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CUNA Mutual Group to hold Online Discovery Conference

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MADISON, Wis. (9/23/11)--CUNA Mutual Group’s second annual, day-long Online Discovery Conference on Oct. 4 makes learning easy by turning credit union professionals into avatars and their computer desktops into a conference hall. Online Discovery is the Web-based equivalent of a face-to-face conference without the associated expenses, or time away from the office. On the day of the conference, conference participants won’t pick up a badge or registration packet; instead, they will create a profile and virtual business card, and then choose an avatar character to represent themselves throughout the day. “Conference participants will interact in much the same way they would if they were attending a face-to-face conference,” said Steve Johnson, CUNA Mutual senior vice president, marketing & credit union strategy. “Participants will download virtual business cards, click through the virtual expo center and chat or message with other conference attendees,” he added. Those interested in attending can take a tour of the virtual conference, and then register for the event. Use the links. More than 1,100 credit union professionals have registered to date. “Participants can learn more about the event by following us on Twitter @CUDiscovery and joining in the conversation by tweeting with #CUOnline,” Johnson said. The conference offers 13 credit union-focused sessions, networking opportunities, including chat rooms and message boards, an exhibit hall and prizes; plus registration guarantees access to conference materials for up to nine months at no expense. Online Discovery is CUNA Mutual’s free online educational resource for credit union leaders.

Texas CU program takes on bullying in schools

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TEXAS CITY, Texas (9/23/11)--AMOCO FCU in Texas City, Texas, has introduced a program to address a growing problem in many communities: bullying in schools. The $561 million asset credit union in recent weeks has brought anti-bullying programming to some 6,500 Galveston County middle and high school students, in partnership with Rachel’s Challenge, an organization created by the family and friends of Rachel Scott, one of the students gunned down in the Columbine High School tragedy (LoneStar Leaguer Sept. 21). AMOCO FCU said it embraced the mission of Rachel’s Challenge--preventing violence and bullying by engaging youth and adults to spread acts of kindness and compassion. “Making a difference and helping people is the reason we exist and Rachel’s story was just another way for us to help people in our community-- specifically, youth and their families,” Tina Linquist, AMOCO FCU vice president of culture and communications, told the Texas Credit Union League. “What we’ve learned throughout the past few weeks is that kids are dealing with a lot of personal stress brought on by bullying and sometimes violence either at school or at home. We couldn’t just close our eyes and ignore this growing problem; after all we’re here to make a difference with our members and community.” The Rachel’s Challenge program includes student and teacher assemblies held on campus, followed by a community-wide evening event open to all students, parents, and businesses in the community. Viewers are introduced to Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine High School tragedy, through video of her friends and family members who describe who Rachel was and how she positively impacted their lives. AMOCO FCU team members also participate in the assemblies, which will have been presented at more than a dozen intermediate and high schools in their area. After the assemblies, a group of students are chosen to initiate a “Friends of Rachel” (F.O.R.) club for their particular school. While every student is encouraged to join the F.O.R. Club, this particular group of students is responsible for carrying on the program message throughout their school with the unified goal to make positive changes. “This program is so much more than just an assembly and an on-campus group,” Linquist said. “It brings teachers, counselors and families together as everyone can join in to help the culture on campus. “The stories that some of these students share are heart-breaking,” Linquist added. “Many students are shocked to learn about some of the terrible things their fellow students are dealing with, while others find comfort in knowing they aren’t the only ones dealing with personal issues. By the end of the 1.5 hour session, the small group of students form a bond and come together as family, which is truly amazing to see happen right before our very own eyes.” However, Linquist emphasized that the main reason AMOCO FCU gets involved with initiatives is because “it’s the right thing to do and because we are socially responsible.” “People are our business,” said Linquist. “Members are our priority, and we care about the communities they live in--and for this reason, we get involved with initiatives that make a difference.”

N.Y. CU Foundation helps students with LifeSmarts competition

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ALBANY, N.Y. (9/23/11)--The 2011-2012 online LifeSmarts competition--which helps students with life situations--is open and live at the program’s home, The competition, coordinated in New York by the New York Credit Union Foundation, runs through the first week of February 2012. LifeSmarts is a free educational competition that introduces middle school and high school students throughout the state to real-world knowledge. Competition topics have been chosen to encourage and reward knowledge in the areas that matter most to consumers and workers in today’s marketplace: personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities. There are two separate competition levels: the High School Competition (Varsity) and the Middle School Competition (Junior Varsity, grades six through eight). Students and coaches can register online at to begin taking practice quizzes and downloading learning resources. Working with an adult coach, students compete against all other teams statewide. The varsity level competition culminates in a live playoff March 28 at Schenectady (N.Y.) County Community College (SCCC). The competition will be sponsored by Universal Sharing Network and SCCC. The state winner will then go on to the National Championship, April 20-24, in Philadelphia. The winner of the Junior Varsity Competition will be decided online. “This comprehensive, life skills program builds well-rounded kids by using their interest in the marketplace to motivate achievement across the board in reading, math, citizenship, leadership, financial literacy, communications, teamwork and workforce readiness,” said Diane LaVigna-Wixted, foundation executive director. “It also provides participating teachers from across the state with consumer curriculum they may not have access to elsewhere.” LifeSmarts is an educational program of the National Consumers League that complements a school curriculum. It can be used as an activity for classes, groups, clubs and community organizations. The foundation coordinates the program in New York State.

