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Home Buying Proposal

Is1st Winner of Contest

MADISON, Wis.-Robert Christiansen of Servus Credit Union in Edmonton, Alberta was named last week as the first winner of a competition sponsored by Filene Research Institute and the Crashers Network, which sought identify the best way credit unions can increase the availability of affordable home ownership in North America. The multi-round competition narrowed the submissions to four before Christiansen's "The Credit Union Home Buyer's Plan" was named winner. The Plan offers matching incentives on member-contributed-savings in order to assist members in saving for a down payment for the purchase of a home. The credit union makes an annual matching contribution on member-contributed-savings every year over the life of the plan. For info: www.filene.org.

Member Confidence In Economy,

Personal Finances Continues Slide

RIVERWOODS, Ill.-Confidence in the economy among credit union members continues to decline. Data released last week as part of the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor found confidence slid during June, "showing a significant shift among a traditionally optimistic group and a narrowing gap between consumers who are members of credit union institutions versus those who are not," Discover said.

Among the findings: 58% of members rated the economy as poor, over 49% one year earlier (compared with 62% of none members); just 22% of members said the economy is getting better (a nine-point drop from one year ago), while 55% said it is getting worse. Similarly, 48% of members said their personal financies have gotten worse, while 37% rated their personal finances as good or excellent in June, a two-point drop from those who said the same one year ago. The non-member demographic reported a similar drop in sentiment, with just 28 percent rating their personal finances as good or excellent, a 2-point decline from the year prior.

Suit Over Non-Compete Filed

TACOMA, Wash. - In its latest effort to enforce departing employees' non-compete agreements, CUNA Mutual Group has asked a federal court here to stop a former employee from using her CMG book of business at CUNA Mutual competitor Ameriprise. In filing a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, CUNA Mutual says Sophia Spencer, one of the company's top performers while selling insurance at Vancouver's Red Canoe CU, "has already solicited and induced some of the highest net worth clients whom she serviced, and caused millions of dollars in assets under management to transfer to a competing firm," since leaving CUNA Mutual June 30.

Spencer, claims CUNA Mutual, "is actively pirating away a book of business consisting of assets under management of more than $92 million."

The credit union insurer is asking the federal court for an order barring Spencer from using or disclosing, and requiring her to return any documents or information obtained from CUNA Mutual or the Red Canoe Financial Group. Lawyers for Spencer did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Rabines Elected WOCCU Chair

GLASGOW, Scotland--Manuel Rabines, general manager of Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito del Perú (FENACREP), the trade association serving Peru's credit unions, last week was named named chair of World Council of Credit Unions at the group's annual meeting here. Rabins succeeds Barry Jolette, president/CEO of San Mateo Credit Union.

Pinnacle FCU Sells Portfolio

EDISON, N.J. - Pinnacle FCU last week sold its $13 million, 5,000 account Visa card portfolio to Elan Financial Services as part of an agent issuing contract. Under the deal, Elan will offer new accounts to members who currently do not carry the Pinnacle FCU VISA credit card. TRK Advisors brokered the deal; terms were not released.

Visa Sees Double-Digit Growth

SAN FRANCISCO - Visa Inc. said continued double-digit growth in its debit business helped fuel a 40% rise in fiscal Q3 income to $1 billion. Third quarter revenues, included a 10% increase in debit, rose 14% to $2.32 billion. For the first nine months of its fiscal year Visa's U.S. debit business grew almost 16% while its U.S. credit business grew only 5%. For the third quarter, payments volume advanced 13% and total processed transactions, which represent transactions processed by VisaNet, rose by 11% increase over the prior year.

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