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N.Y. gov. signs historic FOM expansion bill

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ALBANY, N.Y. (12/19/14)--New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday signed into law a historic piece of pro-credit union legislation that will allow state-chartered credit unions to combine select employer groups, associations and community groups into a single field of membership.
 
The New York Credit Union Association (NYCUA) worked closely with Cuomo's office, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and lawmakers to help draft and advance the legislation. The law marks the first time that stand-alone, pro-credit union legislation--beyond federal parity legislation--has been incorporated into the state credit union act.
 
"New York has a long banking history and is largely considered a bankers' stronghold. But this law shows significant progress, and it sends a strong message that New York supports and recognizes the economic and financial importance of state-chartered credit unions," said NYCUA President/CEO William J. Mellin. "This law is a testament to many years of hard work and the positive relationships built between the association, the state's credit unions and our elected officials."
 
Under the new law, credit unions must still meet common-bond requirements. The law does not create any new affiliation or membership categories. The DFS will still be responsible for approving field of membership expansion requests.
 
The legislation passed through the state Legislature in June for the second time in two years. In 2013, a previous version of the legislation was vetoed by Cuomo, who was concerned that the bill diluted the authority of the DFS. However, the new law contains clarifying language regarding the DFS' authority, as well as language empowering the DFS to determine additional permissible investments for state-chartered credit unions.
 
NYCUA pushed for the new legislation in an effort to provide the state's credit unions with a viable, healthy, attractive and competitive alternative to the federal charter.
 
The law takes effect March 16.

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Christmas-New Year's week busiest for car shopping: Edmunds.com

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (12/19/14)--While the week between Christmas and New Year's is viewed as a bit of a break for many, it  will be the busiest car-shopping week of the year, according to Edmunds.com --and a prime time for credit unions to make vehicle loans.
 
Dubbing the week "New Car, New Year," Edmunds.com projects that new car sales during the final week of December will be 78% higher than the average a week earlier in December, while typically the last week of any month averages just 40% higher than the sales in earlier weeks.
 
"The final week of the year, between Christmas and New Year's, is a particularly exciting time for car shoppers," said Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor. "As the dealers look to sell the last of their 2014 model year vehicles, car shoppers will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of cars at affordable prices."
 
The company also noted that December is typically one of the most popular months for luxury car shopping, thanks in part to all of the marketing messages presented by some of the higher-end brands looking to close out the older model year inventory.
 
Edmunds.com offers these tips for holiday car shoppers:
  • Save big with 2014 models. Edmunds.com projects that year-end incentives and rebates will save shoppers an average of 10% off the manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) for 2014 model year vehicles, compared with 6% off MSRP for 2015 model vehicles. Those in the market for 2014 model year vehicles can save almost twice as much over 2015 models;
  • Go mobile. Shoppers can use their smartphones to research and lock in pricing before arriving at the dealership. Edmunds.com offers an app for shoppers to check pricing options while on the dealership lot;
  • Shop on the Internet. Using the Internet, car-shoppers can compare quotes and even set up a test-drive and lock in instant pricing once they've found the best deal; and
  • Get pre-approved financing. By working with a credit union, car shoppers can get their credit score, find out what interest rate they qualify for and have a loan in hand before hitting the dealerships.

CUs put the 'ho, ho, ho' in holiday greetings

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MADISON, Wis. (12/19/14)--A "Happy Holiday" can make someone's day merry, and credit unions and leagues created some memorable season's greetings this year.
 
Click to view larger image The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas collected 2014 highlights from its staff in a holiday video .
From the Ohio Credit Union League comes a YouTube playlist of the staff's favorite musical selections, including John Popper and Eric Clapton's "Christmas Without You" from President/CEO Paul Mercer, Straight No Chaser's "12 Days" from Bonnie Gall, CU Shared compliance specialist; and The Boston Pops' version of "Sleigh Ride" from Patrick Harris, director of legislative affairs.
 
The Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation's video offered a simple, heartfelt greeting from Executive Director Courtney Moran, Associate Director Staci Zale and Administrative Coordinator Cassandra Krumme: "We send our best wishes to you and yours during this holiday season."
 
