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Appraisals Cut For Some Homebuyers

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Fannie Mae said it has begun a pilot program to allow CUs and other mortgage lenders to drop the appraisal requirement for credit-worthy borrowers.

The easing on the appraisal requirement for those borrowers was made possible by new technology that lets lenders track the value of a property and comparable properties in the neighborhood.

The move is part of Fannie's effort to cut costs for homebuyers as well as the time spent on loan processing. A typical appraisal costs $250.

Feds Recover Stolen ATM Cache

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.-The FBI said it has recovered more than half of the $5 million in ATM cash a Jersey City, N.J., man is suspected of stealing last month.

About $3 million in crisply bundled $20 bills was found last weekend piled in duffel bags on the floor of an abandoned house here.

The FBI believes the cash was stolen by Michael Schwartz, 36, who was hired by Humboldt Bank in California to replenish 160 ATMs in New York and New Jersey.

Schwartz disappeared Dec. 3 from his New Jersey home and was found dead at a rented apartment in West Palm Beach on Christmas Day, after apparently drinking himself to death.

Robber Bagged Just After Getaway

LAKELAND, Fla.-A man suspected of robbing Lakeland Medical Employees CU was arrested minutes after fleeing the credit union with $4,017 in stolen cash.

The suspect, identified as Scott Hayden, 31, was spotted running into a nearby alley by a pursuing police officer, who just happened to be pulling into the local station when the heist occurred.

A man wearing a jacket, cap and sunglasses, walked into the credit union and handed the teller a handwritten note saying, "Put money on counter no one gets hurt. Now."

The teller handed him the cash and the unarmed robber walked out. Police said they recovered $1,420 from Hayden's pants and are still searching for the rest of the stolen funds.

PSECU To Pay Student Loan Costs

HARRISBURG, Pa.-Pennsylvania State Employees CU said it has agreed to absorb the remaining origination costs for its members for in-state guaranteed student loans.

The credit union said it will pay for two of the loan's three origination points on the KeystoneBEST Stafford Loan, with the third point paid by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The deal is good for students who borrow from the credit union and who attend an approved school in Pennsylvania.

Bandits Fall Short In ATM Break-In

MANITOWIC, Wis.-At least one would-be thief used a torch to cut through the heavy steel frame of the Community CU ATM but failed to gain access to the cash vault of the machine. The failed heist is similar to other ATM robberies committed in the Milwaukee, Sheboygan and Chicago areas over the past two years, police said.

Policyholders Get $13M Payout

DALLAS-The Texas Department of Insurance has begun sending checks averaging $230 to some policyholders of the now-defunct Members Mutual Insurance Company, an affiliated property and casualty insurer which closed a decade ago. The Department of Insurance is searching for as many as 80,000 policyholders from between Jan. 1, 1991 and Sept. 30, 1992 of the defunct insurer to distribute about $13 million in leftover MMIC surplus.

CU Checks Financed Car Sale Scam

WACO, Texas-A former car dealer was charged last week with writing $134,710 in hot checks on First Central CU to pay for 23 cars he sold on consignment to another dealer.

Stephen Barrett, 44, who owned the now-defunct Champion Auto Sales, was charged with theft and released on $5,000 bond.

Police said Barrett obtained duplicate titles to the cars by forging the name of the other dealer then sold the cars between September 2000 and February 2001, giving the duplicate titles to the buyers.

Barrett then paid for the cars with checks 23 checks written on the credit union, which were later returned for insufficient funds.

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