LSCU eSignal Weekly
LSCU eNews Weekly March 7, 2011
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LSCU eNews Weekly
In This Issue
LSCU Headlines
President's Point
Sen. Udall to introduce member business lending bill
CUNA's Cheney warns reg burden is growing 'crisis'
Credit unions bring message to Washington D.C. at the CUNA GAC
Kiplinger touts credit union advantage in column
Florida credit unions now have the opportunity to provide debt protection to members
Start thinking about entries/nominations for 2011 LSCU Awards, information to be available this week
Governmental Affairs News
Register today for one of the LSCU State GACs
Florida roundup: Public deposits bill filed, high-speed rail off the tracks
Alabama roundup: Legislative update, Republican handshake with Alabama
Washington update: This week in Washington, committee hearings
Project Zip Code helps credit unions and the League
Alabama amusement park consignment tickets coming soon
PACs ... did you know?
Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Treasury issues new Federal Benefit Garnishment Procedures
Compliance calendar and training
Cooperative Initiatives News
CUNA's 'Youth Saving Challenge' adds 139 credit unions
Save the date for Small Asset Size Credit Union Workshop
POC FCU use Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program to help low-income residents
Education News
2011 BSA Training Opportunities
Don't miss out! Register for LSCU Councils today
Education Calendar
LEVERAGE News
Get more bang for your buck with Office Depot BSD program
News from You
Credit unions benefit from Southeast Corporate town hall meetings
America's First FCU donates bikes to local students during annual training day event
Insight CU supports local veterans with Valentines Veterans Campaign
PGA CU President Dolly Champey to retire after 35 years of service
EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs
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President's Point

Back on Feb. 23, I traveled to Alexandria, Virginia to meet with NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz, along with the league presidents from Wisconsin, Texas, and Missouri and CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney. The meeting was arranged to discuss the growing regulatory burden credit unions are facing as well as other issues regarding the NCUA and credit unions mounting frustrations with the agency. Most of the NCUA’s senior staff was also present.

One of the main concerns for credit unions has been the aggressive nature of some NCUA examiners and how they are treating credit unions on examination issues. I have heard this issue many times among Alabama and Florida credit unions. Chairman Matz told us that credit unions must be willing to challenge any unwarranted and/or inappropriate actions by examiners and report them to the appropriate supervisory examiner and, if need be, to the regional director. That’s why CUNA and the leagues developed the Credit Union Examination Rights manual. If a credit union is concerned about possible retaliation of the examiner, they should feel free to contact me directly to make the appropriate contact on their behalf (confidentially).   
 
This topic led to a discussion about communication issues between the agency and credit unions. There is clearly a disconnect between the Central Office and the challenges credit unions are facing every day out in the “real world.” Unfortunately the “Beltway” mentality seems to be common on both sides of the Potomac River. NCUA Region III Director Herb Yolles has told me a number of times that he’s working with his staff to improve their communications skills and how they communicate the results of exams. Everything from the budget to proposed regulations, it’s not what the NCUA is saying most of the time but how they are communicating it externally to credit unions that needs to improve. We also talked about how the NCUA, CUNA, and state leagues can work together to facilitate a more positive regulatory environment. Herb Yolles has invited me to address a meeting of all the examiners from Region III in June. I look forward to the opportunity to address some of these examination issues at this time.

Another topic that we discussed with Chairman Matz was the ongoing corporate stabilization issues and how the assessments are affecting credit unions. Chairman Matz said the agency is researching ways to allow credit unions to make prepayment to the stabilization fund that could be expensed out over future years, similar to what the FDIC is currently doing with banks.
 
On behalf of Alabama and Florida credit unions, it was good that I was asked to represent our region at this meeting with the NCUA. I had a private follow-up meeting with Chairman Matz during the CUNA GAC to reiterate some of the points made in the meeting and to continue to offer my assistance in helping bridge the disconnect between the agency and the industry. I hope you know that the League understands the regulatory and compliance burden credit unions are under right now and that we are working hard to make the operating environment better for you. At our State Governmental Affairs Conferences (GACs), Mar. 30-31 in Montgomery and Apr. 13-14 in Tallahassee, Herb Yolles will be in attendance along with the new state regulators in Alabama and Florida. At the LSCU State GACs, our member credit unions will have the opportunity to hear directly from the regulators. I hope you will consider attending one of these events. As always, please pass along any feedback to me.       

