnering with a community organization to teach personal finance skills;
  • Teaching financial literacy classes in local schools;
  • Creating a credit union youth advisory board that incorporates learning components;
  • Hosting seminars on credit, debt and budgeting, etc.;
  • Coordinating retirement or estate planning workshops;
  • Offering youth checking or credit card products with required learning benchmarks;
  • Providing services, coupled with education classes, for high-risk members, and;
  • Supplying local schools with a financial education curriculum.

Mergers Of CUs Continue Adding Up

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MADISON, Wis. (9/17/13)--Several credit union mergers are continuing the national trend toward consolidation.
Recent mergers include:
  • The National Credit Union Administration and the California Department of Business Oversight approved the merger of CarePoint FCU, Anaheim, Calif., with Financial Partners CU, Downey, Calif. The merger was strongly supported by both credit union boards of directors and is slated to take effect on Nov. 1, after which the combined credit union will operate as Financial Partners CU. The merger will result in a credit union with more than $856 million in assets and 60,000 members throughout Southern California, Texas, Florida and several other states.
  • Flint, Mich.-based Security CU (SCU) with $367,000 in assets, has acquired Craftsman CU of Detroit through a purchase-and-assumption agreement with NCUA. The purchase agreement came about because the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services liquidated Craftsman CU. SCU will absorb Craftsman's assets, membership and about 50% of its loans (The Burton View Sept.12).
  • Greater Milwaukee CU, West Allis, Wis., intends to merge into Summit CU, Madison, Wis., the two credit unions announced Sept. 9. Greater Milwaukee CU has roughly $14 million in assets and 2,000 members. Summit CU has more than $1.9 billion in assets and about 130,000 members. The takeover will strengthen Summit's rank as the second-biggest credit union in Wisconsin, behind Landmark CU in New Berlin. The merger will become effective Dec. 1 (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sept. 9).
  • SkyOne FCU, Hawthorne, Calif., will acquire Gardena, Calif.-based AM FCU. The merger of the $336.5 million asset SkyOne and the $20.4 million asset AM has been approved by the NCUA and the credit unions' memberships (SNL Bank and Thrift Daily Sept. 10).
  • The membership of Arlington, Texas-based Security One FCU voted Aug. 28 to merge into Texas Trust CU, Mansfield, Texas, with $764 million assets, pending approval of the state regulator. NCUA already has Ok'd the consolidation. Security One FCU has $57 million in assets. Security One's 25 employees will join the Texas Trust work force. Texas Trust will assume all of Security Ones' assets and liabilities ( Aug. 31).
  • Effective Aug. 31, Rock Valley CU (RVCU), Loves Park, Ill., merged with Del Monte Eastern Region Employees FCU (DMCU) of Rochelle, Ill., after approvals of both boards of directors, regulatory approval from NCUA and a majority vote of the DMCU members at a special meeting June 26. The combined entity will have assets of more than $83 million, according to an RVCU press release.
  • Clearpath FCU, Glendale, Calif., with $86.8 million in assets, will merge with $6.3 million asset Lithuanian CU, Los Angeles. Also, Credit Union of Southern California, Brea, Calif., will merge with Firestone Financial FCU, Anaheim, Calif. Both mergers were approved Aug. 1 by the California Department of Business Oversight, according to its monthly bulletin.
  • NCUA has approved a merger of USU Charter CU, Logan, Utah, with $140 million assets, into Ogden, Utah-based Goldenwest FCU, with $850 million assets.  When the merger is finalized Oct. 1, the combined entity, operating as Goldenwest FCU, will have 26 branches and nearly $1 billion in assets (Standard-Examiner Aug. 24).
  • Indiana Members CU, with $1.3 billion in assets, and Warren MSD FCU, with $17 million in assets, both based in Indianapolis, completed a merger Aug. 1. Indiana Members CU is the surviving entity and now has 25 branches throughout Central Indiana (SNL Bank and Thrift Daily Aug. 16).
  • $1.89 billion asset Chartway FCU in Virginia Beach, Va., will consolidate two of its divisional credit unions--Utah Central CU, Salt Lake City, and HeritageWest FCU, Tooele, Utah, effective Oct. 1. They will operate under the HeritageWest name (SNL Bank and Thrift Daily Aug. 15).
  • Savage Arms CU, Westfield, Mass., with $1.2 million in assets, was granted permission to merge into Pioneer FCU, Springfield, Mass., with $44.8 million in assets, last month by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Calif.-Nev. Leagues To Pilot Rewards Program To Feed The Hungry

