Gauging the success of the CUNA GAC visits with lawmakers
As we begin a new week, I want to look back at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) held last week in Washington, D.C. There were more than 130 credit union officials from Alabama and Florida in attendance. We were part of 4,000 strong from across the country. The timing was perfect as there is an expected vote coming in the Senate on member business lending (MBL) in the next few weeks.
As we look at our messaging to our lawmakers and analyze our Hill visits, I think it’s important we understand just how the process works and how we score wins on Capitol Hill. The bankers are fighting us tooth and nail on every piece of legislation we attempt. They are willing to allow legislation of their own to fail, just so MBL legislation is not attached. Each visit we make with a lawmaker and their staff, either in D.C. or in the district, we need to continue to chip away, little by little, at the arguments the bankers are using. You can tell that most of our federal lawmakers understand our structure and the value we bring to both our members and the communities we serve. Incrementally, our messaging is working.
In our visits on Wednesday, as well as many of the visits other leagues had, the lawmaker and/or their staff asked us to comment on information they were given by the banks. Most of it is information that is stretched or shaped to fit their argument. Our delegation did a good job of redirecting the conversation, but it showed that if we hadn’t been in D.C. at this time, incorrect information may have influenced an MBL vote. In one of our “LSCU at the GAC” videos, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) said that he prefers to build relationships with his constituents and not just rely on lobbyists. He told us that he never turns anyone away that wants to meet with him in his D.C. office or back in Tampa. Ask yourself, “What is keeping me from taking a few minutes to meet with my lawmaker in his district?”
Getting change through legislation is a tough, arduous process. It takes many meetings with lawmakers. When we aren’t in D.C., John McKechnie, our federal contract lobbyist, regularly meets with our federal delegation. After our meetings last week, I think we can refine our messaging some and look for new ways to illustrate the MBL issue. If you have had to turn away members for loans because of the cap, let us know. If you want to begin making MBL loans, but wonder if it’s worth the expense given the cap, let us know. I believe MBL legislation will be brought up for a vote in the Senate very soon. On Friday, the Senate began a procedural process (called Rule 14) on the Sen. Mark Udall's MBL bill that starts the ball rolling. The bill now has a new number, S. 2231. It needed to be reintroduced because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cannot have the old bill (S. 509) discharged from the Banking Committee. In this way, Majority Leader Reid can have it on the Senate Calendar and ready to be called up for a vote.
I felt Supplemental Capital was well received, and many good questions were asked by lawmakers. It’s a new concept to them, so education will once again play a part in getting this legislation passed. Our value proposition and exam fairness conversations were both positive. I know we are making progress with a large part of our federal delegation. There are those that will always be tough sells on our issues, but by and large our message is being heard. We also had many good conversations with lawmakers and staff on H.R. 3461, the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness & Reform Act. Introduced by Rep. Shelley Capito (R-WV), the bill currently has 123 co-sponsors, including Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and Florida Reps. Dennis Ross (R), David Rivera (R), Tom Rooney (R), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), Bill Posey (R), Rich Nugent (R), Mario Diaz-Balart (R), Corrine Brown (D), Vern Buchanan (R), and Gus Bilirakis (R). The legislation would make available to financial institutions the information used by examiners to make decisions in their examination. It would also codify certain examination policy guidance and establish an ombudsman and appeals process at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). We expect to see many new co-sponsors on this legislation in the coming weeks.
I appreciate all of you that came to the CUNA GAC and those that participated in Hill meetings. I hope many of you will consider coming next year and encourage others to do so. Our next grassroots advocacy event is the Alabama State GAC in Montgomery April 4-5. I encourage you to attend and help us bring our message to the state level. Our victories right now may not bring ticker-tape parades. But after last week, I know with a little perseverance, we will evoke change.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback.
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|LSCU Top Headlines
This week's top League headlines
MBL vote could come this month
The Senate could vote on raising the credit union member business lending cap as early as this month. A new version of the bill, S. 2231, was introduced late last week. It's identical to S. 509. The new bill was introduced under Rule 14 of Senate rules bypassing the committee process and can be called for a full
vote immediately. Click here to read the full story. Also, an Action Alert was issued on March 26, urging credit unions to contact their senators regarding the upcoming member business lending vote.
