iDiz Inc. announced the winner of its free credit union Web site makeover contest, iHateMyUglySite.com.
The winner was International Harvester Employee Credit Union with its Web site, www.ihecu.com. Overall, 35 credit unions entered their sites.
iDiz has immediately started working with the marketing and IT departments at IHECU to design and build a new site. The new site will operate on WebiDiz, a new Web site management system created by iDiz for credit unions.
"We knew our site was bad, but we never imagined we had what it takes to be the worst," said Tiffany Looney, business development manager at IHECU. "Our members will be thrilled that they can actually find information on the Web site. I'll be able to use WebiDiz to update the site without messing with code. And our CFO was nearly moved to tears when she found out the redesign would be free."
Texans Migrate to CDs
More members of Texas' credit unions are moving funds into certificates of deposit compared to five years ago, when half of their money went to share and checking accounts.
The CD upswing is one of several trends tracked by the Texas Credit Union League. Five years ago the largest portion of the loan portfolio was in new automobiles. Now, loans are blended across several categories, and there has been a significant surge in first-mortgage lending, the league reported. Although loan growth for the first quarter was 1.4%, the growth rate from first-quarter 2008 through first-quarter 2009 was 9.3%, which was higher than at any time in the past five years. Assets grew 10.6% over the end of first quarter 2008.
There is also a strong demand for money market and individual retirement accounts, the league noticed. Texas' members put $3.1 billion into their savings accounts at credit unions during the first quarter.
Even with all of this growth, and the billions of dollars available for lending, credit unions only have a 1.3% share of the first-mortgage market and 0.1% in the business loan area, the league said.
Iowa Foundation Cited
A statewide community development group has recognized the Iowa Credit Union Foundation for its efforts to promote, develop and support individual development accounts.
Iowa Community Action Association honors an organization or individual who has emulated excellence and shown steadfast commitment to the well-being of low-income children and families through a partnership with ICAA, the Iowa foundation said. IDAs are savings accounts established for targeted purposes where a governmental agency or charitable foundation matches the money saved.
"ICAA cannot do our work alone and the State Partnership Award is an opportunity to honor those with whom ICAA has collaborated in our effort of helping people, changing lives," said Lana Ross, executive director of ICAA.
The nine pilot Iowa credit unions in the program opening IDA accounts with the foundation are Affinity Credit Union, Ascentra Credit Union, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union, Community 1st Credit Union, Dupaco Community Credit Union, DuTrac Community Credit Union, Employees Credit Union, Linn Area Credit Union and Veridian Credit Union.
"ICUF and ICAA have partnered to help families struggling to make ends meet receive financial education and training to help them build wealth, responsibility and independence," said Marybeth Foster, executive director of ICUF. "We are honored to have received this award from ICAA and look forward to working with them in the future to help Iowa families in need."
FSCC Revamps Web Site
Credit union members looking for a shared branch will be able to search more easily now, thanks to a renovation of the CU Swirl Web site, Financial Service Centers Cooperative announced.
"Whether it's traditional branches, self-service kiosks or the 2,200 7-Eleven stores, CUSWIRL.com is the only site to provide members with the ability to search all of the over 6,000 Service Centers locations in the network. That's huge for credit unions looking to maximize their investment in shared branching and truly compete with the largest of banks in terms of member convenience," said Nathan Rogers, vice president for marketing for FSCC.
The renovated site includes GPS downloads, integrated driving directions and interactive maps. Members may sign up for e-mail alerts about new CU Service Centers locations in their area and a newsletter providing financial tips and coupons. Members also have the option to follow Service Centers updates on Twitter where new features and locations will be posted, FSCC said.
N.Y. Gov. Extends 'Wild Card' Powers
New York credit unions have won an extension of "wild card" equity with federal credit unions on statutory powers.
Effective July 11, the new law authorizes state-chartered banks and CUs direct powers without first obtaining legislative amendments.
The new law, signed by Gov. David A. Paterson, extends for two years the sunset provisions now applicable to the wild card banking law. The current law was set to expire Sept. 9.
In a statement, the Credit Union Association of New York said the legislation has been a priority issue for the trade group during 2009 as state legislators wrangled in a GOP-Democrat stalemate that tied up legislation for months.
The trade group noted that the original sunset wild card law had "expanded the authority of New York's state-chartered credit unions to exercise the powers of their federal counterparts as authorized in a resolution adopted by the New York State Banking Board."
Michigan CUs Merging
With a nod toward the state's geography, Shore to Shore Community Federal Credit Union is the new name planned for a credit union from the merger of two Detroit-based CUs, the $55 million Trenton FCU and the $81 million Wyandotte FCU.
Jon Looman, the CEO of Trenton, said the moniker was chosen based on "branches in Holland on the shores of Lake Michigan to branches in the downriver area of the Detroit River and Lake Erie."
The merger, which has been in the works for more than a year, will become effective Oct. 1.
A membership vote was slated for last week at the SEG-based Wyandotte, with community-chartered Trenton continuing. The combined CU will have more than 21,000 members and five offices.
"This is a merger that unites two credit unions that have done well," Looman said.
Looman will serve as CEO of the consolidated CU, while Kathryn White, currently CEO of Wyandotte, will serve as president.
Trenton was chartered in 1953 to serve Chrysler employees, and Wyandotte formed in 1980 to serve employees of BASF Corp., the chemical firm.
After deducting the NCUA stabilization expense, both CUs are reporting profits in the first half. Trenton had earnings of $231,935, while Wyandotte was $125,221 in the black.
CMG, CUNA Council Honor Excellence In Lending
Entries are being accepted for the 10th annual Excellence in Lending Awards, which recognize outstanding lending results and practices by credit unions. Individual credit unions are awarded for their ability to meet their members' needs through innovation while sustaining sound financial performance.
Credit unions may submit entries for the 2009 awards in the following categories: Consumer Lending Excellence Award (assets under $250 million/assets greater than $250 million), Mortgage Lending Excellence Award (assets under $250 million/assets greater than $250 million) Low/Modest Means Excellence Award (any asset level) and Business Lending Excellence Award (any asset level).
Applications and more information regarding the awards are available at www.cunalendingcouncil.org/awards. The deadline for applications is Aug. 7.
Sponsored by CUNA Mutual and the CUNA Lending Council, the Excellence in Lending Awards will be presented at the 15th annual CUNA Lending Council Conference Nov. 1-4 in San Diego.
Airfare, hotel and conference registration fees for one representative from each winning credit union are included with the award.