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Thrice-Robbed Branch To Close For 90 Days

MARINA, Calif.-Central Coast FCU has decided to close for 90 days a branch here that has been robbed three times in the last four months.

Bruce Adams, CEO of Seaside, Calif.-base Central Coast, told The Credit Union Journal the Marina branch has been closed since the most recent robbery took place May 5. A meeting to discuss the future of the branch was held May 18. After the 90 days the decision will be "reviewed," Adams said.

During the May 5 robbery, the branch manager was struck in both feet by shrapnel from a single bullet. Adams said the manager had surgery May 14 to remove the pieces of metal that could have affected joints, muscles or nerves, but some bullet fragments still are in her feet. "She is doing better," he said.

Police have identified the gunman from security cameras inside the branch. At press time, the alleged suspect, Jesus Osorio, had not been apprehended.

New TAG Grants Now Available From NCUA

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA has earmarked $50,000 for its new Mentoring Initiative technical assistance grants (TAGs). Unlike most TAGs, the agency said the program is open to all "well-run credit unions" and is designed to facilitate funding resources to develop effective mentor relationships with low-income designated credit unions. With an average grant award expected to be $5,000, the Mentoring Initiative aims to assist credit unions in implementing or augmenting a mentoring program for low-income designated credit unions. For more information, TAG requirements, deadlines and application packages, contact NCUA's Office of Credit Union Development at www.ncua.gov/org/orgchart/ocud/index.html, ocudmail@ncua.gov or 703-518-6610.

Policy Has Cut Robberies

ST. LOUIS-Missouri's financial institutions are reporting that the "No Hats, No Hoods, No Sunglasses" security program has reduced the number of robberies in the state. The policy was put in place by Missouri's credit unions and banks on May 20, 2003, with 70 CUs and 162 banks participating. According to the Missouri CU Association, from May 20, 2002-May 1, 2003, which was before the program was enacted, there were 117 robberies. From May 20, 2003 through May 1, 2004, there were 75 robberies. "By removing hats, hoods, caps and sunglasses, consumers make it easier for staff and law enforcement to identify any suspected robbers, who often use these items as a disguise," says Rosie Holub, Missouri Credit Union Association president/CEO. "We are able to obtain clearer security photos, and this policy draws attention to people who do not comply. The last thing a criminal wants is more attention, so they are more likely to leave without committing a robbery."

The Credit Union Journal's On Deadline coverage is sponsored by Liberty. For info: www.libertysite.com.

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