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Sen. Udall to introduce member business lending bill

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) addressed the crowd at the CUNA GAC by announcing the release of a bipartisan letter stating his intention to introduce legislation that would raise the member business lending (MBL) cap from 12.25 percent of assets to 27.5 percent. 

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) also addressed the CUNA GAC by saying he would re-introduce an MBL bill on the House side soon.

Sen. Udall also presented a letter, co-signed by himself, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), which describes the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which would allow credit unions to increase their small business lending. The letter also reiterates that raising the MBL cap will inject an expected $10 billion in the U.S. Economy and create an estimated 100,000 jobs.

"We worked this out," said Sen. Udall. "It makes sense. We ought to put it into law. We came very close last year."

The parameters of Sen. Udall's bill states that to go above 12.25 percent for MBLs, a credit union must be well capitalized and have a history of MBL experience, be near the lower cap for one year prior to exceeding it, and receive approval by the NCUA to lend in excess of the old cap. After a higher limit is approved, if the credit union's net worth drops below 7 percent, its must halt further member business lending.

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CUNA's Cheney warns reg burden is growing 'crisis'
Credit unions, owned by their members, already have strong incentives to treat consumers well, but they face a crushing "crisis of creeping complexity" under a steady accumulation of regulatory requirements, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney testified before a House subcommittee Wednesday. In opening statements to the hearing, subcommittee member after member voiced concerns about one of those burdens--the interchange fee regulations contained in the Dodd-Frank Act.

Cheney noted for the panel that as credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, members are the ones who receive the benefit of ownership, through reduced fees, lower interest costs, and higher rates on savings.

"Every dollar that a credit union spends complying with an unnecessary or overly burdensome regulation is a dollar that is not used to benefit the credit union's membership," Cheney stated.

He warned that the increasing regulatory requirements pursuant to Dodd-Frank and other government initiatives--called by some the "creeping crisis of complexity"--is a major driver behind current credit union consolidations, making it impossible for smaller credit unions to exist.

He added that credit unions are concerned that the increasing regulatory burdens also stifle innovation.

To read the complete story, click here. To read Bill Cheney's testimony, click here.

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Credit unions bring message to Washington D.C. at the CUNA GAC

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) addresses credit unions backstage at the CUNA GAC

The number of credit union officials from Alabama and Florida that traveled to Washington D.C. for the CUNA GAC grew this year to 131. The LSCU hosted hospitality events Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evening to welcome credit unions, give them time to relax and network, as well as provide updates on changes to the Hill visits for Wednesday and Thursday.

The League facilitated more than 30 Hill visits on Wednesday and four visits with Senate staff on Thursday, which included a brief talk with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). The message to the lawmakers were formed around preserving the tax exemption, interchange fees, member business lending and supplemental capital.  Each lawmaker or staff was briefed on the credit union position on each topic and credit unions gave real life examples of how they could better serve their members. 

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) meets with credit unions from South Florida.

Highlighting the lawmaker visits was a brief meeting between Alabama and Florida credit unions and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL). Chairman Bachus told the group that the interchange fees proposal by the Federal Reserve does not do what it was intended to do. He reiterated that credit unions didn't cause the problems other financial institutions did in 2008. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) was more pointed in her comments to credit unions. She said that the interchange fees train had left the station, but there was work that could be done before it was over. She also said the Durbin amendment was flawed and unfair. She told credit unions that there are lawmakers in Washington willing to work for them. 

In a Hill meeting with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Baptist Health South FCU CEO Michael Raley talked about how the loss of interchange fee income will keep his credit union from doing more student lending. It was important that lawmakers and staff hear directly from the credit unions, especially considering Alabama and Florida have so many freshman in Washington D.C.  

"With so many new members of our Congressional delegations," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "These meetings were critical to educate them about the credit union difference and show why credit unions are tax exempt and how they serve their membership. 

"In the meetings I attended, I felt like the message was consistent and that our lawmakers understood our position."

The CUNA GAC General Sessions included appearances by Sully Sullenberger, pilot of the "Miracle on the Hudson" plane. Sullenberger told credit unions to seize opportunities that come their way. He said he was training for that one moment all his life. Mary Matalin and Arianna Huffington gave opposing political views that turned out to be more of a talk about serving those in need and how the credit unions are working to provide services to the underserved.   

