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Call Center Gets New Investors

DALLAS-ICU NOW, Inc., which provides 24/7 call center services to credit unions, has gotten three new investors: CUNA Mutual Group, the Michigan CU League and the Virginia CU League.

The three new investors join the leagues from three states that were its primary investors: Alabama, Pennsylvania and Texas leagues. Each of the new investors will receive a board seat, with Wayne Benson representing CUNA Mutual, Drew Egan representing Michigan, and Terry Childres representing Virginia.

Suspect Sought In CU Heist

COLUMBUS, Ohio-Police are searching for an armed man who stopped by the ATM at TIC CU and robbed a member who had just made a cash withdrawal.

Christel Miller told police she had just made the transaction when a man in a small, dark car drove by, stopped, left his vehicle and approached her waving a handgun at her and holding a mask to his face with his other hand.

As Miller handed him her wallet, he dropped the mask, then reached down to pick it up, before climbing back into his car to flee.

CU Helps Keep City Fund Running

FALL RIVER, Mass.-St. Anne's CU said it has agreed to provide $250,000 in low-interest loan funds to the city to help keep its economic development loan program operating.

The city needed the additional funds because increased demand exceeded available capital. The city's office of economic development said it has disbursed $3.5 million so far this year, a new high.

Fed Pushed Rates Lower This Year

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Credit unions may remember 2001 for the downward pressure 11 short-term rate cuts by the Federal Reserve had on their savings rates; pushing down average rates since the first of the year on regular shares by 100 basis points; checking accounts by 90 BPs; and money market accounts by 200 BPs.

Credit unions continued to slash the rates they pay on savings products since the last Fed action, Dec. 11, to their lowest in more than four decades.

Data compiled by DataTrac Corp. shows average rates paid by credit unions continued to plunge since Dec. 11 by six BPs to just 1.9% for regular shares; by three BPs to 1.14% for checking accounts; and by five BPs to 2.14% for money market accounts.

DataTrac follows rates for more than 8,000 financial institutions, including 1,000 credit unions.

FCU Gets Thrift Charter

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Federal regulators with the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) said last week they have approved the conversion of Citizens Community FCU, Eau Claire, Wis., to a federally chartered savings bank.

The conversion marks the second time the $110 million, 23,000-member credit union has made move, failing in its first try to get required member approval for the conversion.

The new thrift will be called Citizens Community Federal Savings Bank.

Fed Eyes HMDA Amendments

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Federal Reserve is considering several changes to its regulations implementing the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, or HMDA, which are aimed at capturing more information about subprime loans and possibly predatory lending.

One proposal would require information on the annual percentage rate because some claim pricing information on loans could be misleading.

Card Marketer Raises New Capital

ATLANTA-CompuCredit Corp., a marketer of subprime credit cards, said it raised $40 million recently through the private placement of preferred stock convertible into common shares.

The funds will be used mainly to finance growth, said a spokesperson, according to the company.

Investors included: J.P. Morgan Corsair II Capital Partners L.P., Paladin Capital Partners Fund L.P., and entities controlled by CompuCredit Chairman and CEO David G. Hanna and his brother, Frank J. Hanna III, a CompuCredit director

Corsair, which invested $25 million, is a fund managed by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. that invests in financial-services companies.

Grocery Bag CU Bandit Strikes Again

SAN DIEGO-A man believed to have robbed seven area credit unions over the past six months hit again Saturday, this time striking First Future CU a second time. The man was immediately recognized by the teller as the 'grocery bag' bandit who robbed the credit union a few weeks earlier but the bandit escaped before police arrived. Police have dubbed the thief the grocery bag bandit because he stuffs the loot into a grocery store bag before fleeing the scene.

Police Hunt 'Bonnie And Clyde' ATM Thief

NEWARK, N.J.-The FBI has set a manhunt for a man suspected of stealing $5 million worth of $20 bills he was supposed to have used to replenish ATMs in New York and New Jersey. The man, identified as Michael Schwartz, 36, weighing an estimated 350 pounds, is believed to have fled with the cash along with his twin Siamese cats, named 'Bonnie' and 'Clyde', after the famous bank robbers. Schwartz owned and operated Direct Connect ATM and Schwartz Armored LLC and had a contract to replenish 160 ATMs, the FBI said. He was last seen on Dec. 2 is thought to be traveling by car. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

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