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Alloya Corporate announces approval of its charter application

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WARRENVILLE, Ill. (9/26/11)--The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Thursday voted unanimously to approve the charter application of Alloya Corporate FCU and its application for merger with Members United Bridge Corporate, Alloya said in a Sept. 22 member letter posted on its website. “Today the NCUA board voted unanimously to approve the charter application for Alloya Corporate FCU, as well as its application for merger with Members United Bridge Corporate,” the letter said. “Our dream of creating a new corporate credit union to continue to provide members with the valuable services needed for success is nearly complete, with an expected first day of operation of Oct. 24, 2011.” Alloya extended the time period of its initial capital offering until Oct. 31. All credit unions (including current members) that capitalize by that date will receive the full benefits as described in the Private Placement Memorandum as if they had capitalized by Aug. 31. Alloya Corporate FCU exceeded the minimum capital subscriptions required to move forward on its charter plans. The corporate was required to generate a minimum of $70 million in contributed capital by the end of the business day Aug. 31. As of Aug. 30, it had raised $71 million (News Now Sept. 1.) Alloya’s first two board meetings will be held on Thursday and on Oct. 27 in Warrenville, Ill., and Albany, N.Y., respectively. The meetings will be organizational in nature, and will include among other topics the election of board officers, acceptance of the charter, adoption of bylaws, the appointment of corporate officers, establishing the date of the annual meeting and the election by the membership of the permanent board. Members United Bridge is the bridge corporate entity that assumed the existing business of the Warrenville, Ill.-based Members United Corporate FCU after it was placed into conservatorship by NCUA, which formed the bridge corporate in early October 2010 (News Now Sept. 1).

Pelican State CU opens hospital branch

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BATON ROGUE, La. (9/26/11)--Pelican State CU, with $184 million in assets, Baton Rouge, La., has opened a branch on the campus of E. A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe, La. Local business leaders, residents, dignitaries and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce showed their support by attending the ribbon cutting ceremony led by Pelican State CU CEO Jeffrey K. Conrad and hospital administrator Aryon McGuire (Louisiana Credit Union League eNews Sept. 21). While the branch will primarily serve the employees of E. A. Conway, it is open to the public and will operate as a Credit Union Service Center shared branching network so members of participating credit unions can also make transactions at the branch, said Conrad. Formerly the Department of Hospitals CU, Pelican State CU has a long-standing relationship with the LSU charity hospital and its 900 employees. “More than half of the employees were already members of Pelican,” Conrad told the Louisiana Credit Union League. “Pelican has had an ATM on the medical center’s campus for more than 12 years,” Conrad. “A full service branch will allow the hospital employees to enjoy increased convenience to a broader range of our products and services.” Pelican has 12 locations in Louisiana, including a student-operated branch located on the campus of Peabody Magnet High School in Alexandria. The new branch will be the first location in the Monroe area and also Pelican’s northernmost location.

Fire destroys main office of Augusta VAH FCU

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (9/26/11)--A fire destroyed the headquarters of Augusta (Ga.) VAH FCU early Friday morning. A burglar alarm sounding about 4:30 a.m. was the initial indication that something was awry at the credit union’s main branch on August Parkway. Shortly thereafter, two men called 911 when they saw smoke pouring from the building (WRDW Sept. 23). Twelve fire units were eventually called to the scene. Firefighters were able to gain control of the fire about 6:30 a.m. The building is believed to be completely destroyed. Service to credit union members was uninterrupted, according to the Georgia Credit Union League. The credit union serves its members with two additional branches in Augusta. Also, member records were safeguarded by the credit union’s disaster recovery process, the Georgia league said. Augusta VAH FCU has been offered temporary space by another Augusta credit union and the August VA Hospital, the league said. The cause of the fire was unknown as of Friday afternoon.