The LSCU produced four daily videos, which can be found in the LSCU Video Center, that show the CUNA GAC General Sessions, Hill visits, and the experiences of Alabama and Florida credit unions. For questions about the video, contact LSCU VP, Marketing and Communications Mike Bridges at 866.231.0545 ext. 1022.

Kayce Bell, COO, Alabama CU with Marquetta Cantrell, Manager, Rocket City FCU

 

Mary Ott Wood, CEO, Florida West Coast CU, Art Wood, CEO, Railroad & Industrial FCU with LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine

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Kiplinger touts credit union advantage in column

The Kiplinger website has a column, The Credit Union Advantage, dated Mar. 1, 2011. Columnist Cameron Huddleston writes briefly about credit unions and how they have had to raise fees, but that the fees are still lower than the banks. 

Huddleston cites data from a March 2011 "Bankrate.com Credit Union Checking Study" of the largest 50 credit unions in the country. The study shows that 76 percent of credit unions offer free checking with no strings attached while another 20 percent waive fees if the member signs up for direct deposit or estatements. The study finds that only 65 percent of banks are offering free checking with no strings attached. 

The column looks at ATM fees and the study shows that credit unions charge, on average, $1 to $1.50 for out-of -network ATMs. Banks are charging, on average, $2 per out of network transaction on top of the out-of-network fee. 

To read the entire column, click here.  [ Return to Top ]

Florida credit unions now have the opportunity to provide debt protection to members

As of late December, CUNA Mutual, a LEVERAGE partner, is the first company to have Debt Protection rates approved in Florida for credit unions. CUNA Mutual has been working with the League and lobbying for this product to be available for years. The Florida Insurance Department forms are pending, and expected to be approved shortly. This is good news for Florida credit unions and their members.

While Debt Protection isn't for every credit union -- CUNA Mutual’s credit insurance provides an excellent solution to meet member and credit union needs -- it does afford additional benefits, such as involuntary unemployment protection for members, the ability for credit unions to design program benefits with CUNA Mutual and set the retail price, avoid staff licensing, and extending the credit union's brand (Debt Protection may be private-labeled from CUNA Mutual). 

CUNA Mutual has more credit union clients on Debt Protection than any other provider in the credit union industry and will work with credit unions to assess its needs and find the right solution – which may include Debt Protection.

CUNA Mutual sales representatives will be contacting credit unions soon with more information about the many benefits of this new product and how it may be the right fit for your credit union.

For more information, click here to visit CUNA Mutual's website.

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Start thinking about entries/nominations for 2011 LSCU Awards, information to be available this week

The League of Southeastern Credit Unions is proud to recognize those professionals, volunteers, and credit unions that have made outstanding contributions to the development and growth of the credit union movement in Alabama and Florida.

Start thinking about your entry/nomination for one of the following awards:

  • CEO of the Year

The Credit Union CEO of the Year Award recognizes a credit union professional that deserves recognition for their contributions to advance the credit union movement in their state and the nation.

  • Volunteer of the Year

The Credit Union Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes the credit union volunteer who has selflessly contributed time, effort, and talent to the development of the credit union movement in their state.

  • Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes lifelong service to the credit union movement reaching beyond the natural person credit union.

  • CU of the Year Award

The award recognizes an individual credit union for its outstanding achievements in the various areas of day-to-day operations, financial prowess, and community outreach. This award will be judged based on credit union asset size categories.

  • Brother’s Keeper Award

The Brother's Keeper Award recognizes exceptional efforts by credit unions to provide ongoing assistance to developing credit unions through various means.

In addition, the LSCU and the CUNA sponsor three recognition programs for credit unions: the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award Program, the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award, and the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award.

These programs identify credit unions that demonstrate the credit union "People-Helping-People" philosophy. The Dora Maxwell Award program honors the work of credit unions in the community, the Louise Herring Award program recognizes the practical application of credit union philosophy in daily internal operations, and the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award recognizes leadership within the credit union movement on behalf

Information on all listed awards is available on www.lscu.coop. Click here to visit the awards webpage.

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Governmental Affairs News
Register today for one of the LSCU State GACs

Register today for one of the LSCU State Government Affairs Conferences (GAC) coming up Mar. 30-31 in Montgomery and Apr. 13-14 in Tallahassee. Credit unions are encouraged to attend in their respective state. The state GACs are built to inform credit unions of the hot legislative and regulatory issues, as well as put them in front of their lawmakers for short lobby sessions.

