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AAFCU Cuts Overdraft Fees

To Just A Penny For Some

FORT WORTH, Texas-American Airlines FCU last week announced it is cutting its overdraft fees in certain instances all the way to one cent, as part of its new Bounce ProtectionPlus. Instead of charging the standard $25 fee each time a member has an overdraft, the $5-billion credit union will charge just one cent per overdraft, provided the member either corrects the overdraft before 10 p.m. central standard time that same day, or has a small overdraft that did not take the end-of-day account balance into the negative by more than $10. Any checking account that remains negative by more than $10 after 10 p.m. CDT will still be charged a fee of $25 per overdraft.

But AAFCU said that with options such as its CUAcce$$ Deposit service and CUAcce$$ Mobile, members can quickly view their balance and deposit checks using a scanner in their home or office, or make a transfer, easily avoiding an unnecessary fee.

Like Being Hit With A Stick? Video Offers Some Solutions

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.-Credit Union Journal has introduced a new, humorous video that illustrates the difference between being a bank customer and credit union member, in part by noting membership at a credit union does not involve being hit with a stick. The video can be viewed at cujournal.com.

No More Savings Bonds

WASHINGTON-The Treasury Department announced last week that effective Jan. 1, 2012, paper savings bonds will only be available for sale through its website and no longer available at credit unions and banks. Consumers will need to use TreasuryDirect, its online system, to purchase Series EE and I savings bonds; that system has been in place since 2002. Treasury said the change will save approximately $70 million over the first five years.

Plans Chip Away At GSEs

WASHINGTON-The Republican-controlled House Financial Services Subcommittee on government-sponsored enterprises have continued to pass bills aimed at phasing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even though the bills seem destined to fail once they get to the Senate. The panel, which endorsed five such bills earlier this year, added seven more last week and is planning on as many as 12 more before the end of the year. The bills are aimed at eliminating government backing for the two secondary mortgage market giants-which have been under conservatorship since September 2008-and privatizing their functions. The credit union lobby is opposed to the move because it sees the government backing of the secondary market, both in buying their mortgages and guaranteeing securitized loans, as critical to evening the competition with giants that dominate the vast majority of the mortgage market. The failure of the two GSEs has cost taxpayers an estimated $150 billion to date with no end in sight.

1st Reset of Mortgage Occurs

TYSON'S CORNER, Va.-Mortgage Harmony Corp., provider of the HarmonyLoan that allows consumers to reset their mortgage rate, reported the first person has done so and is a member of a credit union. The company said the member of Agricultural FCU was able to lower their rate by a half-percentage point and did so while on vacation. After the first 180 days, members with a HarmonyLoan can lower their rate as often as every 120 days providing their payment history is good; no new paperwork, appraisal or other costs are involved. AFCU offers the HarmonyLoan via the mortgage origination CUSO Credit Union Mortgage Association.

Firm Says Banks Fail Test

NEW YORK-The Invictus Group, LLC, an independent financial risk management firm, last week released results of a stress test it said it performed on all U.S. banks and found that more than 25% fail the minimum risk-based 8% Tier 1 capital requirement. The company said its stress test report also indicates that as many as one-fifth of banks in at least 66% of states are projected to be undercapitalized on a post stress-test basis. Arizona, Florida and Maryland have the highest percentage of banks at risk with over 50%. The company said that in back-testing its model it was able to predict every bank failure in the U.S. since September 2008 in which the institution did not receive a capital injection.

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