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3 Comm. Charters OK'd; Total Now Exceeds 500

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-The NCUA board last week, in its final meeting of the year, approved three more large conversions to community charters, making 123 conversions approved this year-the most ever. Last week's approvals will allow: Park FCU, Louisville, Ky., to serve 1.1-million residents in nine counties in Kentucky and adjacent Indiana making up greater Louisville; University FCU, Birmingham, Ala., to serve 1.1-million people seven Alabama counties in the Birmingham metropolitan area; and W.C.T.A. FCU, Rochester, N.Y., to serve one million people in three surrounding counties. The NCUA board also approved a large community charter expansion for Paragon FCU, Washington Township, N.J., to add Bergen and Passaic counties' 1.5-million residents.

More than 500 federal credit unions have switched to community charters since the 1998 passage of HR 1151 facilitating multiple group FOM.

Newborn Gets An Early Introduction To ID Theft

ROUTDALE, Ore.-Young Wyatt McVay may be the nation's youngest victim of identity theft. The newborn, just three months old, was denied a member account at Mountain View CU in nearby Gresham after his father, Mathew McVay, broke open his son's piggy bank and brought the $17 of savings inside to the credit union only to be told by the teller she could not approve a membership because of a block put on his Social Security number. That's because someone had written fraudulent checks on a U.S. Bank account using the newborn's Social Security number in 2002-long before Wyatt was even born.

Thus began a drawn-out effort by the new parents to untangle their baby's credit history and obtain an unblemished Social Security account that will remain with him the rest of his life. The episode included several letters to the Social Security Administration across the country, in Baltimore, and letters to the governor's office and the state police.

Officials with the Social Security Administration said it appears that a check-forger chose the infant's Social Security number arbitrarily. The official said the McVays will have to prove the misuse of their son's Social Security number has caused a disadvantage in order to get him a new identity.

Ark. CUs Bring Soldiers Home

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Arkansas credit unions rallied to raise $7,725 to bring Arkansas soldiers home for Christmas. The Arkansas Veterans Affairs Department began raising money earlier this week to bring members of the 39th Infantry Brigade, headed to Iraq early next year, home for Christmas. The brigade's 3,500 soldiers have been granted leave to come home for Christmas, but they have to pay their own way. So the Arkansas CU League joined in the fundraising efforts by encouraging credit unions to adopt a soldier or group to help finance their trip all the way home.

Levins Exits RFCU After 42 Years

WARNER ROBINS, Ga.-Edward "Buck" Levins, the former CUNA Chairman who criss-crossed the country raising money during the fight for passage of HR 1151 in 1997-98, will not be back in 2004 as CEO of Robins FCU. Levins had been with the credit union for 42 years. The boad at the $800-million credit union issued a statement saying it had elected not to renew Levins' contract for 2004. EVP John Ruffin has been named interim CEO.

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