The state GACs will feature NCUA Region III Director Herb Yolles, CUNA VP, Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan, and each state's regulators. These events are great opportunities for credit unions to become involved with the grassroots nature of the credit union movement. A PAC fundraising roundtable, along with PAC Best practices, will also be featured. 

  • To learn more about the Alabama State GAC and to register, visit the LSCU Alabama GAC page.
  • To learn more about the Florida State GAC and to register, visit the LSCU Florida GAC page.

Each state GAC will also feature a pre-conference financial literacy training for credit union directors. This will help credit unions come into compliance with the new NCUA rule.

For more information on the LSCU State GACs, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545 ext. 2137.

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Florida roundup: Public deposits bill filed, high-speed rail off the tracks

While the LSCU Government Affairs team spent the week in Washington, D.C., they continued to keep an eye on what was going on in Tallahassee.

LSCU Legislation Update

Last week, the LSCU provided an update on the filing of SB 1332 by Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples), the senate version of the Office of Financial Regulation’s financial institutions bill. This week, Rep. Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola), filed the companion measure in the House, HB 1121. Neither bill has been referenced for committee yet, but the LSCU is continuing to follow their progress.

Rep. Ingram last week filed HB 999 which would allow credit unions to accept public funds in Florida. This week, the bill was referred to two committees, the Insurance and Banking subcommittee, and the Economic Affairs Committee. The LSCU is awaiting the official filing of the senate companion, but have been assured by Sen. Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale) that it will be filed this week. The LSCU GA team will be calling upon their grassroots network at the appropriate time to help ensure that the Legislature knows how important this piece of legislation is to their members.

Also affecting LSCU members is legislation that was filed to increase the rates on title loans. If passed,SB 990 by Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) and HB 877 by Rep. Joseph Gibbons (D-Pembroke Park) title lenders will be allowed to charge up to 264-percent interest on title loans, more than eight times higher than permitted under current law. Title lenders are notorious for preying on consumers who can least afford their services, such as retired military, and the League wants to make sure they can do whatever they can to help protect membership. The League was part of the effort 10 years ago to lower these predatory lending habits, and they have once again signed on to defeat this practice. If you are interested in voicing your opposition to this legislation, please contact members of the Senate Banking and Insurance committee and the House Business & Consumers Affairs Subcommittee.

High-Speed Rail Off the Tracks

Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to decline $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail dollars was upheld Friday by the Florida Supreme Court. In a 7-0 decision, the Court found that attorneys for two state senators had failed to demonstrate that Gov. Scott had exceeded his authority by turning down the money. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) has said federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will review whether the money can be sent directly to local governments who recently formed the new regional rail coalition in Florida. If this cannot be done, the money will be sent to other states.

Welcome to Miami, Mr. President

President Obama spent Friday morning in Miami, appearing with former Gov. Jeb Bush at Miami Central High School. The President and former governor were appearing at an event on education reform. In an interesting twist, current Gov. Rick Scott and his wife Ann, greeted the President as Air Force One landed in Miami. Scott and Obama have been at odds in past weeks over the previously mentioned high-speed rail dollars.

Florida to Gamble on Gambling?

Sens. Dennis Jones (R-Seminole) and Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach) filed a bill on Friday that would expand gambling statewide in Florida. SB 1708 would allow for five “Destination Resorts,” one in each part of the state – if local voters approved. Touting economic development, the bi-partisan plan would require a refundable $50 million application fee and a $1 million licensing fee. The bill would require casino owners to build a minimum 500,000 square-feet of meeting and convention space and at least 1,000 hotel rooms. Casino space would be limited to 10 percent of the entire project.

Session Begins Tuesday

Just a reminder that the 2011 Legislative Session begins on Tuesday, Mar. 8 and will last for 60 days, concluding on May 6. While the biggest question facing lawmakers is how to plug a $3.62 billion hole in the budget, there will be several other issues that will come up. The LSCU will continue to keep you updated throughout the session, and remember to be on the lookout for grassroots alerts that may come your way.

If you have any questions on the Florida Legislature, contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jared Ross at 866.231.0545 ext. 1012.

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Alabama roundup: Legislative update, Republican handshake with Alabama

Amid reported infighting within the new Republican majority, it seems as if the goal of this legislative session is to pass the Education and General Fund Budgets and go home as soon as possible. Both budgets were introduced on Mar. 3 and as expected contain severe cuts not only for schools and state agencies, but also many local nonprofits, charities, and educational institutions that traditionally would get a piece of the pie. This has many around Alabama concerned, but in tough economic times there doesn’t seem to be another option. With a smaller than normal amount of bills introduced in the first two days, it only strengthens the theory that the number one priority is to pass the state’s two budgets.