CFPB town hall meeting
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau held a Town Hall meeting in South Florida last week to address elder fraud and financial abuse. Credit unions spoke about how vast the problem is and what they are doing to address it. You can read a full summary by clicking here.
Exam Fairness Act co-sponsors
The Financial Institutions Exam Fairness and Reform Act (HR 3461),
legislation that seeks to reform how financial institutions are
examined, recently gained a host of new co-sponsors. For more information on Exam Fairness, click here.
Georgia's Mercer named CUNA Chair
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates CEO Mike Mercer has been elected the new chairman of CUNA. Mercer has been a member of the CUNA board since 2005 serving as treasurer in 2010 and vice chairman in 2011. Mercer has been CEO of the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates since 1985. You can read the full CU Times article here.
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|Governmental Affairs News
This week in Alabama politics: Session reaches halfway point, public deposits hearing coming
This Week in Alabama Politics
It was a good week for the LSCU Governmental Affairs (GA) team
to be in Washington, D.C. for the annual CUNA GAC, because it was another
non-controversial week in Montgomery. Neither the House Financial Services Committee, nor the Senate Banking
& Insurance Committee met last week and the House of Representatives
continued addressing legislation that has little trouble making it through the
The 2012 Legislative Session is officially at the halfway
point with 15 legislative days complete. As the 25th legislative day gets closer, the final day for a
bill to pass one chamber and have enough time to pass the other, more
controversial legislation is expected to be brought up. It is still unclear about whether the legislature
plans on passing a General Fund Budget during this regular session or wait
until a special session, but the financial projections are not getting any
better and cuts appear to be looming.
Public deposits legislation is still active, and its movement remains a
fluid situation. The League is still
expecting a hearing on both pieces of legislation the week following the State
GAC in Montgomery (April 4-5), and any movement may be based solely on
testimony in that hearing. We urge you to continue contacting your legislators,
especially members of both financial committees, expressing the need for this
legislation and how credit union involvement in public deposits benefits
One piece of legislation that credit unions and many others in this state need
to be concerned over was introduced last week, HB 607 by Rep. Jim Barton
(R-Mobile). With the struggling General
Fund Budget needing revenue, Rep. Barton, who also chairs the House Ways and
Means General Fund Committee, introduced legislation in order to divert
money from numerous self-funded state agencies, boards, and commissions to the
General Fund for “accounting, auditing, budgeting, and legal services.” The Alabama Credit Union Administration (ACUA)
is among 48 named agencies, boards, or commissions that HB 607 would
affect. Since the ACUA is funded by
credit unions in Alabama, the League plans to fight this piece of legislation, preventing
your dollars from propping up the continuous and systemic funding issues with the
General Fund Budget.
While this is the first attempt to add revenue to the
General Fund, it shows that legislators are looking at ways to fix the
shortfall. While there continues to be
no indication that the credit union tax exemption is in jeopardy or that this
legislature will raise revenue in any form, the League and credit unions
throughout Alabama need to remain conscious of this effort and on-guard at
Follow the GA team updates on Twitter throughout the session by clicking here.
For questions regarding legislative affairs issues in Alabama, contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jason Cochran at 866.231.0545, ext. 2159.
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This week in Florida politics: Legislators returning, grassroots advocacy important focus for CUs
Politics Week in Review:
This week, the Florida House will
return to Tallahassee to take up the newly proposed Florida Senate
redistricting map. The Senate passed the map last week and the House must now
approve the plan before the Attorney General can ask for the Florida Supreme Court
review of the map. It is expected the House will give final approval to the map on
Wednesday. Once approved, the Attorney General must petition the court for
review, which then has 30 days to either approve the map or, if ruled
unconstitutional, redraw the map themselves. The League’s Governmental Affairs
Team (GA) team will continue to monitor the redistricting situation in order to
help shape “Get Out the Vote” activities.