Filene study Green lending is appealing and profitable

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MADISON, Wis. (9/26/11)--More and more credit unions are discovering that lending for green purposes is good business. The loans are profitable and attract financially strong borrowers. They spur membership growth and lead to new growth in solidly performing loans on the balance sheet, according to the latest research from the Filene Research Institute. “Finding Sustainable Profits: Green Lending in Credit Unions” finds that a growing number of credit unions are offering loans to their members that are focused on helping them make energy-saving improvements to the homes, businesses and transportation. The report, by researcher W. Robert Hall of Hall Associates Consulting, LLC, is based on an extensive online survey and a series of in-depth interviews. “These findings make it clear that there is a solid business case for credit unions to expand their focus on helping their members cope with the ever-rising costs of energy to heat their homes and to get the most out of each gallon of gasoline,” Hall said. “We continue to be interested in the implications the sustainability movement holds for credit unions,” says Mark Meyer, Filene CEO. “This report is the first systematic look at green lending among credit unions, and we’re impressed with how many credit unions are reporting profitable portfolios.” During the past several years, governments and nonprofit organizations have identified the need to increase access to credit for homeowners and businesses to make energy-saving improvements. A key component of most strategies has been trying to get financial institutions to offer reasonably-priced green loans that will enhance U.S. energy independence, address environmental concerns, and stimulate the creation of new green jobs. “This report contains key insights for anyone who cares about economic growth, consumer services, energy security, and environmental health,” said Frances Dubrowski, adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, who wrote the report’s foreword. “Now that we’ve found that green lending is profitable for credit unions of all sizes, it is time to bring these findings to financial institutions of all types,” Hall said. “These loans can be particularly important to smaller credit unions in expanding their loan portfolio and attracting new members.” The research also found that many credit unions are partnering with local utilities, vendors and nonprofit organizations to offer their members green loan products. These partners assist the credit unions in marketing the loans, and, in some cases, they help subsidize the interest rates or provide other forms of financial assistance that lower costs to members. “Moving forward, credit unions should explore ‘going green’ not just as a cost-cutting strategy, but also as a business growth strategy,” the report concluded. “In the future, with energy costs expected to rise from the fuel pump to the electrical outlet in people’s homes, well-structured and marketed green loan programs have the potential to become as important as car loans have been in the past to credit unions,” Hall noted. For more information, use the link.

Arizona CUs can help small businesses league tells magazine

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PHOENIX (9/26/11)--Arizona’s 49 credit unions could boost the state’s small businesses if the federal government raises the member business lending (MBL) cap, the Mountain West Credit Union Association--which represents credit unions in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming--told the Arizona Business Magazine in its September issue. There were roughly 381,000 small businesses in the state in 2008, according to the Arizona Small Business Association, wrote Joy Audet, association director of corporate communications, in the article she authored for the magazine. “We hear from business owners all the time that have solid plans and want to grow, but the big banks won’t even talk to them,” Paul B. Stull, senior vice president of strategy and brand for Arizona State CU in Phoenix, said in the article. “Increasing credit unions ability to lend to these businesses is needed now more than ever. We can get the economy moving again, but the current economic gridlock is holding us back. “Local financial institutions, like credit unions, know our markets very well,” he continued. “We understand Arizona and we know how to make Arizona loans for Arizona people.” Arizona credit unions stepped up and continued lending when other lenders cut back during the financial crisis, Audet wrote. Despite the fact that credit unions are the only financial institution category saddled with a statutory MBL cap, their MBLs grew 3% during the past year. Other financial institutions in the state have decreased their business loans an average of 7%, she added. “With less than 2% of the market, it’s important to note that credit unions pose no threat to commercial banks,” Audet wrote. “Small businesses are often turned away from commercial banks because they are too small. This is where credit unions have the ability to fill in the gap.” The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase credit unions’ MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.

