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Navy Real Estate Services Launched

VIENNA, Va.-Navy FCU's CUSO, Navy Federal Financial Group, announced it will launch a new real estate services organization to be called Navy Real Estate Services, LLC. Specializing in real estate settlement services, the new organization will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navy Federal Financial Group and is intended to simplify the closing process for Navy FCU members while lowering their costs by providing all settlement services normally conducted by a closing agent.

Such services include preparing certain closing documents and title work, providing title insurance, supervising the closing, recording all documents and dispersing funds. Navy FCU, the world's largest credit union, is also the CU movement's largest mortgage lender in the nation.

CUSC Extends Shared Network

GREENFIELD, Wi.-Six shared branches have opened in this market, using existing CU branches operated by the host CU.

The new Credit Union Service Center "outlets" are the result of five La Crosse, Wis.-area credit unions joining the Wisconsin CU Shared Service Centers, Inc., which is part of the CU Service Corporation, a national shared branching network. Trane FCU operates three of the outlets, in La Crosse and Onalaska, Wis. and in La Crescent, Minn. Firefighters CU provides outlets in La Crosse, Wis. and Holmen, Wis., and 1st Community CU has an outlet at its West Salem, Wis. branch.

In addition to the host CUs, the other participating credit unions include Franciscan Skemp and Gundersen Lutheran.

The setup allows members of these La Crosse-area credit unions to access their accounts at any of the nearly 800 Credit Union Service Centers in 32 states as well as Guam, Japan and Korea. More than 750 credit unions participate in the CUSC network, including 24 from Wisconsin as members of WCUSSC.

MCUS Reduces Board to 12

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo.-Member credit unions of the Missouri Credit Union System voted at their annual meeting here to reduce the MCUS board to 12 members from the current 20 by 2005. In addition, under a new governance plan, directors will be elected at-large from four state regions.

The changes are a result of recommendations by a task force appointed by the board chairman.

During the meeting, MCUS President Rosie Holub also said $175,000 in patronage rebates will be paid to member credit unions for their use of fee-supported products and services in 2001.

ROCU Offers Investment Service

DALLAS-More than 50% of 401(k) plan participants at Resource One Credit Union have signed up to receive professional investment management services for their individual accounts after the CU became the first credit union in the nation to offer this optional service to its employees, the credit union said.

"We welcomed the opportunity to offer this service because we believed most of our employees wanted a lot more than just generic information and generic advice," said CEO Jim Brisendine. Resource One teamed up with Callaway Financial Services, Inc., Arlington, Texas; Clarke Lanzen Skalla Investment Firm, Inc., Omaha and Registered Investment Advisors Services, Inc., Dallas to bring this service to credit union employees.

Penn. League Unveils New Website

HARRISBURG, Penn.-The Pennsylvania Credit Union League has launched a new consumer website about credit unions at www.PACreditUnions.com. The league said the site is designed to be the online resource for Pennsylvania consumers detailing what credit unions are, how to join one, a national credit union locator and articles regarding financial issues.

PaCreditUnions.com contains CU MatchUp, the online national credit union locator. In addition, current Pennsylvania credit union members can utilize the "No-Surcharge ATM" locator detailing CU$, a network of credit unions that do not impose surcharges on members. "Because our league website has always gotten significant consumer traffic, we felt that creating a new website would be the best way to highlight our credit unions, CU MatchUp and other consumer issues," said PCUL CEO Jim McCormack.

Clarke American To Open Center

SAN ANTONIO-Clarke American Checks, Inc., announced plans to open a new contact center here in July to supplement the existing local center. The new location will be the seventh unit in Clark American's contact center network. The firm plans to hire more than 200 new associates to staff the new facility by year-end.

The provider of checks and other products and services said the new center will provide 24/7 customer service and sales via telehone, web, e-mail and web chat for its partners and their customers.

CRM Still Hot, Expensive Topic For Small Financial Institutions

KING OF PRUSSIA, Penn.-Customer relationship management (CRM) is still the hot-and expensive-topic for small and mid-sized financial institutions, according to a study commissioned by SEDONA Corporation. The survey consisted of 77 in-depth telephone interviews with small and mid-sized financial services companies, including both current users non-users of CRM solutions. Among the findings: 62% believe teller transactions are the primary means of collecting customer data; 93% organize their businesses around product and service lines as opposed to demographically-based customer segments; nearly 70% of those who already have CRM rely on profitability analysis to determine likelihood of future success. The survey also found that the majority of small and mid-sized financial institutions who are not using CRM identify cost and the need for additional resources as the major barriers preventing them from implementing a CRM strategy.

Former CU Official Gets Prison Time

SAITAMA, Japan-The Saitama District Court on Wednesday sentenced the former head of failed Saitama Shogin (credit union) to three years and two months in prison for causing financial damage to the firm, according to Kyodo news reports. The Saitama-based credit union mostly served South Korean residents in Japan. Acccording to court documents, Gon conspired with former Senior Managing Director Hiroshi Takei, 72, and two others, to provide loans totaling 2.2 billion yen via several paper companies to a Tokyo-based housing development cooperative for which Gon's relative served as a senior member.

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