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NCUA FILES SUIT AGAINST MEMBERS

SALT LAKE CITY-NCUA, acting as liquidating agent for failed HeritageWest Federal Credit Union, has filed suit against several members of the now-defunct credit union claiming the members defaulted on millions of dollars in speculative real estate loans only to buy the properties back at steep discounts in foreclosure sales. The suits are the latest in a variety of legal actions surrounding a troubled Salt Lake City residential development called Castle Stone Homes that was tied closely to the one-time $330-million credit union. Dozens of the project's borrowers, who were promised high returns, obtained loans through the credit union, which was later acquired by Virginia's Chartway Federal Credit Union in a December supervisory merger engineered by NCUA after HeritageWest was deemed to be in trouble.

 

CUS WOULD BE EXEMPTED FROM BILL

WASHINGTON-An amendment proposed to the bank reform bill last week would exempt all credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets from the proposed consumer financial protection bureau and leave those duties to NCUA (see related story, page 1). While provisions of the bill already exempt those credit unions from examinations by the proposed consumer bureau located inside the Federal Reserve, the proposed amendment would also exempt credit unions from all rulemaking and enforcement actions. The amendment was drafted by NAFCU, which has been lobbying for the credit union carve-out in both the House and Senate.

 

ROBBERS RETURN, GET ARRESTED

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn-Three men charged with last week's armed robbery at Dupont Community CU told police they threw the stolen loot out of the window of their getaway car after a dye pack exploded, then went back for the tainted cash later, prompting a high-speed chase with police that resulted in their capture. Police found red-stained $11,000 in currency inside the car-matching the amount taken from the credit union.

 

SEAT-BELT WEARERS GET $1

LARGO, Md.-Representatives of Prince George's FCU and local police were handing out $1 bills last week to drivers who have all occupants buckled up as part of the "Click It or Ticket" Safety campaign. The credit union donated the cash and is partnering with the MVA, the Maryland State Highway Administration and Prince George's County Police.

 

GICU PLEDGES $100K TO SCHOOL

AMES, Iowa-Greater Iowa Credit Union has pledged a $100,000 multi-year gift to the Iowa State University College of Business to fund an annual business lecture through the university lectures program. The goal of the gift is to underscore the credit union's relationship with Iowa State and to advance financial literacy in the community, Shazia Manus, president of the $250-million credit union, said in a statement.

 

CU HELPS SUBPRIME AUTO BUYERS

PHOENIX-Arizona Central CU has partnered with the Northern Arizona Council of Governments to offer a new program, Wheels to Work, which helps individuals that have limited income with minimal to no credit purchase a vehicle by providing down payment assistance and loan options. Individuals are eligible for Wheels to Work if their income is under a certain amount, based on the number of people living within their household.

 

FOUR MORE BANKS SHUTTERED

WASHINGTON-Regulators have shut down four more banks in Florida, Arizona, California and Minnesota, making a total of 68 bank failures so far in 2010. The most recent failures include: $335 million 1st Pacific Bank of California in San Diego; $245 million The Bank of Bonifay (Florida); $120 million Towne Bank of Arizona in Mesa; and, $32 million Access Bank in Champlin, Minn. With the 68 closures so far this year, the pace of bank failures this year is double that of 2009. By May 1 last year, U.S. regulators had shut down 32 banks. There were 140 bank failures in the U.S. last year, the highest annual tally since 1992, at the height of the savings and loan crisis. They cost the insurance fund more than $30 billion. There were 28 credit union failures last year and nine so far in 2010.

 

VP WINS FULL SCHOLARSHIP

MIDDLETOWN, R.I.-A 25-year financial services veteran and grandmother of three who serves as vice president at Peoples CU won a full scholarship, which will cover the tuition cost for the complete online business degree program of her choosing at the Boston-based New England College of Business and Finance. Nancy Quick won the scholarship through a drawing held in conjunction with The Great New England Credit Union Show.

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