Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive

CU System Archive

CU System

Fire damages new Bellco CU building

 Permanent link
DENVER (9/10/09)--A fire that started on Sunday night damaged a new branch site of Bellco CU in Grand Junction, Colo., according to local media. The fire started in an air conditioner on the roof of the building. A passing motorist saw the flames around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night and called the fire department. The Grand Junction Fire Department was able to put out the fire before it caused serious damage (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Sept. 7). The credit union building was being remodeled from a restaurant during the past three months, but will open on time despite the fire, said Nancy Hill, vice president of Bellco’s Western Slope branch. The credit union’s interior was not affected and there was no smell of smoke. Damages are estimated at $100,000, but the estimate may be high, the newspaper said.

SECU partners with others to fight foreclosures

 Permanent link
RALEIGH, N.C. (9/10/09)--State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) and its members are partnering with the Center for Responsible Lending, the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks (NCCOB) and Capital Broadcasting Corporation to launch a major media effort to reach homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The “Fight NC Foreclosure” campaign aims to educate the public on the foreclosure crisis and provide guidance on where to turn for help. The campaign will include repeated public service announcements (PSAs) on prime-time television, combined with a visible presence on a website. “Fight NC Foreclosure” is set to launch with a press conference Tuesday and run through December. The PSAs will highlight the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project, bringing North Carolinians an awareness of resources available to prevent foreclosures. The project aims to increase the percentage of North Carolina homeowners who save their homes, and also prevent consumers from becoming victims of foreclosure scams, especially scams affecting those with subprime mortgages. While the credit union has never, and will never, originate subprime loans, SECU, as a non-profit cooperative, feels strongly about helping North Carolinians who may be in subprime situations, SECU said. And, SECU will assist its own members who have experienced loss of income in recent months, the credit union added. In February, SECU launched a Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP), which offers members an opportunity to meet in person with a senior officer of SECU and develop an individualized financial plan if members have concerns about future payments on their SECU mortgage. Options in MAP include mortgage loan extensions, mortgage loan modifications or refinances, and partial payment alternatives. Budgeting, financial counseling and overall debt restructuring are also part of the MAP initiative--free to the SECU membership. “Based on our most recent data, we estimate that one out of every 12 mortgage-holders in North Carolina will face foreclosure between now and 2013 unless drastic steps are taken to reverse the trend,” said Susan Lupton, senior policy associate with the Center for Responsible Lending. “The ‘Fight NC Foreclosure’ outreach campaign will hopefully make a tremendous difference in educating those who desperately need the help to stay in their homes. We are extremely pleased to have SECU as a partner on this campaign.” Mark Pearce, NCCOB deputy commissioner added: “Foreclosures don’t have to happen. Even if our state’s citizens have experienced hard times, they may be able to keep their home if they take advantage of available resources. The state of North Carolina has a network of free counselors and partners like SECU, who have processes in place to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.” “SECU understands the importance of helping members improve their financial lives--it’s the mission of SECU and goes hand in hand with the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy of the Credit Union,” said Phil Greer, senior vice president of SECU’s Loan Administration department. “And even if our cooperative was not part of the subprime debacle, we must help to educate all North Carolinians on the resources available to them during these difficult economic times. “The ‘Fight NC Foreclosures’ campaign is a great way to get the word out to all North Carolinians, letting them know of available assistance,” he added. “We strongly encourage all SECU members who are struggling with possible foreclosure or loss of income to reach out to the Credit Union. We’re here to help.”

Wash. league commends TARP special inspector

 Permanent link
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (9/10/09)--The Washington Credit Union League last week commended the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), Neil Barofsky, for asserting his office’s autonomy from the U.S. Department of Treasury, in tracking money spent to bail out the financial system through TARP. The letter called the move “essential” to investigations and audits of the biggest bank bailout in history. The letter was written on the heels of Treasury withdrawing a request to the Justice Department that sought a legal opinion on how much independence is given to the Special Inspector General, who tracks money spent through TARP to bail out the financial system. “The stand taken by the Special Inspector General is important for institutional independence as industry leaders devise a plan for prosperity in the 21st century,” said league President/CEO John Annaloro. Meanwhile, Barofsky told members of Congress in a letter that Treasury’s withdrawal of its request for an opinion is acknowledgement of SIGTARP’s independence. The letter to Barofsky also conveyed appreciation from Washington credit unions for the achievements made to date and also the important role the Special Inspector General is fulfilling in the administration of the U.S. government’s efforts to rebuild the financial sector.