Republican Handshake with Alabama

A lot of the other business taken up in committee during the first week dealt with the Republican Handshake with Alabama. These issues included immigration reform, DROP legislation repeal, additional campaign finance reform, a voter photo I.D. bill, and exempting Alabama from the federal health care mandate.  Having these pieces of legislation come out of committee in the first week of the session again strengthens the idea of a shortened session. In Alabama, a legislative session consists of 30 meeting days (days where legislators are on the floor voting) held within 100 calendar days. We could easily see this legislature adjourn an entire 30 to 40 calendar days early.

So far, the session has been tame compared to year’s past and in analyzing introduced bills, that trend may continue. A majority of the controversial pieces introduced year-after-year are absent up to this point. However, that does not mean they will not be introduced at a later date. In fact, some may. Many groups are taking a wait and see approach with the new legislature, trying to feel out the new leadership and environment first. The absence of controversial legislation, coupled with a lower than usual number of bills introduced in the first two days, indicates most larger pet issues are being withheld for now.

The LSCU Governmental Affairs team will continue to keep you updated on the 2011 Legislative Session through eSignal on a weekly basis, including all legislative activity as it pertains to credit unions and LSCU.

If you have any questions on the Alabama Legislature, contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jason Cochran at 866.231.0545 ext. 2159.

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Washington update: This week in Washington, committee hearings

This Week in Washington

The house and the senate are back at it this week. The House returns tomorrow and will consider two bills under suspension of the Rules. On Wednesday, the house and senate will conduct a joint meeting to receive an address from The Honorable Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia.  After the joint meeting, the House is expected to consider H.R. 830, the FHA Refinance Program Termination Act and H.R. 836, the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act. Both of these acts were approved by the Financial Services Committee last week. The issue was split between parties, with Democrats citing the possible negative effect that might be created by terminating these programs, while the Republican majority argued that the combined cost of the programs of $9 billion was not creating the benefit necessary for their continuation.

The senate comes back Monday and will consider several judicial nominations in the afternoon before proceeding to vote on a motion to invoke cloture on S. 23, the Patent Reform Act. On Tuesday, the senate is expected to take test votes on the house-passed Continuing Resolution for the remainder of the fiscal year as well as a Democratic alternative; both are expected to fail to achieve the 60-vote threshold needed to invoke cloture. Negotiations between Vice President Biden and the leaders in both chambers are expected to continue. The current continuing resolution expires on Mar. 18 and another short-term CR is expected to be needed.

Committee Schedule

There are several Committee hearings and meetings of note this week:

On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Peter Diamond to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors; Katharine Abraham to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Carl Shapiro to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), and Erskine Bowles, former White House Chief of Staff, Co-Chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, are expected to testify. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on "Does the Tax System Support Economic Efficiency, Job Creation and Broad-Based Economic Growth?"  This hearing will feature several witnesses from academia.

Also on Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a field hearing on "The Foreclosure Crisis," focusing on abuses by mortgage servicing companies, including allegations of fraud. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and others will testify. This hearing will take place in Baltimore, MD.

On Wednesday, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on "Distribution and Efficiency of Spending in the Tax Code." Witnesses from the Center for Budget and Policy, Citizens for Tax Justice, and the Tax Foundation are expected to testify. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on the state of the housing market. Witnesses from the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors and the Center for Housing Policy are expected to testify.

Also on Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a full committee markup of H.R.839, the "HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) Termination Act"; and H.R.861, the "Neighborhood Stabilization Program Termination Act."

On Thursday, Mar. 10, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a markup of pending nominations and legislation, including S. 222, the Limiting Investor and Homeowner Loss in Foreclosure Act of 2010. Also on Thursday, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on "Lifting the Crushing Burden of Debt." Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of American Action Forum and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, is expected to testify.

On Friday, Mar. 11, the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises will hold a hearing on "Legislative Proposals to Create a Covered Bond Market in the United States." The House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity will hold a hearing on the re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.

MBL and Interchange

Due in large part to the efforts made during the CUNA GAC and the Capitol Hill meetings last week, the LSCU feels the needle has been moved on the interchange issue as well as the member business lending (MBL) issue. The League continues to pursue the introduction of legislation on these issues, and expect additional information to be available later this week.