The GA team will also continue to
focus on meeting with members in their districts to educate them on the
importance of credit unions, what the priority issues will be heading into the
2013 Legislative Session, and why it believes credit unions are the best choice
As lawmakers return home from session and special session, a lot
of the focus will shift to after-session grassroots activities. One thing that
the League has made a priority is more chapter involvement in the form of
hosting legislative meet-and-greets. The GA team continues to get commitments
from chapter leaders to hold legislative events, however, the League would like
to see 100 percent participation. Whether you host a group of legislators at a
local credit union, have an evening meet-and-greet, or a breakfast roundtable,
getting lawmakers to see the credit union difference first-hand truly makes an
impact. The GA team is happy to help in the planning and execution of these
events. Grassroots & Political Action Coordinator Andy Gonzalez will be
traveling the state to discuss these.
By now, you should have received
the “LSCU PLAN to Win Strategy Guide,” which will help outline the League’s new
grassroots plan. Much of this plan is not new; however, it will help to once
again focus grassroots energy so that credit unions can be more successful both
at the state and federal levels. If you have not received your PLAN to Win,
please let the League know immediately.
To read the complete Florida Politics Week in Review including more important information on grassroots advocacy and PAC fundraising, click here.
Should you have any questions about the legislative issues mentioned above, contact LSCU Director, Legislative Affairs Jared Ross at 866.231.0545, ext. 1012.
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2012 CUNA GAC featured Hill visits, awards and daily video reports
More than 130 credit union officials from Alabama and Florida traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 2012 CUNA GAC. The week immerses credit unions in the movement from a national perspective, as well as gets attendees prepared for Hill visits on Wednesday. Member business lending (MBL), supplemental capital, the credit union value proposition and examination fairness legislation were the main topics discussed with lawmakers. View a daily video report, “LSCU at the GAC,” by visiting the LSCU Video room.
Listerhill CEO Brad Green (right) speaks with a staffer for Sen. Jeff Sessions (D-AL).
Alabama and Florida credit unions made 34 Hill visits in just about five hours on Wednesday. MBL discussions dominated many of the meetings. The bankers had been through offices recently so the conversation turned to information lawmakers or their staff had received from them. Credit unions were able to refute most of the misleading information and present the relevant data that raising the MBL cap will create jobs and provide capital to small businesses. A banker’s radio ad was on the air in D.C. during the CUNA GAC asking Congress to not raise the MBL cap. The visits were perfect timing as an MBL vote appears to be coming soon in the Senate.
On Monday night, more than 900 credit union officials attended Herb Wegner Memorial Awards. Suncoast Schools FCU President/CEO Tom Dorety was honored for his lifetime achievement in the credit union movement.
(l to r) Legacy Community FCU CEO Joe McGee, Florida West Coast CU CEO Mary Ott Wood and Suncoast Schools FCU CEO Tom Dorety following his Herb Wegner Lifetime Achievement Award.
"Tom is most deserving of the award for his tireless commitment to his credit union and the movement," said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. "Not too many credit union officials can be called an 'icon.'"
In accepting his award, Dorety thanked many and noted, “Our board at Suncoast has shown a great deal of foresight and courage over the past four years in making decisions in the best long term interests of our members and not focusing solely on short term results or specific ratios that others have suggested."
The LSCU held a reception following the awards for credit unions to congratulate Dorety, as well as Alaska USA FCU President/CEO Bill Eckhardt, also a lifetime achievement winner, and LEVERAGE partner Invest in America, a Wegner award winner.
The League honored Sens. Bill Nelson (D) and Jeff Sessions (R) as the Federal Lawmakers of the Year. Sen. Nelson received the Florida Federal Lawmaker of the Year award at a reception at the Grand Hyatt. Sen. Nelson is the only senator to co-sponsor the member business lending bill and legislation to delay the implementation of interchange fees. Sen. Nelson met with credit unions for a few minutes and then spoke for 20 minutes. Sen. Sessions’ staff received the LSCU Alabama Federal Lawmaker of the Year award during his Hill visit on Wednesday.