CU System brief (09/22/2011)

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MADISON, Wis. (9/23/11)
* A West Virginia woman was sentenced Monday to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge David A. Faber for orchestrating a $2.4 million fraud scheme that led to the failure of the N&W Poca Division FCU, formerly located in Bluefield, W. Va. (WVNA Sept. 19). Pamela Mullins, 46, a former employee of N&W Poca Division FCU, admitted that, beginning in 2003 she embezzled money using various schemes, including making fictitious deposits into her personal checking account and accounts of family members. The deposits were fictitious in that no funds were received by the credit union. Mullins admitted that she subsequently used the funds for personal use. Mullins also posted fictitious payments to loan accounts and issued credit union checks to herself, family members and to third parties to pay for her expenses, without recording the checks in the books and records of the credit union …

Iowa league announces board

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DES MOINES, Iowa (9/23/11)--Iowa credit union representatives were sworn in as the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) board of directors at the Iowa Credit Union Annual Convention Sept. 15.
Click to view larger image The Iowa Credit Union League recently announced its 2012 board of directors. Front row, from left: Denny Siemers, Town & Country CU, Harlin; Brent Helin, Des Moines (Iowa) Metro CU; Joe Hearn, chair, Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque; Tim Chapman, vice chair, Members Community CU, Muscatine; Pat Drennen, 1st Gateway CU, Comanche; Mike Whittie, Federal Employees CU, Des Moines; and Dave Cale, Financial Plus CU, Des Moines. From left, back row, Pat Jury, CEO, Iowa Credit Union League; Tim Wallen, Ace Community CU, Ames; Jonathon Miller, Dubuque (Iowa) Teachers CU; Tim Marcsisak, Nishna Valley CU, Atlantic; Jim Hagerman, Linn Area CU, Cedar Rapids; Janine Keim, Consumers CU and Murray Williams, chief operating officer, Iowa Credit Union League. (Photo provided by Iowa Credit Union League)
Joe Hearn, chief operating officer of Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque, was re-elected to serve as the 2012 chair of the ICUL board and Tim Chapman, Members Community CU, Muscatine, was re-elected to serve as the 2012 vice chair. Board members in the up to $15 million asset category:
* Janine Keim, Consumers CU, Denison; * Jonathon Miller, Dubuque (Iowa) Teachers CU; and * Denny Siemers, Town and Country CU, Harlan.
Board members in the $15 million-$40 million asset category:
* Tim Marcsisak, Nishna Valley CU, Atlantic; * Tim Wallen, Ace Community CU, Ames; and * Mike Whittie, Federal Employees CU, Des Moines.
Board members in the $40 million-80 million asset category:
* Tim Chapman, (as noted, vice chair) Members Community CU, Muscatine; * Brent Helin, Des Moines (Iowa) Metro CU; and * Pat Drennen, 1st Gateway CU, Camanche.
Board members in the $80 million and above asset category:
* Dave Cale, Financial Plus CU, West Des Moines; * Jim Hagerman, Linn Area CU, Cedar Rapids; and * Joe Hearn, (as noted, chair) Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque.

NJCUL announces board election results

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (9/22/11)--The New Jersey Credit Union League (NJCUL) announced the results of its 2011 board election at the close of its 77th annual convention Tuesday in Atlantic City, N.J. The only contested seats were in Tier A for credit unions with less than $33,875,000 in assets. Jay Flanagan, CEO, Elizabeth (N.J.) Firemen’s FCU, and Christina Olender, CEO, Parlin DuPont FCU, Middlesex, tied with the same number of votes. Flanagan will serve for one year, and Olender will serve a three-year term. Seats in Tier B, for credit unions with more than $33,875,000 in assets, and Tier C, an at-large category, were uncontested. Linda McFadden, CEO of XCEL FCU, Bloomfield, was awarded a three-year term in Tier B. Incumbent NJCUL director Raymond Del Nero, president/CEO of Merck Employees FCU, Rahway, was awarded a three-year term in Tier C.

CUNA survey provides insights into members needs

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CUNA survey provides insights into members’ needs MADISON, Wis. (9/23/11)--The Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) newly released 2011-2012 National Member Survey, a report designed to uncover trends in member attitudes and use of financial services, reveals that there is still room for credit unions to steer members and potential members away from banks and grow their overall membership bases. The National Member Survey summarizes directions in member attitudes over the past couple years to help credit unions understand what their members want from their financial institutions. With the information provided by the survey, credit unions can better understand their members and, in turn, provide better service, keep a competitive edge in the marketplace and stay abreast of impending member issues. “Even today, there are plenty of positive trends for credit unions illustrated by the Survey,” said Jon Haller, CUNA director of corporate and market research. “Credit unions’ loyalty score is still a full 37 percentage points above the banks’ score and the number of people who are extremely likely to say they’d recommend their credit union to others has increased.” However, Haller added, the survey also reflected that banks are making some gains in consumer loyalty, perhaps due to significant efforts to remove some of the tarnish to their reputations accumulated because of the financial crisis. Young adult memberships are on the rise, with members between 18 to 24 years of age constituting 9% of credit unions’ total adult membership--up from 6% in 2006. Use of credit union checking accounts is also growing, suggesting that more people are choosing credit unions as their primary financial institution. “The findings in CUNA’s National Member Survey can help credit unions better understand the member trends that will impact the credit union movement in the years to come,” adds Haller. “Credit unions need to understand their members in order to survive in today’s financial environment.” For more information, use the link.