The LSCU thanks all of the Alabama and Florida officials who traveled to Washington last week for the CUNA GAC, and for helping tell the credit union story to our lawmakers, and provide a strong voice on legislative issues. 

If you have any questions regarding these or any legislative issues, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545 ext. 2137.

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Project Zip Code helps credit unions and the League

Project Zip Code (PZC) is available to all credit unions and the League hopes they utilize it. PZC is a program that locates all of the credit union's members by zip code only. It's a nice marketing tool for each credit union so that they can target their members easily by zip code. Knowing the volume of its membership by area is helpful to make the credit union's marketing more efficient.

Using PZC is not only useful for credit unions but it will also aid in the advocacy efforts of the League. It is helpful for the League's Governmental Affairs staff when talking to federal and state legislators and showing that they do indeed have credit union members in their districts.  

PZC is free and it provides a view of congressional districts and which districts have the most credit union members. The program is available online and is easy to run; just click on the link, www.pzconline.com/install, and get started. Since the release of PZC 11.0, more than 400 credit unions have downloaded and run the new version, matching more than 11 million members.

If your credit union would like more information about Project Zip Code, contact Grassroots and Political Action Coordinators Robbie Gordon at 866.231.0545 ext. 2164 or Justin Thames at ext. 1010.

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Alabama amusement park consignment tickets coming soon

Alabama Adventure and Six Flags consignment ticket sales will be starting again soon. Order forms for tickets will be due to the League by Mar. 31. For questions on consignment ticket sales, contact LSCU Grassroots and Political Action Coordinator Robbie Gordon at 866.231.0545 ext. 2164. 


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PACs ... did you know?

LSCU has three PACs (political action committees) between the Alabama and Florida offices. One Federal PAC which supports federal candidates, one Alabama State PAC which helps support candidates in Alabama state races, and one Florida State PAC which helps support candidates in Florida races.

For more information, visit the LSCU PACs webpage.

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Compliance Corner
League InfoSight highlight: Treasury issues new Federal Benefit Garnishment Procedures

The League InfoSight newsletter features a story with more information on an interim rule on garnishment procedures. On Feb. 28, the U.S. Treasury, along with several other federal agencies, published for public comment an interim rule that establishes procedures that credit unions must follow when they receive a garnishment order against an account holder who receives certain federal benefit payments by direct deposit. The Office of Personnel Management, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Veteran Affairs are also listed on the joint release.

The rule prohibits the garnishment of certain "protected" benefits, but does not impact garnishments obtained by the United States and child support garnishment orders. Credit unions will still be allowed to process the garnishment against protected funds in these cases.

Under the rule, credit unions will need to provide notification to the account holder when a garnishment order is received. The credit union will also need to briefly outline what a garnishment order is and explain the account holder's rights with regard to garnishment in this notification. The notice will not be required if the account balance is zero or reflects a negative balance on the date of account review.

Read the full story in the League InfoSight newsletter.

For more helpful reminders and tips, view the League InfoSight newsletter by clicking here. It is a password-protected area. Member credit unions that do not have a password, may click here to sign up for one. An active email account and a password are required. To log in to InfoSight, enter your email and password in the InfoSight login block (see graphic below) located in the upper right of any of the LSCU web pages.

 

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Compliance calendar and training

Compliance Calendar

March 18
IRS Form 1120-POL - Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations (State Chartered Only)

For the complete list of calendar dates and compliance trainings, visit the LSCU Compliance Calendar

*Note - Compliance Calendar requires your League InfoSight login.

 
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Cooperative Initiatives News
CUNA's 'Youth Saving Challenge' adds 139 credit unions

Because of the gradual momentum, the number of participating credit unions in the National Youth Challenge has grown by 139, and numbers are expected to continue increasing. This year's goal for the new credit unions that signed on is $4 million deposits by 32,000 youth in April.

Held in conjunction with National Credit Union Youth Week throughout April, the Saving Challenge puts the spotlight on youth in a contest tracking deposits. Last year, nearly 170,000 young members deposited $24.8 million into their savings accounts during the month, and more than 10,000 opened new accounts.

The Challenge’s popularity comes from its fun, flexible approach to encouraging young people to develop good savings habits. CUNA provides an array of resources, promotional materials and products, and celebration ideas, but individual credit unions build their own celebrations using the unique service commitment that defines the credit union movement. Jean Tatar at St. Pius X FCU in N.Y. works with schools on a weekly basis to teach youth about making deposits and getting rewards, and students have the opportunity to meet with credit union staff and ask questions. “It is so important to educate our youth on finances, especially in this economy,” Tatar said.