Icon CU, Boise, Idaho, is serving up 12 days of Christmas cuisine with sweet, savory or spicy holiday recipes shared by staff of the $169 million-asset credit union.
 
Employees of Innovations FCU, Panama City Beach, Fla., with $157 million in assets, created a video with a lip-synced rendition of a capella group Pentatonix's "Carol of the Bells."
 
Tampa, Fla.-based Grow Financial FCU, with $1.9 billion in assets, shared the spirit of its #12DaysofMore campaign, looking back at the top moments from its "World of More" initiative.

Iowa loan growth 3 times national bank rate

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DES MOINES, Iowa (12/19/14)--Iowa credit unions reported a loan growth rate nearly three times faster than that of national banks in the third quarter, according to the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL).
 
"The increase in loan growth at Iowa credit unions is a reflection of consumers' confidence in the economy and their corresponding willingness to buy bigger ticket items this year," said Patrick S. Jury, ICUL president/CEO. "The consistent growth in membership and loans is reflective of how Iowa credit unions are working to improve the financial lives of their members."
 
Iowa credit unions posted a loan growth rate of 13.5%, according to National Credit Union Administration data. Particularly strong activity was reported in new auto lending, with 21.7% growth.
 
Consumer loans for the first nine months of 2014 were up $276.3 million from the third quarter 2013. Overall, Iowa credit unions originated $2.1 billion in consumer loans in the third quarter.
 
Total assets stand at $12.5 billion--a 6.8% increase from September 2013. Return-on-assets for third quarter 2014 stands at 1.09%. This reflects a three basis-point increase from the third quarter of 2013.
 
Membership increased 1.9% to 1,036,758 members, with Iowa credit unions adding almost 19,000 members in the last 12 months.
 
Nationally, federally insured credit unions have been reporting strong loan growth all year and that positive trend even picked up a bit during the third quarter of this year, according to National Credit Union Administration state-level data released earlier this month ( News Now Dec. 10).

For credit unions nationwide, the median growth rate for loans outstanding was 3.5% during the year ending in the third quarter. That was up from the 1.8% median growth rate in the year ending Sept. 30, 2013.

Panelists decrypt payment trends for CU leaders

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (12/19/14)--More than two dozen credit union executives received an education this week in new trends in the payments industry at a symposium held by the Massachusetts Credit Union League in Marlborough, Mass.

The Emerging Payment Trends Symposium--which focused on how to most appropriately spend credit union resources when it comes to payments--was led by four panelists who work intimately with or in the payments field.

Panelists included Leah Work, business development manager, CO-OP Financial Services; James Heystek, senior director, FIS; Robb Gaynor, co-founder, Malauzai Inc.; and Tim Segerson, deputy director of the Office of Examination and Insurance, National Credit Union Administration.

Together, the group worked to help clarify for attendees the risks and opportunities associated with EMV/chip technology, tokenization, mobile banking and e-wallets.

Work addressed EMV technology and the process the industry is going through to fully adopt it in the United States.

Whether credit unions choose to adopt EMV technology by October 2015--the deadline mandated by the government--they still must bolster fraud-monitoring activities and be prepared once fraud occurs, Work said.

The reason is because most large retailers will have implemented the technology by the deadline, and any costs associated with fraud at that point will fall in the laps of credit unions that aren't EMV ready.

Heystek, meanwhile, focused his discussion on Apple Pay and tokenization. He spoke about his company and how it works with financial institutions to help them determine whether they can adopt and offer Apple Pay to members and customers.

Heystek also said that while many consumers who use Apple products have signed up for Apple Pay, other companies that offer tokenization might take charge of the market in the future.

Gaynor spoke about e-wallet technology, and explained that credit unions should prepare their members for widespread adoption of this technology by leveraging existing wallet innovations, such as picture pay, debit card management--where a member can turn on and off his or her debit card--and a future cash calendar. 

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Iowa's Jury elected treasurer for World Council exec committee

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DES MOINES, Iowa (12/19/14)--The World Council of Credit Unions has selected Pat Jury, president/CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League, to serve as executive committee treasurer for the council's board.

The World Council board is made up of representatives from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Guatemala, Jamaica, Poland and Australia. Jury, a 20-year veteran of the league, has served as president/CEO of the Illinois league since 2006.

