FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- In a follow up to CUNA's Homes for Our Troops project at the presidential party conventions, two credit unions, the $134 million Mid Missouri, and the $985 million Anheuser-Busch Employees of St. Louis, are leading a Missouri repeat.
Under a planning and fundraising schedule guided by the Missouri Credit Union Association, the two CUs began soliciting industry donations last week to build two $200,000 specially fitted homes for wounded Iraqi or Afghanistan war veterans by mid-summer of 2009.
"With so many of our members in the military, we could not think of a more ideal project to demonstrate support for our troops," explained Brent Sadler, chief operating officer of Mid Missouri, which hopes to have one of the homes built just outside the U.S. Army base here.
To get the fundraising started, officials of MCUA recently signed an agreement with the Massachusetts-based Homes for Our Troops organization, the same group that worked with CUNA this year, to help identify and select the neediest war vets for new homes.
Over the summer at the Democratic convention in Denver and later at the GOP gathering in St. Paul, league and CUNA executives were on hand for well-covered media events to mark the dedication of the two new vet homes in Golden, Colo. and Woodbury, Minn. Joining as fundraising sponsors of the homes were the Credit Union Association of Colorado/Wyoming and the Minnesota Credit Union Network, respectively.
Since announcing the Missouri version of Homes for Our Troops at MCUA's annual convention two weeks ago in Lake of the Ozarks, the two CUs described industry response as enthusiastic.
Daniel Vogler, executive vice president of Anheuser-Busch CU, said his CU is working with MCUA and the Taunton, Mass., nonprofit organization. He hopes to erect one of the homes at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill., and plans to time its completion to the national All-Star Baseball game next July in St. Louis.
Trust Assets Buffered From Markets
MADISON, Wis. -- Even as billion-dollar banks continue to consolidate, members are being reminded that by law, their trust assets are maintained separately from the assets of the institutions that manage them.
"Consequently, while trust assets are subject to market fluctuations, members' trust assets are insulated from institutional ups and downs and are safe from corporate falls," said Neil Archibald, corporate counsel and chief compliance officer at MEMBERS Trust Co.
Credit unions are in an opportune place to provide members with principled management built around diversification, Archibald said. As a fiduciary, the philosophy of individualized, monitored management designed for long-time horizons has aided in helping to insulate clients from the harsh effects of the current market, he added.
"Everyday yields more sobering news about the economy and while these events signal a general slowdown for all financial services firms across the board, the current news underscores the absolute need for stable institutions in the eye of the storm," Archibald said. "And, I am proud to say that many credit unions qualify as standard bearers of market stability and prudence and stand to serve communities in transition seeking a new home. Consequently, even in a down market, there is opportunity for growth in the credit union sector."
Boulder Valley CU Offers FHA Loans
BOULDER, Colo. -- Boulder Valley Credit Union has received Department of Housing and Urban Development approval to offer Federal Housing Authority mortgage loans. The move makes the credit union only one of a few credit unions nationwide to offer the increasingly popular loans.
A spokesman for the credit union said that, with the recent tightening of mortgage loan restrictions imposed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the inclusion of FHA products was needed so that the credit union could continue to offer loans to first-time and existing homebuyers.
FHA mortgage loans have fewer credit restrictions, require less of a down payment, have lower monthly mortgage insurance premiums, do not have prepayment penalties and do not penalize borrowers with lower credit scores, the spokesman said.
Boulder Valley Credit Union started offering the loans early last month.
BVCU, which bills itself as an eco-conscious financial cooperative, was founded in 1959 to serve the employees of the Boulder Valley School District and manages over $169 million in assets from nearly 17,500 members. Its present day membership includes employees and members from over 400 groups in Boulder County and the Estes Park community.