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Calif. Privacy Bill Dies

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-A so-called "opt-in" privacy bill, which would have required credit unions to obtain permission from members before sharing their confidential financial information with unaffiliated parties, died in the state Assembly. The legislation was given new life when the California CU League said it would back the bill, which would have required consumers to "opt-in" to information sharing with unaffiliated third-parties but not with affiliates or other companies with which they have existing joint marketing agreements. However, the bill would have allowed consumers to "opt-out" of such information sharing agreements. A consumer group says it is ready to launch a ballot initiative aimed at requiring "opt-in" agreements based on defeat of the legislation.

Robber Takes Hostages

SAN JOSE, Calif.-A robber calling himself Jesse James took three tellers hostage last week after he failed in his attempt to hold-up Golden Bay FCU inside the federal courthouse building.

The robber, identified as John Jesse Cadena, acted like he had a gun, then told tellers he had explosives, but was armed with nothing more than a letter ranting about the U.S. government. A 45-minute stand-off with police ended when Cadena freed the hostages and walked out of the building with his hands up and pockets empty.

Rates Slide Further

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Mortgage Bankers Association said the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages during the week that ended Aug. 30 fell 17 basis points to reach a new record low of 5.99%, while the 15-year fixed fell 15 BPs to a record 5.4%. Phil Colling, an economist with the MBA, said, "The refinancing wave of the last six weeks is now on pace to eclipse the unprecedented refinancing activity that we saw last October and November." And noting that the yield on 10-year Treasury notes dropped again, Colling added, "It is possible that mortgage rates could drop again this week."

PULSE Unveils Loyalty Program

HOUSTON-PULSE EFT Association said it has introduced a new loyalty program that will allow its credit union and bank members to offer their customers rewards for using their signature debit cards when making purchases. The Signature Points program, developed jointly by PULSE and MasterCard International, allows card users to earn points every time they use their PULSE signature debit card. The points are redeemable for a variety of goods and services. PULSE provides EFT services to more than 1,300 credit unions.

NEFE Program Reached 75K

MADISON, Wis.-More than 75,000 students received financial education through the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) during the 2000-2001 school year, according to CUNA, a 131% increase over the 1999-2000 school year. During the school year, credit unions participating in the HSFPP worked with 753 schools. The goal for the current school year, according to CUNA, is to reach 100,000 students at 1,000 schools.

MCU Revamps Disaster Plan

NEW YORK-Municipal CU, whose ATMs were looted by members in the wake of last year's terrorist attack on the nearby World Trade Center, has instituted a new disaster recovery plan aimed at maintaining operations in the face of systems outages. The $1-billion CU said it has deployed a dual fiber channel switch between its New York City and Newark, N.J., operations provided by SAN Valley Systems, giving MCU mirrored databases between the two operations. As many as 4,000 members of Municipal CU took advantage of the Sept. 11 disaster to continue drawing cash from MCU's ATMs even though the disaster knocked out the communications systems and prevented it from reconciling the ATM transactions with its database. CU officials said members drew as much as $15 million from the ATMs in the six weeks after Sept. 11 without having the funds in their accounts.

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