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CUs Across World Mark International CU Week

ALBURQUERQUE, N.M.- Volunteers from 13 credit unions fanned out across the state last week visiting 56 elementary schools to teach basic financial skills to help celebrate International Credit Union Week. The educational campaign, organized by he CU Association of New Mexico, reached 12 communities and almost 1,700 young students. The focus on the educational sessions will be on savings and budgeting skills. The New Mexico efforts were mirrored by credit unions and associations across the country and world to mark International Credit Union Week.

LMCU Offers Big Prizes At Conversion Vote

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- Lake Michigan CU is trying to bolster participation at its special meeting, which includes a ballot vote on converting to a bank charter, by offering high-end door prizes to the membership.

The long-standing tradition of having door prizes as a way of attracting members to annual meetings and special meetings, as well as a way of thanking members for taking the time to attend such meetings, has gained notice because the prizes aren't the more typical gift certificates to local restaurants and merchants, for example. One LMCU member who shows up to vote at the special meeting will win a three-year lease on either a 2005 Cadillac CTS or SRX, and another five will win $1,000 cash.

While the letter informing members of the door prizes does encourage members to vote in favor of the conversion of plan, members are eligible to win regardless of which way they vote. "This is aimed at maximizing participation," said Alan Theriault, a conversion consultant to a number of credit unions, including LMCU. "A number of credit unions that have sought to convert have offered door prizes to help generate more membership participation. Hopefully, this gets people to look at their materials and consider participating in the vote, and that's a good thing."

Study Examines Pilot With Check-Cashers

NEW YORK-Two area credit unions are slowly expanding their membership and providing members with new outlets through a three-year-old pilot program with New York City check cashing chains, known as PayNet.

But several barriers are preventing Bethex FCU and Actors FCU from greater membership growth and participation, including limited marketing budgets and lack of staff training, according to a new study issued last week by the Center for Financial Services Innovation.

The program allows credit union members to make withdrawals, deposits and transfers through point-of-banking machines at check cashing outlets operated by Rite Check Cashing, Pay-O-Matic and several independent check cashers.

Bethex FCU added 167 members in 2003, and recorded 127 deposits in June 2004 through PayNet; while Actors FCU reported more success, 919 deposits in June 2004.

The PayNet program is currently offered at 500 New York City outlets. The check cashing chains involved in the program are currently negotiating with other credit unions to join and are exploring expanding the program to other states.

'Healthy' Incentives Offered

BETHPAGE, N.Y.-In an effort to help curb rising health care premiums, Bethpage FCU said it is introducing a program aimed at encouraging employees to live healthy lifestyles. The Healthy Employee Incentive Program will provide monetary and other awards to workers who achieve healthy weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, among other things. Credit union officials say the goal of the program is to improve employees' health, helping to trim health care costs, as well as improve employees productivity.

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

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