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Employee Pleads Guilty To Stealing $38,000

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill.-A former financial operations officer for Catholic and Communities CU last week was convicted of embezzling more than $38,000 from accounts of her relatives.

Stacy Mergelkamp, 38, pleaded guilty to theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by a credit union officer or employee.

Mergelkamp completed a series of cash advances against her credit card accounts and the accounts of certain relatives. However, authorities say she fraudulently altered the cash advance slips so that the credit union deposited more money into her accounts than she actually withdrew from the credit cards.


Bethpage FCU Sponsors Music Scholarships

BETHPAGE, N.Y.-Five talented Long Island music students will receive an opportunity to study and perform at Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts this summer, thanks to a new charitable scholarship program developed by the Usdan Center and Bethpage FCU.

The Usdan Center/Bethpage Scholar in the Arts program will give accomplished students who otherwise couldn't attend Usdan the opportunity to study at the award winning summer arts day camp. The students have been chosen for their musicianship and for their achievements as outstanding representatives of their communities.

As part of the Usdan/Bethpage scholarship program, five individual Bethpage community branches will, in effect, "adopt" an Usdan/Bethpage scholar, and host an event in each community branch during the summer. The students were introduced to their Bethpage branch sponsors at a June 8 reception that took place at Usdan Center.


St. Mary's Bank Recommits To Subprime HLPR

MANCHESTER, N.H.-St. Mary's Bank has pledged to make $2.5 million in new funds available for low-income Home Loan Payment Relief, or HLPR mortgages, a subprime mortgage program developed by CUNA.

The HLPR program features a choice of adjustable rate mortgages with below-market interest rates, including a 3/1 ARM priced at 1% below the national average rate for the initial period, and 5/1 and 7/1 ARMs priced one half of 1% below St. Mary's Bank's published standard rates for the initial term. Rate caps of 1% per year and 5% for the life of loan help keep the monthly mortgage payments low.

Borrowers making 100% or less of the area's median income may be eligible for the HLPR program. Qualified properties include single family, owner occupied residential homes. There is a home buyer education requirement.

The below-market loans, pronounced Helper, were developed by CUNA and were popularized in 2008, but many credit unions have stopped making them since then.

For a limited time, qualified members of America's oldest credit union may also be eligible for a grant of up to $10,000 through the Federal Home Loan Bank's Equity Builder program. The grants may be used for down payment assistance, customary closing costs and eligible prepaid items, and home buyer counseling costs not covered by another funding source.


American 1 FCU Acquires Premier Financial CU

JACKSON, Mich.-American 1 Federal Credit Union has agreed to acquire Premier Financial Credit Union, a one-time $90 million credit union in nearby Clinton Township.

Premier Financial, now just $455 million, reported a loss of $1.7 million last year and had net worth of just 4% at March 31.

American 1 has $190 million in assets and net worth of 13%.

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