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ST. LOUIS — Offering its own version of a stimulus package to aid the industry, the Missouri Credit Union Association is returning nearly a quarter of its dues for 2009 to its members.The giveback, totaling $500,000 on dues income of $2.2 million, is being done to demonstrate “understanding” of the financial stress on CUs and to shore up CU unity.“Missouri credit unions have a long history of working together,” said Board Chair Betty Clark, president/CEO at United CU in Mexico, Mo. “We have a strong, well-supported association, and as a board, we feel it is appropriate to assist member credit unions in these difficult economic times.”The funds, representing 23% of dues income, are being distributed effective Feb. 3 and are aimed at helping member CUs deal with issues “surrounding the volatile economy,” explained Rosie Holub, president/CEO of the trade group.“Unity is paramount,” said Holub. “Credit unions need the support of their league, and as represented by this action, we understand the pressures and demands credit unions face financially.”Holub said she knew of no other similar action taken by a league though several have been cutting registration fees and taking other steps to assist members hit by loan losses and strapped by tight margins.“The credit union system is facing a wide range of challenges from helping credit union members withstand the economic downturn to making certain we have a strong voice in the state assembly, in Congress, and with our regulatory agencies,” said Holub.Dennis Pierce, president/CEO of the$1.6 billion Community America CU of Kansas City, also applauded the dues giveback as a measure of support for the league.“The high affiliation rate of the MCUA is a testament to the association’s value proposition and member focus,” said Pierce, calling the dues return “our own stimulus program.”At its Feb. 3 meeting, the MCUA Board also agreed to recommend to the membership at its annual business meeting March 30-31 that dues fees remain at the reduced 2009 level again for 2010.“We build reserves for a rainy day,” explained Holub, and with CUs currently undergoing “a major storm,” the trade group “can certainly give our member credit unions a portion of what they helped us build.”Based on feedback received so far, CUs “are truly pleased and appreciative of our action,” she said.“At a time when credit unions are divided on so many issues, conflicted priorities can seriously fracture credit union/league unity and support,” she said. The MCUA is “extremely fortunate to have a 95%” affiliation rate.”While there can certainly be “healthy debates within our credit union family, Missouri credit unions respect the fact we need to work together and speak with one voice on common issues,” she concluded.–[email protected]

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