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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Since the topic was “disaster recovery planning,” it was hardly a surprise that advance registrations took a big leap for a joint meeting held this week by the North and South Carolina Credit Union Leagues, but nobody anticipated a record turnout. “Considering what so many credit unions have gone through in dealing with hurricanes, we expected an increase but we’re getting far more than we ever anticipated-105 and it’s still a week away,” said a spokesman for the North Carolina League. The March 15 event is a combined meeting of the Risk Management Council of the North Carolina League and a like committee of the South Carolina League. Joint conferences and program sharing are high on the priority list for the two leagues during 2006. The attendance spike on March 15 has already forced a change in location from league offices to a new site, an Embassy Suites Hotel convention hall, to accommodate the larger crowd. Among the speakers for the March 15 seminar are Scott Earl, CUNA’s director of disaster recovery providing a Katrina update, and Laurin Avara, executive vice president of Navigator CU, a Pascagoula, Miss. victim of the hurricane. Also speaking will be Steven Marks, assistant coordinator of the Guilford County Emergency Management agency, and U.S. Postal Inspector Justin Crooks of Charlotte. Kim Bohannon, assistant vice president of regulatory compliance for the North Carolina League, attributed the increase in attendance to both NCUA’s recent attention to disaster recovery plans in CUs as well as newfound cooperation between the leagues on conferences. In one well-noted and perhaps well-planned irony, Bohannon said the March 15 conference falls during “Severe Weather Awareness Week” in North Carolina. Lin Jordan, chairman of the Risk Management Council in North Carolina and vice president for risk management at Coastal FCU in Raleigh, said the two leagues are fortunate to “have somebody like the gentleman from Navigator who can provide us first hand insight on what we will need in backup systems and how to safeguard against business interruptions.” Discussing registrations, Bohannon said the maximum attendance any of the North Carolina risk or compliance conferences have held so far has been 100 attendees with overall totals reaching 235. Apart from the conference on disaster recovery, the two leagues began 2006 by sponsoring their first joint session on compliance held Feb. 15 in Charlotte with the prime focus on the Bank Secrecy Act. “BSA has been a real hot-button issue with our state examiners and the NCUA,” said Bohannon. Attendees were reminded by attorney Gary Hess that financial institutions received heavy fines last year for not following guidelines on filing suspicious activity reports. Marcia Sarrazin, NCUA’s associate regional director of operations for Region 3 in Atlanta, also spoke to the group, relating one of the hot topics for 2006 will include the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. -

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