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Visa Reports 15% Rise In Plastic Transactions

SAN FRANCISCO-In a big boon for credit unions, Visa reported last that a 15% rise in transactions, led by growth in debit, fueled a 16% increase in earnings for its fiscal first quarter. The cards giant reported first quarter profits of $884 million on a 14% rise in revenues.

Visa's Q1 earnings are the latest indicator of the stakes involved in the Federal Reserve's price-setting for debit interchange, as the company reported a 16% surge in debit transactions for the first quarter, and that debit now far exceeds credit card transactions. Issuers of Visa, which owns a 70% share of the U.S. debit market, have the most at stake. Visa and MasterCard set interchange fees and pass the money to credit union and bank card issuers.

Visa's continued strong earnings are a major benefit to credit unions, which share in the billions of dollars of interchange fees charged on Visa-brand debit and credit cards, and also own Visa stock, one of just two stocks broadly held by credit unions (MasterCard is the other). Visa results show that interchange on debit transactions, estimated at some $20 billion last year, continues to be the fastest-growing segment of the payments market. Credit unions are estimated to earn a tenth of that, or some $2 billion.

Visa said its debit transactions in the U.S. rose by 15.7% in the first quarter to $365 billion, while credit transactions rose just 5.3% to $226 billion.


Man Tries To Borrow Restitution From The CU He Robbed

SKOWHEGAN, Maine-A man was arrested last week after trying to get a loan to pay restitution at a branch of the same credit union he was convicted of robbing in 2008.

Joshua Lieberman, 21, was arrested on charges of violating his bail conditions, which included staying away from Franklin Somerset FCU. Lieberman was recognized from the robbery by a teller while trying to get a loan to pay a $2,500 restitution order.

"That just doesn't even sound right," said a Skowhegan police officer. "That he went back to the institution that he stole from to get a loan to pay off what he owed them."

Lieberman was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced in December 2009 to serve eight years in state prison, with all but one year suspended. He was to serve three years of probation once released. Police said he was the driver of the getaway car in the heist.


Framingham Municipal FCU Expands

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Framingham Municipal Federal Credit Union was approved to expand its field of membership to serve almost 700,000 residents in 30 communities west of Boston. The $85-million credit union currently serves employees for the town of Framingham and numerous select groups.


United People's Gets Healthcare TIP

LANCASTER, Penn.-United People's Federal Credit Union, a 25-year-old credit union chartered to serve employees of St. Joseph Hospital, was granted a trade, industry or profession-wide charter to serve all healthcare employees in Lancaster County, NCUA reported.

The TIP charter granted the $6-million credit union is the first TIP charter granted by NCUA since last March.


CU Offers $50,000 In Teacher Prizes

PORTLAND, Ore.-OnPoint Community Credit Union, formerly Portland Teachers Credit Union, will award almost $45,000 to deserving public and private K-12 teachers and their schools, including paying the mortgage for one year of the Educator of the Year, plus provide $5,000 to the respective teacher's school for necessary resources and supplies.

Last year, hundreds of local teachers were nominated by their peers, students, parents and communities for the prize. Tandy Wolf, a special education teacher from Cedaroak Primary in West Linn, was named Educator of the Year. Wolf received her mortgage paid for one year, plus $5,000 for supplies to benefit Cedaroak Primary.

In addition to the Educator of the Year award, a Community Choice winner will be selected and awarded $1,500 cash and receive $1,500 for their school. Three finalists will also be selected and will each collect $1,500, as well as $1,500 for their school.



The name of Beverly Lee, chair of Hawaii State FCU, appeared incorrectly in the Jan. 31 issue.

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