Mich. league-backed fin-lit bill passes state House

 Permanent link
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (9/10/09)--A bill that would allow Michigan high school students to take a personal finance course in place of a second algebra class passed the Michigan State House Sept. 3. The bill is backed by the Michigan Credit Union League. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D-West Branch), would allow students to replace the required second algebra class with a personal finance course. The bill opens the door for young people to receive lessons in money management, the league said (Michigan Monitor Sept. 8). High school students in Michigan must complete algebra I, geometry, algebra II and another math credit to graduate. Last year, a law passed to allow a personal finance course to count as the fourth math credit. Sheltrown’s legislation takes the change one step further, the league said. “We’re hopeful the Senate will move their version of the bill and that it will ultimately land on the governor’s desk, so more students can have the option of receiving money management skills that will be necessary as they get older,” said Marcia Hune, league vice president of government and public affairs. A Senate version of the bill, sponsored by State Sen. Wayne Kulpera (R-Holland), is on the Senate floor.

Ensweiler wins Wegner Award

 Permanent link
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/10/09)--Texas Credit Union League President and Credit Union Development Educator Dick Ensweiler will receive the 2010 Wegner Award for Individual Achievement at this year’s Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). The award will be one of four presented at the 22nd Annual Wegner Awards Dinner hosted by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Feb. 22. The gala will take place at the Grand Hyatt Washington on the Monday night of the GAC. Ensweiler embodies timeless qualities of U.S. credit union movement founder Ed Filene, who always urged credit union advocates to “Keep purpose constant,” said NCUF Awards and Recognition Committee Chairman Bob Schumacher. “Dick Ensweiler is a rare individual who has kept his purpose constant while advancing his career all the way from a teller at a small credit union to the chairman of our largest trade association,” Schumacher reflected. “Every organization Dick has touched has grown to become more successful. His secret to success is simple: Live the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people;’ practice all seven cooperative principles; and always act in the best interests of your members.” “I have seen Dick’s Midas touch at work many a time,” observed Harriet May, president/CEO of Greater El Paso’s CU. “Dick came to the Texas Credit Union League at the lowest point in its history. Not only did Dick restore trust and belief in the organization, he took it to new levels of respect and admiration within the credit union movement. “His strategy: Continue to share and live the vision of the credit union movement; exhibit strong, tireless, and inspiring leadership; and get people involved at all levels,” she added. Ensweiler has been involved with:
* American Association of Credit Union Leagues; * Credit Union House; * Credit Union Legislative Action Council; * CUNA; * CUNA Mutual Group; * CUNA Strategic Services; * Illinois Credit Union Foundation; * Illinois Credit Union League; * Illinois Youth Involvement Council; * League InfoSight; * Michigan Credit Union League; * Minnesota Credit Union League; * NCUF; * Southwest Corporate FCU; * Southwest CUNA Management School; * Texas Credit Union League, and; * World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
He also helped advance many programs, including:
* Credit Union Development Education, NCUF’s program that trains credit union leaders to leverage the cooperative business model as a competitive advantage; * Image Survey, the Texas CU League’s benchmark/planning tool to improve services based on members’ needs; * International Remittance Network, WOCCU’s affordable alternative to expensive country-to-country wire transfers; * Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance), the Texas CU League’s program to help credit unions reach first-generation immigrants; * Loss Avoidance Alert System, the Internet application that informs credit unions with near-immediate updates on fraud and other illegal financial activities; * Members Financial Services Network, CUNA Mutual Group’s comprehensive investment management program; and * Richard L. Ensweiler Fund, a special community investment fund that pools dividends to educate early-generation Hispanics about the benefits of credit unions.

Southeast Corporate CEO will retire in 2010

 Permanent link
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (9/10/09)--Southeast Corporate CEO Bill Birdwell announced he is proceeding with plans to retire when he turns 65 in February. “Together we have built a solid management team at Southeast Corporate and they demonstrate to me and to members every day their high level of commitment and knowledge,” Birdwell’s said. “I am very proud of them and I know your needs will continue to be well-met.” “Finding a replacement for [Birdwell] has been a work in progress,” said Southeast Board Chairman Tim McMurry, who reported that a search is actively underway to find his replacement. McMurry called Birdwell a “true craftsman” of corporate credit unions with a deep devotion to the credit union movement. Birdwell’s more-than-30-year’s tenure in the credit union movement also includes service at Southwest Corporate, WesCorp and Volunteer Corporate. “His leadership within the industry has had a positive impact and will be sorely missed,” McMurry said. The right replacement will be capable of positioning Southeast Corporate to continue to serve credit unions in the future, McMurry said. The board is reviewing candidate qualifications and hopes to make a decision by year-end.