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Taking a cue from their members coping with the recession, state credit union leagues are exploring ways to cut costs and enhance revenue.The latest evidence arose last week as three East Coast leagues-New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York-began looking at scrapping standalone annual conventions and replacing them with a joint conference starting in 2011. Such a move was seen as a major money saver in meeting and travel expenses.At the same time, the Credit Union Association of New York recognizing what it sees as the economic pain suffered by its members over the last year, is cutting dues effective in 2010. The exact amount is yet to be determined, said William Mellin, league president/CEO.And the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, trying to get nonaffiliated CUs to rejoin the trade group, said it will offer a one-time free trial membership to all nonmember credit unions from Oct. 1 through January 2010 with a goal to show the nonaffiliated “what the association does and how its activities benefit all credit unions, whether or not they are members,” the league said.While some leagues elsewhere were stressing the need for CUs to rejoin for the sake of unity in the face of so many crises, others still see a daunting task to get re-affiliations during a stressful economic period. The PCUA, with an 83% affiliation ratio, said last week that out of 100 prospects there had been only one sign up so far but stressed the process will take time and it is in it for the long haul.As for the joint conference, the board of the New York group has already approved the concept of a tri-league convention with the New Jersey Credit Union League, and PCUA is still studying the proposal put forward among league CEOs in August.“Our members are working hard at cutting costs in this kind of economy, and it is only natural and logical that we do the same,” said Mellin.As for dues reductions, the New York league said in its weekly e-mail bulletin that the economic malaise “is forcing everyone, including credit unions, to look for cost efficiencies” and on that “we want to support you in that effort and provide you with the highest value possible from your association membership.” Mellin said the board approved the planned dues reduction at a Sept. 10 meeting at which bylaw changes were also made.Though dues will be reduced, the association is managing to step up a number of services, including its compliance program, said Mellin. In that area, extensive calls have come in on the CARD Act and corporate stabilization, officials noted.–[email protected]

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