Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive
150x172_CUEffect.jpg
Contacts
LISA MCCUEVICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
MICHELLE WILLITSManaging Editor
RON JOOSSASSISTANT EDITOR
ALEX MCVEIGHSTAFF NEWSWRITER
TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

CU System Archive

CU System

New York league Financial chaos is an opportunity

 Permanent link
ALBANY, N.Y. (9/26/08)--Credit unions can turn the economic chaos of today into a golden opportunity to fulfill their mission, says the Credit Union Association of New York. President/CEO William J. Mellin's message to the New York's credit unions in the league's weekly newsletter notes that credit unions can and should (The Point Sept. 22-26). Consumers worried about the economy have "one place to go, because one type of financial institution remains stable, sound, and welcoming to people from all walks of life," Mellin wrote. "We have been here before. Back in the 1930s, with banks failing at an alarming rate and millions struggling to make ends meet, credit unions enjoyed a great upsurge in membership," Mellin said. "People instinctively realized the value of a cooperative form of finance, owned by its members, where people were more important than money." Today the relevance of credit unions is highly visible once again, with major national media noting credit unions' stability amid economic turmoil. "The stage is set for another upsurge. Whether it happens, however, is up to us," Mellin wrote. "Potential credit unions can only join a credit union if they've heard of credit unions--if they understand what a credit union is, how it operates, what sets it apart," he wrote. "Because you are part of their communities, you are the face of credit unions to them. You have the best opportunity to communicate the credit union difference with the most impact," he added.

Alaska FIs fielding more deposit queries

 Permanent link
ANCHORAGE (9/26/08)--Credit unions and other financial institutions in the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska have been fielding queries from consumers about their deposit insurance coverage. They are "fielding more questions than usual these days" from consumers worried about how the economy will affect their savings accounts, said Peninsula Clarion (Sept. 24). The article, which emphasized that most banks and credit unions have federal insurance, interviewed two banks and a credit union. Alaska USA FCU Chief Financial Officer Norm West told the publication that the credit union has been getting calls from worried members who want more information about the current situation. Several have inquired about differences between credit unions and banks. The callers generally say they are happy or they have more money to move from other institutions, West said. Tellers may be answering more questions at the counter, he said. Use the resource link for the full article.

Aranjo sentenced to 4.5 years in CDCU embezzlement

 Permanent link
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (9/26/08)--A former CEO convicted of embezzling $1.5 million from a now-defunct community development credit union in Springfield, Mass., was sentenced Thursday to 4.5 years in prison and ordered to make restitution totaling $1.4 million. Carol Aranjo, former CEO of D. Edward Wells CU, had been convicted of 44 charges, including embezzlement, conspiracy to embezzle, bank fraud, and filing false tax returns (Masslive.com and The Republican Newsroom Sept. 25). Her husband, Alphonso Smith, who was convicted of 10 charges, was to be sentenced later Thursday. U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor noted that Smith was responsible for between $200,000 and $400,000 in company losses. The embezzlements occurred through bogus transfers, issuance of "free" cashier's checks, and running accounts deeply in the red. The credit union was closed by federal regulators in 2003. At the time it had losses totaling about $3 million News Now Feb 8). Aranjo, who was a well-known advocate of community development credit unions, was removed as chair of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions in 1999 and she departed from the federation in 2000.

Donations for Ike are mounting

 Permanent link
WASHINGTON (9/26/08)--Several credit union foundations have reported that donations for Hurricane Ike disaster relief for credit union employees are mounting. In less than two weeks since Hurricane Ike made landfall, the Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) has raised over $168,000, while the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has received over $100,000 in donations through CUAid.coop and additional pledges, Steve Bosack, NCUF deputy director, told New Now. The largest pledge is from the Mississippi Credit Union System (MCUS), which has pledged to wire $33,000 to NCUF. MCUS President Charles Elliott requested that NCUF designate $28,000 to help credit union people in Texas and $5,000 to help credit union people in Louisiana.
Click to view larger image
“TCUF emphasized that credit union employees have tremendous ongoing needs,” Bosack said. “TCUF has been making hundreds of $500 emergency grants almost as quickly as applications are coming in. “However, now that more residents are finally being allowed to ‘look and leave’ their properties and see the damage for themselves, it's clear that many more credit union employees have lost everything they own,” he added. “These employees will have much greater needs because insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency cannot make them whole.” To help respond to these urgent needs, NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin is exercising his maximum discretionary grant-making authority: NCUF will grant $25,000 in disaster relief to the Texas Credit Union Foundation, in addition to the funds raised for Texas through the national CUAid campaign, NCUF said. In separate disaster relief, the Iowa Credit Union Foundation raised about $552,000 as of Thursday for victims of June flooding throughout Iowa, Emily Oliver, director of public affairs and marketing for the Iowa Credit Union League, told News Now. Midwest storms and subsequent flooding impacted about 30 Iowa credit unions and some of the biggest metropolitan areas in the state (News Now June 13).

Two CUs report telephone scams

 Permanent link
LONGMONT, Colo., and CHICOPEE, Mass. (9/26/08)--Two credit unions reported scams this week involving telephone calls, fraudulent e-mails and text messages to members and non-members. St. Vrain Valley CU, Longmont, Colo., said members and non-members of the credit union reported fraudulent telephone calls from scammers attempting to obtain personal financial information. The area codes of 303, 720 and 970 are being targeted, the credit said on its website. The calls claim to be from St. Vrain, saying recipients’ cards have been suspended and inviting them to reactivate after they give out personal information. Polish National CU, Chicopee, Mass., also reported that fraudulent e-mails, text messages and telephone calls were sent to credit union members and non-members. The messages said that their accounts had been suspended due to a billing failure. If the recipients responded to the e-mail, they were linked to a fake online banking site or given a phone number to call. They were asked to submit their credit card number and personal identification number to reactivate the account, the credit union said on its website.