The Saving Challenge also permits credit unions to set their own goals and run the contest during whatever time frame fits their community calendar. The Daviess County Teachers FCU in Kentucky has had great success with Youth Week, meeting and exceeding their Saving Challenge goals each year since 2005. “We feel it’s the best opportunity for teaching our young members the importance of ‘paying yourself first," said Lauren Mayhew, marketing director at Daviess County Teachers FCU and North Central Region Coordinator for the National Youth Involvement Board.

This year CUNA has added a mentoring service to the program, designed to link up credit union staff new to the Saving Challenge with individuals who have already planned, hosted, and completed many celebrations. These mentors welcome the opportunity to share their success stories and answer any questions, and their contact information can be found here.

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Save the date for Small Asset Size Credit Union Workshop

The LSCU would like Small Asset Size credit unions to save the date for a workshop coming up in March. Join the League and peer credit unions for the 2011 SAS Credit Union Workshop.

The workshops will be held:

March 22, Orlando, FL
9am – 4:30pm EST @ CFE FCU

March 23, Birmingham, AL
9am – 4:30pm CST @ Legacy Community FCU

For just $79, credit unions will receive the tools needed to be successful this year. Find out more about featured topics and registration information by visiting the LSCU Education Calendar at www.lscu.coop.

Don’t forget, SAS credit unions can use their $400 initiative account to cover registration fees for this workshop. To learn more about this initiative, click here.

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POC FCU use Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program to help low-income residents

POC FCU is a $600,000 asset-sized credit union that is hosting a VITA site at their location serving the low-income community of Pinellas County and Opportunity Council.

Pinellas County conducted more than 2000 tax returns at VITA sites last year and returned over $5 million in returns.


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Education News
2011 BSA Training Opportunities

LSCU has three remaining BSA Training opportunities to date for 2011. At each location, the League will offer two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The agenda for each date will be as follows:

8:30 a.m.          Registration – Morning Session
9-11:30 a.m.     BSA Training
11:30 a.m.        Boxed Lunch Provided to ALL Participants
12:00 p.m.        Registration – Afternoon Session
12:30 - 3 p.m.   BSA Training

This BSA Training class is appropriate for frontline staff, lenders, officials, managers and compliance officers. The two-and-a-half hour class incorporates a Currency Transaction Report workshop and a Suspicious Activity Report workshop (focusing on narrative preparation) in which attendees study completed forms based on several common scenarios. A few of the topics discussed will include: Bank Secrecy Act program oversight, creation and maintenance, risk assessment, review of Currency Transaction Reports, Currency Transaction Report exemptions, filing requirements, technology and the Bank Secrecy Act plus many more areas.

Locations:
Apr. 6             Mobile, AL / Blue Flame CU Auditorium
May 18           Birmingham, AL / LSCU Ground Floor Conference Room
Oct. 18           Muscle Shoals, AL / Listerhill CU

Participants in the BSA Training workshop will receive a certification letter upon completion of the session.

The cost for each course is $75 per person. For more information, visit the LSCU Education Calendar.

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Don't miss out! Register for LSCU Councils today

Make sure to register for the next LSCU Council event:

Birmingham, Alabama – Mar. 24, 2011

  • Keynote: The Right Moves for Credit Unions in Today’s Economy

             Dennis Dollar, Principal Partner at Dollar Associates, LLC

  • CFO: The New Corporate Business Model

             Brad Miller, CEO, Southeast Corporate & former

             Executive Director at ACCU

  • Marketing & Business Development: Membership Growth Recipe

             Mark Arnold, CCUE, Senior VP, Neighborhood Credit Union

  • Lending: Maximizing Relationships

             Julie R. Ferguson, Owner JRF Consulting Services, LLC

  • Operations, Sales, & Service: Achieving Operational Efficiencies through Collaborative Efforts

             Jason Boles, CEO of Fans Created

For an overview of topics, registration information, and more, contact Lisa Hammock at 866.231.0545 x1146 or visit the LSCU Events Calendar.

Don't forget to “Like” LSCU Councils on Facebook for updated information and topic details.