CUNA presented PAC fundraising awards on Tuesday with Alabama's CULAC being honored as one of the top three states that increased fundraising in 2011. Listerhill CU CEO Brad Green picked up the CULAC Trustees award on stage. CUNA handed out Louise Herring, Dora Maxwell, and the Desjardins Financial Education awards. Alabama Credit Union won a first-place Dora Maxwell Award for its Secret Meals for Hungry Children program. The program started with just a few kids and is now serving over a thousand. Alabama CU Marketing Coordinator Kelley Jones accepted the award. The Montgomery Chapter of Credit Unions won a second-place award for donating golf tournament proceeds to six charities across the state. The charities have invited the credit unions from the Montgomery area to their respective sites to show how the money is making a difference. Riverdale CU CEO and Montgomery Chapter President Linda Walker accepted the award.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) accepts the LSCU Florida Lawmaker of the Year award from LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine.
The CUNA GAC keynote speakers were former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice who provided "inside" rundown of events in the White House during 9/11 and talked about foreign policy and finding peaceful solutions. Authors/journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein recounted how they broke the Watergate scandal.
Alabama CU Marketing Coordinator Kelley Jones (right) accepts the credit union's Dora Maxwell award.
Montgomery Chapter of Credit Unions President Linda Walker (right) accepts the Chapter's Dora Maxwell award.
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News from the Hill: Movement on MBL, important bills under consideration
News from the Hill Update
returns Monday and will consider bills under suspension of the rules. On
Tuesday, the House will consider the Senate-passed J.O.B.S. bill, H.R. 3606 - Jumpstart Our
Business Startups Act, under suspension of the rules and also consider H.R. 3309, Federal
Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012. On Wednesday and the
balance of the week, the House will consider the House Republican budget
resolution for fiscal year 2013 and alternative budget proposals.
also returns today and will complete consideration of the motion to proceed to
consideration of S.
2204, the Repeal Big Oil Subsidies Act. If cloture is not invoked on this
motion, then the Senate will vote on a motion to invoke cloture on the motion
to proceed to consideration of S. 1789, the Postal
Reform Bill. The conventional wisdom is that the Senate will consider S. 1789
throughout the week.
Last week, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) began
“Rule 14” procedures to expedite consideration of the Member Business Lending (MBL)
bill. The legislation was reintroduced (S. 2231), read a
first time, and the second reading was objected to in order to prevent it from
being referred to committee. This will allow the bill to be eligible for
the Senate calendar after the second reading, which could be today. All of
this means that after the second reading, the bill could be called up at any
time; however, the League does not expect the legislation to be considered this
meetings at the CUNA GAC last week, credit union member business lending legislation
was the top agenda item. The banks had been in Washington earlier in the
week, and are pulling out all the stops to prevent its passage. A big part of
their increased volume against the bill was that they see greater potential
than ever before, for it to move to a vote in the Senate. With the
exception of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who is a co-sponsor of the bill, the
other three Senators are still undeclared on their support of the bill. It is
critical that Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), hear from
credit unions in support of credit union MBL.
contact your senators by phone and ask them to support S. 2231, to allow credit
unions to provide more help to small businesses. Credit unions are not
asking for a taxpayer handout the way banks did, nor are they asking for
anything other than permission to make loans to small businesses that need
them. Credit unions could put $14 billion into the economy, and create 140,000
new jobs if Congress would just increase the current cap on member business
lending. Below is the contact information to reach out to your Senators regarding
Shelby (AL) 202.224.5744
Sessions (AL) 202.224.4124
Rubio (FL) 202.224.3041
To read the complete News from the Hill Update, including the full committee schedule, click here.
For questions regarding this update, contact LSCU SVP, Governmental Affairs Will McCarty at 866.231.0545, ext. 2137.