Ohio CUs recovering from hurricane remnants

 Permanent link
DUBLIN, Ohio (9/26/08)--More than a dozen credit unions in Ohio were closed at some or all of their branch locations last week, after the remnants of Hurricane Ike battered Southwest, Central and Northeast sections of the state. Some credit unions were without power for a few days, others for the entire week, said the Ohio Credit Union League (OCUL)(eLumination Newsletter Sept. 24). The league said it investigated the outages and provided information to the state and federal regulators. This week, most of the credit unions affected were back to normal business. Ohio's credit unions can apply for disaster relief grants from the Ohio Credit Union Foundation in such disasters, the league said. Shared branching played a key role in serving the closed credit unions' members. Marty Auxter, OCUL Services Corp. business consultant, noted that shared branching is a "vital disaster recovery tool, especially in situations like we just experienced, where power was available in one neighborhood, but not another." Currently, 76 of Ohio's credit unions participate in shared branching.

Colorado association announces award recipients

 Permanent link
DENVER (9/26/08)--Five Colorado credit unions and one credit union chapter received first-place honors from the Credit Union Association of Colorado (CUAC) in its 2008 statewide Dora Maxwell, Louise Herring and Desjardins awards contests. The program is sponsored by CUAC and the Credit Union Association of Wyoming, and is nationally sponsored by the Credit Union National Association to honor credit unions’ community projects and activities. Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Recognition Awards first-place winners:
* Pikes Peak CU, Colorado Springs, $20 million to $50 million in assets; * Space Age FCU, Aurora, $50 million to $100 million; * Coors CU, Golden, $100 million to $200 million; * Denver Community CU, $200 million to $500 million; and * Flatirons Chapter of Credit Unions, chapter entry.
Louise Herring Award for Philosophy in Action first-place winner was Denver Community CU, $50 million to $250 million in assets. Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award first-place winners:
* Arapahoe CU, Littleton, $35 million to $75 million in assets; and * Denver Community CU, $75 million to $250 million.
First-place winning entries advance to the national competition where they will compete with other projects from credits unions nationwide in the same asset-size category.

California budget impasse impacts CUs costs

 Permanent link
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (9/26/08)--The Golden 1 CU made loans this summer to 1,095 California state workers to help them through the state’s 85-day budget impasse, and its assistance cost the credit union $52,000 in opportunity costs. The $52,000 represents what the credit union could have earned investing the money, rather than loaning it at 0% interest to the state workers who did not receive paychecks during the budget stalemate, Teresa Halleck, The Golden 1 president/CEO, told News Now. Several loans were made to some of the workers, Halleck added. “We just passed the 75th anniversary of The Golden 1 CU,” Halleck said. “From a membership standpoint, there has been a tremendous loyalty to state workers. We’ll take care of state workers. I don’t know why they would bank with anyone but The Golden 1.” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the longest overdue budget in state history Tuesday (The Mercury News Sept. 23). The Golden 1 is based in Sacramento, Calif., and has $6.955 billion in assets.

Iowa league honors three leaders at convention

 Permanent link
DUBUQUE, Iowa (9/26/08)--More than 500 credit union representatives and vendors attended the Iowa Credit Union Annual Convention held Sept. 17-19 in Dubuque. Three credit union leaders in the state were honored. The awards ceremony, held during the Iowa Credit Union League’s Annual Meeting, recognized Trudy Koppen from Frontier Community and Postal Employees CUs, Fort Dodge, as the Professional Cooperative Spirit Award winner; and Denise Dolan of Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque, as the Volunteer Cooperative Spirit Award winner. DeLon R. Gobeli from Veridian CU, Waterloo, was presented with the Heritage Award for lifetime achievement. Opening keynote presenter Peter Duffy offered his perspective on the challenges and responses of the credit union business model. Education sessions included topics on compliance updates, director responsibilities, disaster recovery plans, and the current economy and its impact on credit unions. The convention also included a credit union town hall meeting, Iowa Credit Union Foundation annual meeting, Iowa Credit Union League Transfer System annual meeting, new attendee orientation and a directors’ dinner. The 2009 convention will be held Sept. 16-18 in Des Moines.

Letters to editor question CU bank merger in Maine

 Permanent link
AUGUSTA, Maine (9/26/08)--Two letters to the editor in the Kennebec Journal Wednesday question the benefits that Kennebec Valley FCU (KV FCU) would gain if it converted to a savings bank and merged with Kennebec Bank. “I’m trying to comprehend why members of KV FCU would want to dissolve their credit union and merge with Kennebec Bank,” wrote Terrence C. Casey to the newspaper. “People usually join credit unions because of the benefits and services offered.” Tom Hilyard, East Winthrop, Maine, said the Journal’s article about the proposed merger “made it obvious that this was an acquisition rather than a merger and that the new entity will be operated as a bank and not as a credit union.” He added that members should “grab their shares and find a real credit union where they can again be an owner and in better control of their financial affairs.” Augusta, Maine-based KV FCU and Kennebec Bank announced earlier this month that they were discussing a conversion and merger. The credit union’s board is scheduled to vote Oct. 14 on a proposal to convert to a federal mutual savings bank. After the conversion, the credit union would merge with the bank (News Now Sept. 10). The credit union said the conversion and merger would expand its ability to meet the current and future needs of members. “It makes sense to consider combining our efforts with a local institution that has similar values,” said Beverly Beaucage, president/CEO of KV FCU (News Now Sept. 10). KV FCU has $51 million in assets. To read the letters, use the links.