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CUs Build S.C. House Delegation

COLUMBIA, S.C.-Credit unions are going a long way to helping build strong allies in the South Carolina House delegation. The CU lobby has thrown its support behind state lawmaker Gresham Barrett, a Republican running to succeed Lindsey Graham in the state's third congressional district.

If Barrett is successful, as expected, it would be the third newcomer to national politics whom credit unions have helped to fill the state's six House seats, following the 2000 elections of Republicans Henry Brown, Jr. and Joe Wilson.

"CULAC (CUNA) got in early with these guys as open seat candidates," Steve Fowler, chief lobbyist for the South Carolina CU League, told The Credit Union Journal.

Downsizing Forces Identity Switch

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-Massive cutbacks at Motorola Corp. and the company's insistence that Motorola Employee CU-West adhere to its single common bond has forced a major restructuring at the 50-year-old credit union.

As a result, the credit union has obtained approval from state regulators to expand its FOM to add about one million residents of Phoenix's East Valley and is planning to change its name to eliminate the Motorola connection.

The expanded FOM was necessary because a halving of Motorola employees in the area to 10,000 over the past few years has severely stifled growth potential, according to Daniel Desmond, president of the $550-million CU.

The elimination of Motorola from the credit union's name was insisted upon under a January letter of understanding by the corporation, which urged the name change if the CU wanted to expand from its roots, said Desmond.

The de-coupling from its corporate sponsor, which currently processes payroll and benefits for the credit union's 200 employees and houses more than half of the credit union's facilities will be a major undertaking for the state's fifth- largest credit union, said Desmond.

CO-OP Network In Year's 2nd Payout

ONTARIO, Calif.-The CO-OP Network said it was paying its member/owners a special $6- million dividend, the second payout in the past four months. CO-OP members earned a $3- million payout in April. The $9 million payout is the largest in the company's history.

Ban On Sale of Credit Info Affirmed

WASHINGTON, D.C.-A federal appeals court here affirmed a lower court ruling banning TransUnion and other credit bureaus from selling so-called header information containing consumers' confidential personal data to third parties without consumers' consent.

Sale of the data was prohibited under the privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and by administrative rules adopted by all the federal financial regulators, including NCUA.

TransUnion argued they should not be restricted by the law because they are not a financial institution, the definition of "personally identifiable financial information" is overly broad, and the administrative regulations restrict the company's right of free speech under the first amendment.

TransUnion To Pay $5.3 Million

PORTLAND, Ore.-A federal jury ordered TransUnion to pay $5.3 million to a woman for confusing her credit history with another woman's, the largest verdict ever under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The jury found that TransUnion was liable for repeatedly confusing the credit history of Judy C. Thomas with that of Judith L. Upton, who had a string of bad debts.

The two women share the same birth year, have similar first names, and have social security numbers that differ by just one digit.

Thomas said after discovering the problem she alerted Trans-Union, then contacted the creditors. Her 1999 application for a mortgage was delayed for three months because of the incorrect reports. She eventually got the mortgage after contacting Upton's creditors on her own and getting them to affirm the identity mix-up.

Taxis To Accept Credit Cards

NEW YORK-U.S. Wireless Data has signed with Centrodyne Corp. to introduce a meter that will allow riders to pay taxi fares via wireless payment. The new system combines Centrodyne's Silent 620 taximeter with U.S. Wireless Data's Synapse Enabler to enable real-time authorization of, then payment by credit cards. Centrodyne's CardMeter taximeters are currently in use in Dallas.

Child Abductions Prompt CU Identification Offer

VALENCIA, Calif.-In the wake of two recent high-profile child abductions, Lockheed FCU as part of its commemoration of a new branch here is offering a free child identification program.

The credit union last Saturday invited parents, including non-members, to bring their children ages three to 14, in an fill out identification cards.

Summer Return For Beach

FEDERAL WAY, Wash.-The CU Association of the West, the newly formed umbrella organization over the Washington, Oregon and California/Nevada credit union leagues, has hired former Colorado CU League President Carroll Beach to coordinate the joint programming being offered by the group.

Beach, who lead the effort to build Credit Union House on Capitol Hill, recently retired after nearly 30 years with the Colorado league, and was active in a number of credit union organizations during his career.

Plans call for the CU Association of the West to eventually offer services to leagues other than the four founders.

Suspect Charged In Failed CU Heist

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa.-A Houston man was arrested here Friday, just hours after he allegedly botched an armed robbery at Washington Community CU.

Mark Kisner, 34, walked into the credit union around 9:30 am and handed the teller a demand note indicating he had a gun but he walked out empty-handed after the teller asked him if he had a bag to put the money in.

The suspect then ran out the front door. Kisner as arrested in a nearby house a short time later and confessed to the robbery.

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