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Upcoming webinar on new DEO program geared toward increasing capital for small businesses
League recently announced an exciting opportunity for credit unions. The
Florida Capital Access Program (FL-CAP) is a new program developed by the
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), in conjunction with the
federal government. The FL-CAP will work with credit unions and other eligible
financial institutions (Lenders) to increase capital opportunities for
entrepreneurs and small businesses who might not otherwise qualify for
conventional financing. The FL-CAP aims to build the Florida economy by
allowing more small businesses to expand their operations and create new jobs. The
League will be hosting a webinar in conjunction with the DEO on Monday, April
10 at 10 a.m. To register for the webinar click
provides matching loan-loss reserves for loans that fall just outside a lending
institution’s normal underwriting standards, by depositing the funds into a
pooled account at the participating Lender’s institution. It is expected to
enable up to $200 million in business lending. Businesses located in Florida
with 500 or fewer employees are eligible for loans under the program. The
maximum loan amount is $5 million.
may be used to finance any business purpose including start-up costs, working
capital, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, as well as
the purchase, construction renovation or tenant improvements of an eligible
place of business that is not for passive real estate investment purposes.
Nonprofits must have sustainable financial operations. The program has some
limitations on passive real estate and refinancing of existing debt.
FL-CAP will be funded at $20.6 million over the next two years. Gov. Rick Scott
designated the DEO to administer the Florida program.
For more information about the program and how
to participate, click here.
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League InfoSight highlight: Currency Transaction Reports
The current edition of the League InfoSight newsletter focuses on Currency Transaction Reports and what steps credit unions need to take to remain in compliance.
financial institutions, including every credit union, must file a
currency transaction report (CTR) on each deposit, withdrawal, payment,
transfer, or other transactions involving currency (cash) of more than
$10,000.00. If multiple transactions are by or on behalf of any person,
the credit union must aggregate the transactions and report them as one
transaction if the total exceeds $10,000.00. If deposits are made at
night or over a weekend or holiday, that transaction must be treated as
if it was made on the next business day.
To find out more about Currency Transaction Report resources, visit League InfoSight.
For more helpful reminders and tips, view the League InfoSight newsletter. Members must login to the League website (www.lscu.coop) with username and password. If you do not have access to the League website, click here to sign up. After you are logged in to www.lscu.coop, locate the InfoSight block (see graphic below) in the upper right of any of the LSCU web pages, choose your state, and click "GO."
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Compliance calendar and training
- April 1: Preferred Lender Arrangement Report Due - Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA)
- April 1: Debit Card Interchange Rule Change
For the complete list of calendar dates and compliance trainings, visit the LSCU Compliance Calendar.
view InfoSight content, it is required to log in to www.lscu.coop for access.
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|Cooperative Initiatives News
SECUF "leave behind" project gets stage time at CUNA GAC
CEO Patrick La Pine on stage at the 2012 CUNA GAC.
Credit unions have an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the cities that host the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year. Each presidential election year, CUNA and credit unions in the host cities complete a service project to help the community. This year, St. Petersburg and Charlotte will benefit from the 'leave behind" projects.
LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, and North Carolina
League President John Radebaugh took to the General Session stage at last week's CUNA GAC to
talk about the "leave behind"
project. La Pine said the $300,000 project in St. Petersburg, around the Republican National Convention in August, will benefit All Children's Hospital. A handicap accessible playground will be revitalized for patients and family members of the patients. LEVERAGE, the League Service Corporation, donated the first 10 percent of the project or $30,000.
Radebaugh talked about North Carolina's $300,000 project in Charlotte in honor of the Democratic National Convention. Credit unions from around the country are encouraged to donate to either or both projects. To learn more about the project in honor of the Republican National Convention in Florida, check out the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation website.
Credit unions in Alabama and Florida can contact LSCU VP, Cooperative Initiatives Laura Vann at 866.231.0545 ext. 2181 with questions.
