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Wash. state CUs urge biz lending in candidates briefing

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (9/30/10)--Eight credit unions from the Vancouver, Wash., area met Tuesday with a congressional candidate to talk about how changes in federal regulations could allow them to play a bigger role in reviving Southwest Washington's economy. Democratic congressional candidate Denny Heck is an Olympia-based business entrepreneur who once worked for a Vancouver-based credit union. According to The Columbian (Sept. 28), credit union leaders provided Heck with "an earful" about being excluded from the federal Small Business Lending Fund Act, which provides funds to community banks to provide credit for small businesses. Many CEOs at the event said they already are bumping against their member business lending caps, currently set at 12.25% of total assets. Credit unions have been pushing to raise the limit to 27.5%. Among those saying credit unions want in on the federal program were Larry Hoff, president/CEO of Fibre FCU, Longview, and Roger Michaelis, president/CEO of IQ CU, Vancouver. Others said regulators have overstepped in the wake of the mortgage lending crisis, with Dave Spaulding, president/CEO of Red Canoe CU, Longview, noting that some credit unions are being forced to do cash calls on second mortgages. About 35% to 40% of local credit unions' loan portfolios are in home mortgages, and credit unions told the candidate they work closely with members to avoid foreclosures in stressed mortgage situations. Al Ralston, a consultant to Tukwila-based BECU, said no one from the state of Washington is on key financial service committees. "I don't think we need any more friends," he said, adding, "We need champions" with clout to change laws. For the full article, use the link.

Two board seats up for nomination at NCUF

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MADISON, Wis. (9/30/10)--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is seeking nominations for two board seats. Both are for credit union executive or director seats. Volunteers serve up to three three-year terms on the NCUF board as long as they are re-nominated by the NCUF Governance and Nominations Committee and re-elected by the NCUF board. Each candidate must be an executive officer or director of a credit union serving consumers. Two incumbents are up for election:
* Gary Oakland, president/CEO of BECU, Seattle. Oakland is completing his second three-year term on the NCUF board; and * Curtis Collins, director, JSC FCU, Houston. Collins is completing his first three-year term on the NCUF Board.
Oakland and Collins have expressed interest in serving another term. Applications must be received by Oct. 29. NCUF’s Governance and Nominations Committee will review all candidates and recommend nominees to the board. The board will vote on nominees in December. In January, NCUF’s board will elect its table officers at it organizational meeting. For more information, use the link.

PCUA iBelong to continue into 2011

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (9/30/10)--The board of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) has approved funding for its iBelong media campaign for 2011 with a 33% rate cut from the 2010 assessment (Life is a Highway Sept. 29). PCUA said three factors supported the decision:
* Growth rates at Pennsylvania credit unions outpaced the national averages in membership, 2.2% vs. 0.9% respectively; assets, 8.9% vs. 3.8%; and loans, 5.4% vs. -0.9%; * Studies showed steady gains in awareness and favorable perceptions among noncredit union members; and * Most member credit unions supported the campaign and indicated it should continue.
"We know many credit unions continue to face economic challenges," said Ray Brunner, PCUA board chairman. "But the fact is, looking at the growth statistics and the desire by the vast majority of our members to continue the campaign, it was the right decision." PCUA's Advocacy/Marketing Steering Committee will examine new channels and messaging to the younger demographic, he said. Assessments will continue on a three-tier system:
* Credit unions with asset sizes under $20 million will pay $7 per million assets; * Those with assets of $20 million to $50 million pay $27 per million; * Credit unions with assets more than $50 million pay $40 per million.
PCUA expects 2011's media budget to reach $1.1 million. PCUA's board approved a $50,000 boost from Pacul Services Inc., which is included in the budget total. iBelong is a media awareness ad campaign that focuses on the benefits of credit union membership. It began in Pennsylvania in 2006, and since then, other leagues have employed the program.

CO-OP Fin. Services reaffirms confidence in corp. system

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (9/30/10)--CO-OP Financial Services announced its confidence in the corporate credit union system in a press release Tuesday after word of the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA) actions Friday related to corporates. "After many years of partnering with the corporates, we reaffirm our confidence in the corporate system and believe it is still valid and valuable to the movement," said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. "CO-OP will continue to pursue an active role in the future of credit union payments, and we will seek partnerships to fulfill that goal with corporate credit unions and the natural-person credit unions that comprise their owner-members," Hollen added. The credit union service organization is "keenly interested in playing a lead role in the transition of bridge corporate payments-related activities to other credit union industry providers," he said. Hollen encouraged CO-OP's client credit unions and others in the industry to visit the website of the Credit Union National Association to keep up to date on the developments related to the corporate credit unions. CO-OP Financial Services' website also has information on its stand. Use the links for more information.