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Education Calendar

Wednesday, February 23
Advanced Issues in Dormant Accounts & Unclaimed Property
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST - webinar

Sunday, February 27 - Thursday, March 3

CUNA GAC
Washington, D.C.   
Click here to view calendar/times of events

Wednesday, March 2 
When a Deposit Member Dies 
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST - webinar

Thursday, March 3 
Required Financial Literacy Training  
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST - webinar

Tuesday, March 8 
Implementing Mortgage Reform & Anti-Predatory Lending 
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST - webinar

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LEVERAGE News
Get more bang for your buck with Office Depot BSD program

LEVERAGE is your resource for access to deep discounts on more than office supplies through the Office Depot Business Services Division (BSD) program. Redeem this March Smart Offer on discounted Double-A Brand Copy Paper, just $14.99 per five-ream case. Offer is valid through Mar. 31.

Click here to view the complete offer.

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News from You
Credit unions benefit from Southeast Corporate town hall meetings

In all, about 200 credit union executives and board members were in attendance at the Southeast Corporate town hall meeting.

“Members were fully engaged and asked good questions,” said Brad Miller, president/CEO of the $2.9 billion Southeast Corporate. “It’s clear they are doing their due diligence, and weighing all of their options inside and outside the corporate system. Our goal is to provide our members with the information they need to make a sound business decision for their credit union.”

While Miller says he is pleased with the number of people attending and the positive feedback received so far, Southeast wants to reach every member. Over the next few weeks, staff will continue to share the details of its new business model and recapitalization plans through a number of credit union meetings including board presentations, chapter meetings and other opportunities. “It’s really important to us that we talk with as many members as possible,” Miller said.

Southeast Corporate’s recapitalization plan calls for member credit unions to invest a total of $80 million in new Perpetual Contributed Capital (PCC). For each credit union, that equates to 45 basis points (bp) of average assets with a cap of $2 million. Concurrent with the capital raise, Southeast will be returning existing member capital shares (MCS) to members after the three-year notice period on MCS expires, less any additional impairments that are not covered by retained earnings in that time period. Based on loss projections from two outside analytic firms, it is expected that members will receive the majority of their existing $60 million in MCS back after the three year notice period.


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America's First FCU donates bikes to local students during annual training day event

This year, America’s First FCU celebrated 75 years of service by participating in a unique training workshop with a philanthropic twist. Facilitated by the Leader’s Institute, all employees of America’s First took part in the Build-a-Bike Team Building Workshop where they learned ways to brainstorm, problem-solve, and communicate better as a team while building bikes that were donated to children in the community. In just over an hour, 275 America’s First employees built 40 bikes. After the bikes were completed, the employees were surprised as children rushed in to receive their new bikes. The children, who believed they were simply attending a luncheon in their honor, were surprised to receive the new bikes as well.

“Building the bikes and having the kids come to get them was exciting. It put tears in my eyes,” said one employee. “How rewarding it is to give to others. Actually seeing the kids get the bikes was so awesome,” another employee shared.

America’s First FCU worked with the Birmingham Division of Youth Services for help in selecting the children and transporting the completed bicycles.

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Insight CU supports local veterans with Valentines Veterans Campaign

From left to right: Nanette Milton, Donnie Adamczyk, Julie Davis, Lisa McCoy, Lydia Tikasingh, Lynette Colon, Sherly Miranda

Insight Credit Union recently presented much needed toiletries, gently used books and homemade valentines from local elementary school children to the Orlando VA Medical Center just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Each year, the staff and members of Insight CU collect items such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, tube socks, and books and they are encouraged to make valentines for veterans in care facilities. This year, the staff presented over 500 valentines and 15 boxes of toiletries to veterans. The event is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans during the week of Valentine’s Day.

This marks the 13th year Insight CU has participated in the program and the third year the credit union has encouraged local students to get involved. Classrooms and youth groups throughout Central Florida made special valentines thanking veterans for their service.

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PGA CU President Dolly Champey to retire after 35 years of service

For more than 35 years, Dolly Champey has been in the credit union movement. She moved from New Hampshire to Florida in 2000. Under her leadership, the PGA Credit Union won the Northern Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award of the Year in 2008. Dolly was also active on the Education, Life Sciences, GAC, and Small Business Membership Councils for the Chamber. All who came into contact with Dolly will remember her as an effective leader, community philanthropist, and loyal friend.

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EMPLOYMENT
View available credit union jobs

To view the available jobs on the LSCU homepage, visit the LSCU CU Jobs Center.

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