ABA May Be Behind Postcards Seeking CU Membership

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The person behind the postcards that have reportedly been sent to thousands of credit unions across the country claiming to be from an individual seeking to invest in a CD and interested in the respective CU's FOM requirements has close ties to the banking industry, according to the Florida Credit Union League.

The Tallahassee-based FCUL said it has learned that the person responsible for the cards is Mark Dern, who has been represented by an attorney with the same law firm that represents the Florida Bankers Association.

CUNA has been warning credit unions since the cards began arriving at at least 1,200 different credit unions that it suspected ties to the banking industry. The cards were all similar in appearance and differed only in the addresses to which they were sent.

The league said Dern is a principal and co-portfolio manager at Dern Capital Management Corp., located in Boca Raton, Florida. Mark Dern, along with Alvin Dern, are listed as the two principals of the firm, according to the firm's website. Dern's biography, also listed on the firm's website, states that he holds a law degree from the University of Florida.

According to the FCUL, Dern Capital Management has filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's Division of Corporations on an annual basis since at least 1996, as required by law. Each filing lists Leonard H. Bloom as the firm's registered agent. According to the law firm's website, Leonard H.

Bloom is an attorney with Akerman Senterfitt, a law firm that has offices in most Florida cities and Washington, D.C. According to the firm's website, the firm "as general counsel to the Florida Bankers Association, has been involved in drafting many of Florida's banking laws. Members of the Practice regularly interface with legislative and regulatory officials in shaping domestic and international banking policy."

FCUL VP-Communications Mark Ivester contacted Dern to inquire why he was involved in this postcard effort, and reported that Dern declined to comment. He also didn't comment on why he didn't contact credit unions in Palm Beach County, Fla., where he lives. Dern did not return calls from The Credit Union Journal.

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