COLUMBIA, Md. – Moving to ease the financial plight of small credit unions, the Maryland Credit Union League is slashing by more than 50% – and in some cases 90% – fees paid to attend education sessions by CUs under $20 million. It also is reducing fees -by nearly the same amount – for its annual conference, all part of a stepped up program to bring travel and meeting costs down, often a barrier among small CUs to participating in League activities. “MDCUL is making a commitment to small credit unions: We will be the provider of quality educational opportunities and price will not be a barrier,” explained Rick Stoll, chairman, MDCUL and CEO of Anne Arundel County Employees FCU, Millersville The League said it can offset the loss of seminar income from smaller CUs by greater participation of their larger peers and through its linkup last July with CUNA’s Center for Professional Development in Madison. It said the CUNA center has been providing higher quality speakers and programming making it more attractive to attendees, particularly from larger CUs. The Maryland League is one of three -joining Alabama and New Jersey-in a CPD program in which CUNA handles the recruitment of speakers and sets the curriculum. MDCUL noted that it signed up with the Center “to provide local education sessions with agendas and speakers provided by CPD.” The sessions were developed by the MDCUL Education Committee, chaired by Vice Chairman Wes Bone, who also is chairman, First Financial FCU. Input was also received from interested CUs through Education Committee members. As a result of the improvement in quality, said Michael Beall, League president/CEO, “now we are able to share these sessions with smaller credit unions at a fantastic price.” Yet small CUs “must now step to the plate and find the time and commitment to send folks to these sessions to get the education they want and need.” Under the existing fee schedule, a full day’s education session-on topics ranging from compliance to lending-typically costs $259 per attendees and a half day session at $159. But small CUs under $20 million can now pay $129 for a full day session or $79 for half day, a 50% discount. Those under $2 million can now pay $25 for the full day and $15 for a half day, a 90% cut. The annual meeting also is reduced for under $20 million CUs from $225 to $129, a 42% discount with sharper cuts below that threshold. Todd Spiczenski, vice president of learning events at CUNA in Madison, said he was gratified to learn of the price discounts afforded in Maryland but he was unfamiliar with any similar price-cutting in Alabama, which was one of the early pilot Leagues for the CPD servicing arrangement or in New Jersey. Education officials from those two Leagues were not immediately available for comment. Spiczenski said the CPD program frees up League staff on education and academic duties allowing them more time “to do more promoting and consulting” services. -

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