"Congresswoman Vel?zquez regularly expresses her support for credit unions," said association President/CEO William J. Mellin during the presentation in Vel?zquez' Washington office last month. "As chair of the Small Business Committee, she regularly called upon credit unions to provide a voice in how to best serve the nation's small businesses."
"During this financial crisis, New York's credit unions continue to provide their members with the credit and capital they need. This is now more important than ever as consumer and small business lending is critical to jumpstarting the economy," she said. "It is an honor to be recognized for my work to help provide credit unions with the tools they need to serve their members."
Vel?zquez, who has served in Congress since 1993, is also a member of the House Financial Services Committee. Her district includes parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
Columbia CU CEO Leaves
Parker Cann, a former Washington State CU regulator who took the helm of controversy-wracked Columbia Community Credit Union, has announced he is moving on.
Cann, who has served as CEO at Columbia since May of 2005, announced he will become a senior vice president and corporate counsel for the $8.6 billion BECU.
Cann took the reins at Columbia after the departure of Columbia's former CEO David Doss. Doss had overseen the CU through a failed attempt to convert to a mutual bank charter and the beginning of the extended court battle that ensued.
"Columbia Credit Union is considered well-capitalized, has good liquidity and will continue serving the community with a strong management team and caring staff. The core values of service, convenience and community will not change with my departure," Cann said. "Taking a personal interest in the people we help is the right thing to do-something you can count on from Columbia. Delivering a positive member experience is important today and will continue to be so in my new role at BECU."
Cann will oversee BECU's legal and regulatory compliance and lobbying efforts, according to BECU.
"With Parker's proven leadership skills and thorough understanding of credit unions as well as the regulatory and legislative issues that we face, we are excited to have a person of his caliber join our executive management team," said Gary Oakland, BECU president/CEO. "With the addition of Parker we will be able to create a regulatory and legislative environment that has a positive influence on the experience we are able to deliver to our members."
In announcing his departure, the CU claimed to be the only credit union in western Washington and the Portland metro area with the Small Business Administration's preferred lender status. It added that the CU ranked at the top for Clark County home equity loans and lines of credit and number three for Clark County first mortgages. Columbia also claimed that public records show it to be the county's No. 1 provider of auto loans.
According to NCUA records, Columbia grew from being a $684 million CU when he took it over to being a $764 million CU as of the end of 2008. But the credit union has not been immune from the overall downturn either and saw its income drop by $4.6 million as of the end of last year.
New Compliance Site
Auditors and compliance specialists that can make use of a new Web site to exchange ideas with other professionals.
While it is designed mostly for those who use CU*Answers' flagship processing system CU*BASE, there are functions that will be helpful to people who use a range of other financial data processing systems.
The site, which is called The Advisor, is designed to disseminate information based on exchanges between the organization's experts and industry professionals. It also includes a blogging function.
The site, http://advisor.cuanswers.com, is run by Audit Link, the compliance and auditing division of CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based CUSO.
Indiana CU Debuts
Striving to cut costs and create relevancy, a subsidiary of the $1 billion FORUM Credit Union of Indianapolis is testing a new way to host its annual symposium this fall: let attendees pick the speakers and the agenda. And help pay the bill.
For five years FORUM Solutions' two-day symposium, held at the CU's headquarters in Fishers, Ind., has been a popular rite for Midwest CU executives and researchers looking for innovation and product trends.
But the escalating expense of hosting the symposium convinced the FORUM leadership to rally support for continuing the meeting or simply scrap it.
So FORUM Solutions sent out notices last month to attendees asking if they would help pick up the tab through advance bookings and sponsorships; the Oct. 7-8 event "cannot break even" without financial help, according to officials.
"For those of you that have attended, you have consistently told us that you want the event to live on," the FORUM notice read. "We love this event, but we have to break even and to do that we need 150 people to pledge to attend at $225 each, plus 10 sponsorships at $500 a piece."
Since FORUM has sought to host a symposium "catered to you and taken your feedback seriously," it is offering attendees a chance to make it happen by submitting "video auditions for the speaker spots and determining the agenda."
"Can't afford the registration cost? Then submit a video and get voted onto the agenda," suggested FORUM.
FORUM officials stressed their intent has never been to make money on the conference, but with marketing budgets slashed, it could no longer bear the hosting expense alone.
In creating the do-it-yourself format, FORUM officials also noted, "We know there is more supply than demand for credit union conferences. A majority of these conferences all fill the same niche, the same speakers and content all controlled by the conference organizer." Its October event represents an alternative, said FORUM.
If enough pledges come in, top staffers from the Filene Research Institute in Madison, Wis., can be slated to speak, said Douglas True, senior vice president of technovation at FORUM and president of FORUM Solutions. He added, "This is groundbreaking in that no one has ever tried such a concept in the conference arena."
Bankruptcy Filings Up
The recession and related economic conditions caused a 31% increase in bankruptcy filings last year, according to data recently released by the administrative office of the U.S. Courts.
There were 1.1 million bankruptcy filings in 2008, compared with 850,900 in 2007. Last year's numbers were far short of the all-time high of 2 million in 2005, the year before Congress revamped the bankruptcy laws.
The office said that the majority of the filings in 2008-1,074,228-involved nonbusiness debts and represented a 31% increase from the previous year.
There were 43,546 business bankruptcy filings in 2008, a 54% increase from 2007.
Chapter 7 filings were up 43% and Chapter 13 filings were up 12%, while Chapter 12 filings fell 8% and Chapter 11 filings increased 60%.
New Call Report Reflects
The NCUA's 5300 Call Reports will now feature separate sections showing the impact of the credit union's assessment used to offset the NCUA's corporate credit union rescue efforts, the agency has announced.
The changes will show the expense related to the stabilization action as a separate line item on the income statement section and also show net income before and after the expense item.
The two new accounts added are NCUSIF stabilization expense (account 311) and net income (loss) before NCUSIF stabilization expense (account 660A). This will allow call report users to quickly ascertain the impact of the stabilization expense on the operating position of each credit union, according to the agency.
"This modification is an improvement for credit unions, their members and NCUA. It will present a clearer, and I believe fairer, picture of the real financial condition of a credit union given the external factors that have affected the corporate network," said NCUA Chairman Michael E. Fryzel.
In late January, the agency announced a rescue plan for corporate credit unions that included injecting $1 billion into U.S. Central and guaranteeing the deposits of natural person credit unions in corporate credit unions. The agency has said it may have to levy a premium later this year to replenish the NCUSIF.
CU*SOUTH to Hold 5300 Workshop in Mobile
Credit unions wanting additional assistance on assembling and submitting data for their 5300 call reports can attend a workshop held by CU*SOUTH on April 8 in its Mobile, Ala., office.
CU*SOUTH CEO Leo Vaulin said the free workshop will give participants "advice and tools they need'' for dealing with the changes to the forms. He noted that the NCUA has sent six pages of changes totaling 135 items.
CU*SOUTH is a CUSO that provides data processing, compliance and other services to credit unions.
To register e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 251-651-2640.