N.J. CU donates 25K to support tennis education

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TRENTON, N.J. (9/26/11)--The VOICE Foundation--the charitable arm of McGraw-Hill FCU in East Windsor, N.J.--donated $25,000 to the National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton (NJTL) at the Sept.17 grand opening of the newly renovated Cadwalader Park Tennis Facility, as part of its commitment to empowering and educating students.
Click to view larger image The VOICE Foundation, the charitable arm of McGraw-Hill FCU, East Windsor, N.J., donated $25,000 to the National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton (NJTL) at the Sept.17 grand opening of the newly renovated Cadwalader Park Tennis Facility. From left, are: McGraw-Hill FCU’s Michael Sullivan, executive vice president/chief operations officer; Robert Carabelli, marketing manager; Ed Kroznuski, vice president, marketing and communications; Rebecca Sant, board director; Joe Conners, executive vice president/chief financial officer; Alexseyia McBride, volunteer; Kenya Webber, sales and service specialist; and Shawn Gilfedder, president/CEO. (Photo provided by McGraw-Hill FCU)
The donation will help support the NJTL’s Academic Creative Engagement (ACE) Initiative that is offered after school and during NJTL’s summer camp at Cadwalader Park. The program combines tennis instruction with academic enrichment in math, literacy and nutrition. College and career readiness skills, and technology education are also integrated into the program. McGraw-Hill FCU has stated that it is committed to education, especially when it comes to promoting financial literacy among young people. The credit union offers free seminars to New Jersey teachers responsible for educating students about personal finance. Being able to extend that commitment to education by supporting the NJTL’s ACE, and Nutrition, Education, Tennis and Support initiatives was a welcome opportunity for President/CEO Shawn Gilfedder. “The VOICE Foundation understands and values the importance that education can play in one’s future success,” Gilfedder said. “We are proud and honored to help fund initiatives within our community that benefit young people and promote academic enrichment.” During the grand opening ceremonies, there was a cookout lunch, a professional tennis exhibition featuring Chanda Rubin, Katrina Adams and players from the National Junior Tennis and Learning of Trenton, and photo opportunities with sponsors, past champions and children. Credit union employees volunteered their time to register attendees, assist with tennis clinics, and interact with the more than 300 guests of the NJTL. “Today’s young people are our future, so we look upon it as our duty to support the educational programs offered by the NJTL to the children of this community,” Gilfedder added. The contributions of organizations like McGraw-Hill FCU are critical to the continuation of NJTL’s programs and initiatives, said Dan Faber, NJTL executive director. “We are grateful for the credit union’s contribution and look forward to using the funding to promote our core values of healthy lifestyles, academic excellence, acceptance and responsible behavior,” Faber said.

Altura CU concert ticket winner pays it forward

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (9/26/11)--Altura CU, Riverside, Calif., recently used Facebook to reward a member for his loyalty. That member decided to “pay forward” his reward to a family member for her loyalty during a trying time. On Aug. 17, Altura told its nearly 3,000 Facebook followers that they could win a pair of tickets to an Aug. 24 Taylor Swift concert in Los Angeles by commenting on Facebook why Altura is their credit union, and then asking their friends and family to “like” the comment. The comment with the most “likes” would win the contest.
Click to view larger image From left, Elizabeth Sevilla and Vanessa Castellon before a Taylor Swift concert in Los Angeles. Their brother, Carlos Mendez, won the concert tickets from Altura CU by garnering the most likes for his comment about Altura on its Facebook page. He shared the tickets with his sisters to thank them for helping him through some personal struggles. (Photo provided by Altura CU)
Carlos Mendez of Moreno Valley, Calif., posted: “You are my credit union because there is a location up the street from me … and everyone there is friendly and professional.” His comment drew 166 “likes” to win the tickets. Upon winning, Mendez said, “In 2008, my life turned upside down. In a nutshell: one year of unemployment and a divorce. My sister was there for me, as was everyone around me during that time. As a small gesture of my immense gratitude, I gave her the tickets. She invited our sister, and they both had an awesome time. Thank you Altura and all who helped make this possible.” Facebook has become a great way for Altura to connect with its members, according to Carlos Loza, the credit union’s marketing analyst. “We have found contests, such as this, is a great, low-cost way to get our followers involved with us and help us spread the word about Altura.”

CU system briefs (09/23/2011)

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* BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (9/26/11)--A federal judge Thursday sentenced Michael John Young, former president Alabama Central CU, to 17 months in prison for bank fraud in connection with fictitious companies whose bills were paid through the Birmingham, Ala.-based credit union. U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Young and ordered him to pay $140,000 in restitution to the credit union. The judge also ordered Young to forfeit the same amount to the government as proceeds of illegal activity. Between about April 2009 and June 2010, Young submitted fraudulent bills and invoices on behalf of two fictitious companies he had created. Neither business had provided any services or goods to the credit union. Young would authorize payment by the credit union of the bills and invoices which he submitted in the name of the fictitious companies. The money paid by the credit union to the accounts of the fictitious companies was controlled and spent by Young … * VANCOUVER, Wash. (9/26/11)--Columbia CU, Vancouver, Wash., was awarded the 2011 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Corporate Community Support by the Nonprofit Network of Southwest Washington. The credit union was recognized for outstanding work in the community, providing support for the nonprofit sector with contributions, volunteer support, and in-kind services targeted to helping one or more nonprofits achieve greater sustainability. Columbia’s philanthropy serves a wide span of community needs including health, the hungry, education, business and animal welfare. Each award recipient received a check for $1,000. The credit union matched its $1,000 award with another $1,000, then requested that the entire amount be directed to Support for Early Learning and Families, an organization dedicated to supporting children and families, located in Vancouver, Wash …