"The World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system," Jury said. "It is an honor to serve on the World Council's executive committee to help improve the financial lives of members worldwide."

In addition to his service with the league, Jury also represents Iowa credit union interests as an executive committee member of the Credit Union National Association.  

"Pat has provided strong strategic and forward-looking guidance for the World Council and its members in the areas of advocacy and payments innovation," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "He (also) has earned the respect of credit union leaders in Australia, Panama, Poland and Guatemala where he has led cross-border engagements on credit union system evolution."
 

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MCUL reward unused on arrests for string of CU robberies

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LIVONIA, Mich. (12/19/14)--A reward fund amassed by the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) to help investigators track down criminals allegedly behind a string of recent credit union robberies went unused, but police officials said they were glad the fund was still available.
 
Six people have been federally charged in connection with eight robberies of six credit unions in Michigan. The men were picked up following a traffic stop Dec. 11 and were allegedly on their way to rob another credit union ( Monitor Dec. 17).
 
To help bring in the criminals, the Michigan league collected money from credit unions to form a fund that would have served as a reward for any help that led to arrests. In all, the league received $5,000, which MCUL said it would have doubled.
 
In the end, the suspects were caught and the reward wasn't used.
 
"We've had very good feedback from several credit union CEOs thanking us for the efforts in organizing the pledges and working with the Lansing Police Department, even though it wasn't actually utilized this go around," said Ken Ross, MCUL executive vice president/chief operating officer. "The Lansing police were very thankful for our efforts to make a reward available if the investigation stalled."
 
Eight robberies of credit unions were listed in the affidavit in support of the federal complaint, including incidents at Astera CU, Lansing, with $153 million in assets; Lake Trust CU, Brighton, with $1.6 billion in assets; Genisys CU, Auburn Hills, with $1.6 billion in assets; CASE CU, Lansing, with $249 million in assets; and Community Choice CU, Farmington Hills, with $531 million in assets.

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CU System briefs (12/19/14)

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  • SAN FRANCISCO (12/19/14)--The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Thursday announced appointments to its Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. Elizabeth Dooley, president/CEO, Educational Employees CU, Fresno, Calif., with $2.2 billion in assets, joins the 12th District's council , which currently includes two other credit union representatives. David Doss, president/CEO, Arizona State CU, Phoenix, with $1.6 billion in assets, and Robert Stuart, president/CEO, OnPoint Community CU, Portland, Ore., with $3.4 billion assets, also are on the council, which provides input on economic and banking conditions, regulatory policies and payment issues to the Federal Reserve Bank's senior management ...
  • SALT LAKE CITY (12/19/14)--After roughly 40 years in the same location, the Utah Credit Union Association will move its headquarters in May ( Association Update Dec. 17). It announced it will move to offices on the fourth floor of a building owned by American First FCU, Riverdale, Utah, with $6.2 billion in assets. The credit union also has a branch on the first floor. The league said the location has more space for training and a parking structure, as well as being closer to policymakers ...

    BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (12/19/14)-- Dave Von Derau, director of retail mortgages at Wright Patt CU, Beavercreek, Ohio, has been named president of the Dayton (Ohio) Mortgage Bankers Association , which represents 115 companies and more than 250 individual members in the real estate finance industry. For five years, Von Derau has directed online and member center mortgage loan volume for the $2.8 billion-asset credit union ...
  • BOISE, Idaho (12/19/14)-- Val Guenther, president/CEO, Lewis Clark CU, Lewiston, Idaho, will retire from the $49 million-asset credit union in early 2015 and also step down as vice chair of the Idaho Credit Union League ( Gem Dec. 3). In 2007, Guenther was elected to the League Services Inc. board of directors where she also served as vice chair. She also was the regional voting district representative (RVD) from the North Idaho RVD on the league's board. In November, the boards of both the league and its subsidiary recognized Guenther for her service ...
     
  • DALLAS (12/19/14)-- CICOST FCU, Sherman, Texas, with $19 million in assets, will merge with Dallas-based City CU, with $280 million in assets , effective Jan. 1. The Sherman branch will remain open as City CU plans to keep on the current staff of CICOST ...
     

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