FinCEN plan wont affect CU remittances WOCCU says

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MADISON, Wis. (9/30/10)--A new plan by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to require financial institutions to report all international wire transfers to the government will not affect the World Council of Credit Union’s (WOCCU) remittances program, according to WOCCU. “The proposed rule change by FinCEN will not substantially affect our remittance program credit unions because they do not send or receive transfers directly,” said Saul Wolf, remittances manager for WOCCU’s IRnet. FinCEN’s proposal, released Monday, would target about 300 banks and 700 money services businesses that directly send or receive transfers to and from overseas, according to American Banker (Sept. 28). Under the proposal, banks would report all international wire transfers, regardless of amount, while money services businesses would track transfers of $1,000 or more. The proposal would not be effective until 2012, FinCEN said. The financial industry has 90 days to comment on it.

Georgia CUs join scam awareness push

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ATLANTA (9/30/10)--The Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) is announcing the start of a program in the state to protect consumers and financial institutions from fake check scams. GCUA joins the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and a banking trade group in the effort. Under the program, participating credit unions and banks will distribute a CFA brochure, “Don’t Become a Target,” to consumers who deposit checks or money orders of $1,000 or more or who withdraw $1,000 or more. About 60 credit unions and banks have signed up to participate. CFA will provide the brochures for free. The average loss to fake check scams is $3,000 to $4,000. In the scams, consumers receive a genuine-looking check or money order and are asked to wire money in return. The check also can be described as an advance on a sum that the consumer has won in a sweepstakes or lottery. The consumer is instructed to send money to pay taxes on the check. In other situations, consumers are recruited to work as mystery shoppers or to process payments for a company. They are instructed to send money as part of the job, but when the check or money order bounces, the victim owes the money back to the financial institution where it was deposited or cashed. “Fake check scams are a serious problem for consumers,” said Cindy Connelly, GCUA senior vice president of association services. “Credit unions want to do all they can to educate their members. Consumers and credit union personnel need to be able to recognize the warning signs of fraud to prevent it.” The Connecticut Credit Union League also has partnered with CFA on the project. Connecticut was chosen as the first state to launch the project because seniors are especially susceptible to fraud, and the state has a high number of people who are age 65 and older (News Now Sept. 15).

Iowa league swears in new board at convention

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DES MOINES, Iowa (9/30/10)--The Iowa Credit Union League swore in its new board members during the Iowa Credit Union Annual Convention Sept. 23.
Click to view larger image The Iowa Credit Union League recently swore in its board members during the annual convention. From left, front row, Tim Wallen, Ace Community CU; Brent Helin, Des Moines Metro CU; Pat Drennen, 1st Gateway CU; and Mike Whittie, Federal Employees CU. From left, back row, Dennis Choate, Quaker Oats CU; Vice Chair Tim Chapman, Members Community CU, Chair Joe Hearn, Dupaco Community CU; Janine Keim, Consumers CU; John Bentler, River Bend CU; Tim Marcsisak, Nishna Valley CU; and Denny Siemers, Town & Country CU. (Photo provided by the Iowa Credit Union League)
Joe Hearn, chief operating officer, Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque, was elected to serve as the 2011 board chair. Tim Chapman, CEO, Members Community CU, Muscatine, will serve as the 2011 vice chair. Additional board members include:
* John Bentler, River Bend CU, West Burlington; * Janine Keim, Consumers CU, Denison; * Dennis Choate, Quaker Oats CU, Cedar Rapids; * Tim Marcsisak, Nishna Valley CU, Atlantic; * Denny Siemers, Town & Country CU, Harlan; * Michael Whittie, Federal Employees CU, Des Moines; * Brent Helin, Des Moines Metro CU, Des Moines; * Tim Wallen, Ace Community CU, Ames; * Pat Drennen, 1st Gateway CU, Camanche; * Jim Hagerman, Linn Area CU, Cedar Rapids.