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ONTARIO, Calif. (9/17/13)--The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues will pilot a debit and credit card reward program that will help feed hungry families in local communities while strengthening credit unions' credit and debit card programs.
The program was made possible through a partnership with MOGL, a restaurant rewards platform.
"Partnering with a company such as MOGL will allow our member credit unions to continue to practice their philosophy of 'People Helping People'--helping to eradicate hunger through the donation to food banks and supporting their communities," said Tony Kitt, the leagues' senior vice president of strategic innovation and planning.
Credit union members will be able to earn 10% cash back by using their credit or debit cards when they eat out at participating restaurants. For transactions of more than $20, a meal will be donated to a local community food bank through Feeding America.
The program uses merchant-funded rewards, allowing credit unions to provide additional benefits to their members at no additional cost, and can work in conjunction with a credit union's existing card reward program. The cash back on spending, combined with the social good of the Meal for a Meal program, encourages members to reach for their credit union cards more often, increasing loyalty and card usage, the leagues said.
MOGL is the largest restaurant rewards platform in California, with close to 2,000 restaurants enrolled. MOGL members have received more than $4 million in cash back, and its Meal for a Meal program has donated nearly 500,000 meals to Feeding America and its national network of food banks.
Fostering service excellence, removing barriers and raising awareness about the value credit unions provide their members and communities are the foundation for the Credit Union National Association's, state credit union leagues' and credit unions' Unite For Good campaign toward a vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial provider.

CFPB Fin Literacy Field Hearing In Wis. To Feature NCUF, Royal CU

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MADISON, Wis. (9/17/13)--A Financial Literacy and Education Commission field hearing on Youth and Post-secondary Financial Education, organized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will feature representatives of the National Credit Union Foundation and  Royal CU, as well as CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The event will take place in Madison, Wis., Sept. 25.
Lois Kitsch, national program director at NCUF, will present the foundation's experiential learning programs during a panel entitled, "Panel I, Building youth financial capability through experiential learning." Also on the panel will be Jennifer Block, representing Royal CU, based in Eau Claire, Wis.
The panel will provide insight on opportunities and best practices for using experiential learning to help youth increase financial capability and to augment financial education lessons taught in the classroom.  Examples include use of school bank programs, entrepreneurship training and games/simulations to deepen knowledge of finances.
The panel will also include Alex Martinez, a student representative from a bank in school and Elizabeth Odders-White of the University of Wisconsin Madison Center for Financial Security, and moderator David Mancl, director of the Office of Financial Literacy in the Department of Financial Institutions.
The hearing will also include a second panel on preparing postsecondary students for financial independence.
Also speaking at the event will be Melissa Koide, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury; Cordray; and J. Michael Collins of the Center for Financial Security, as well as Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and UW Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

Mark Condon,CUNA Publishing SVP, To Retire

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MADISON, Wis. (9/17/13)--
Credit Union National Association Senior Vice President Mark Condon will retire Sept. 30 to pursue plans to pursue a master's degree in history and eventually teach.  (Photo provided by CUNA)
Mark Condon, senior vice president of Business and Consumer Publishing at the Credit Union National Association, will retire on Sept. 30, after 35 years with CUNA, to pursue a master's degree in history.
"Mark has put his stamp on a number of the core CUNA publications that have helped inform and educate the credit union system for decades," said CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. These include Credit Union Magazine, E-Scan and News Now, as well as consumer publications such as Everybody's Money, the predecessor to Home and Family Finance.
Condon began at CUNA as an editor at Credit Union Magazine and served as vice president of publications before being named senior vice president. A longtime advocate of the cooperative philosophy, he was instrumental in forging key cooperative relationships such as CUNA's partnership with Coopera to help credit unions better serve the Hispanic market.
He also spearheaded CUNA's role in uniting credit unions into a shared credit union experience on International Credit Union Day. 
He regularly spoke to groups about the history of credit unions and their philosophy. "His historical knowledge and passion about all things credit unions always has been and continues to be impressive," said Cheney, noting Condon would be taking his love for history to another level by working on a master's degree with plans to eventually teach.
CUNA Chairman Pat Wesenberg presented Condon with a CUNA Board resolution acknowledging his contributions to CUNA and the credit union movement last week.