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2012 State GAC in Alabama next week
credit unions are encouraged to attend the upcoming State GAC April 4-5 in
Montgomery. The Alabama State GAC features an in-depth look at state and
federal credit union issues with presentations from the League, Total Spectrum
partner and League consultant John McKechnie and CUNA SVP, Governmental Affairs
Richard Gose. The highlight of the two-day conference is time with Alabama
unions will have two opportunities to interact with lawmakers. There will be an
informal Legislative Reception on Wednesday evening and then lawmaker visits at
the statehouse on Thursday. The Alabama State GAC is a great opportunity for
credit unions to become more politically active, to take the first step in
taking part in grassroots advocacy or to learn more about the political
bills in the House and Senate that would allow credit unions to accept public
deposits, it's imperative credit unions attend the State GAC and let lawmakers
know that both bills are important to credit unions. The greater the number of
credit unions that attend, the more impact it will have on visits with
Visit the LSCU Events Calendar to learn more about the
State GAC and to register.
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Wednesday, March 28
Real Estate Loan Workouts, Foreclosures, Short Sales & Deficiency Judgments
3 to 4 p.m. EST - Webinar
Asset Liability Management Essentials & Implementation Training
PriorityONE CU - Sunrise, FL
Click here for more information
the full 2012 LSCU Education Calendar of Events, click
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Fiserv, CUNA Mutual agreement advances mobile lending reach for CUs
The agreement between CUNA Mutual
Group and Fiserv will create a pilot program for users of the Portico account
processing solution to integrate CUNA Mutual Group’s industry-leading
Smartphone Loan technology, powered by loanliner.com, with Fiserv's
account processing and loan origination solutions.
“The agreement between Fiserv and CUNA Mutual Group is one
more way we’re responding to the digital transformation taking place in the
financial services industry. This pilot program is evidence of how both of our
organizations are thinking about members’ use of technology in virtually every
phase of their lives.” said Albert Ku, senior vice president, Credit Union
Solutions at Fiserv.
Members of Portico credit union clients participating in
the pilot program will have access to enhanced mobile lending
capabilities, including prefill of their member data and faster decisioning.
When members of participating credit unions log on to the loan
applications from their smartphones, they can connect to CUNA Mutual
Group’s loanliner.com mobile technology.
The two organizations’ software will interface with Fiserv’s
Access Advantage services to obtain member data, pull the desired credit bureau
report, and evaluate the collected data against credit union-defined
The loanliner.com smartphone technology can
use the underwriting response to return a response to the member/applicant in
seconds. From there, the loan application may be sent to Fiserv’s
Loancierge system for finalization, loan document preparation, booking and
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CU Insight features LEVERAGE compliance article
Preparing for a compliance examination doesn't top the list of things credit unions get excited to do. The entire process can be made easier through five simple steps:
- Know where you stand
- Have a plan
- Examine how to use resources efficiently
- Prepare properly for compliance examinations
Garland expounds on each step by suggesting that credit unions build a plan and follow a precise set of steps. This can prevent your
credit union from being caught off-guard and creates confidence with
examiners that your credit union is proactive and takes compliance
LEVERAGE offers ComplyTrac, an automated compliance execution platform. ComplyTrac helps credit unions see a reduction in costs, an easier method for performing
tasks, and a more effective process for meeting compliance regulations.
Read the full article on CU Insight's website.
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|News from You
Jefferson Co. Teachers CU tops $7 million in assets
With just three full-time employees, Jefferson County Teachers CU, based in Monticello, FL, recently passed the $7 million in assets mark. Jefferson County Teachers CU has a little more than 1,000 members and no website.
The credit union recently received a 5-star rating from Bauer Financial. The credit union has been serving the Monticello/Jefferson County area since 1964.
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America's First wins regional ADDY competition
America's First FCU, based in Birmingham, is on the cusp of a national ADDY award for it's commercial "Teeth." The ad touts America's First credit card product and how easy it is to apply. The "Teeth" part comes into play because a father is learning his daughter needs braces. The ad shows that for life's unexpected happenings, America's First is there with a solution. The ad was produced by Scout Branding Company of Birmingham.
The ad won a Birmingham ADDY award last month. Last week the ad won a regional ADDY award and it's now on to nationals. To see the "Teeth" ad, visit the Scout Branding Company's YouTube site.
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View available credit union jobs
To view the available jobs on the LSCU homepage, visit the LSCU CU Jobs Center.
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