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Another Fed Increase Expected In December

NEW YORK-The Federal Reserve raised the Fed Funds rate by a quarter percentage point from 1.75% to 2%, signaling its continued optimism about the economy. And it indicated again it would continue raising rates at "a measured pace."

NAFCU Economist Jeff Taylor suggested the widely-expected move also indicates the Fed will raise rates again in December. "A week ago I thought maybe they would take the month off, but now it looks like they're laying the groundwork to raise rates by another 25 basis points in December," he said. "The real question is what they will do next year."

Taylor said he expects to see bond rates, particularly the 10-year bond rate, to begin to move up and spreads will begin to normalize.

FSCC, SCC Entering Into New 'Partnership'

SAN DIMAS, Calif. - Financial Service Centers Cooperative, Inc., (FSCC) and Service Centers Corporation (SCC), last week announced they have executed a Letter of Intent to form a strategic partnership focused on the delivery of shared branching services to credit unions. FSCC and Southfield, Mich.-based SCC, which is a subsidiary of the CO-OP Network, declined to say what the scope of the alliance would entail, saying that was still being negotiated. Instead, they said there were discussing a "partnership that encompasses all aspects of shared branch delivery, including technology, support, marketing and training."

"There's been tremendous growth in bank branches, and the credit union movement needs more shared branches to be competitive," said FSCC CEO Sarah Canepa Bang. "By partnering with SCC, we aggressively address this issue while also providing more value to our credit unions and the credit union movement as a whole."

The companies said that participating CUs currently have access to 1,620 shared branching facilities in the US and six other countries. SCC has more than 80 stand-alone branches and outlets within its network and serves more than 300 credit unions. FSCC has more than 775 branches within its network, and provides 24/7 call center access to members of participating credit unions.

CO-OP CEO Robert Rose said although a full-blown merger could happen in the future, at this time, such a union is not on the table. "We're trying to put everyone CO-OP Network platforms so we can get really tremendous economies of scale," he said. "A lot of our client base is already participating in FSCC and SCC, so this benefits everyone."

Ill. CUL Acquires MCUA Cards

ST. LOUIS-The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) said it has transferred its credit and debit card programs to the Illinois Credit Union League. According to the MCUA, the agreement should provide "significant savings" for participating credit unions. The ICUL provides credit and debit card services to more than 800 CUs in 34 states.

ACUL Invests In EPL

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-The Alabama CU League said it will invest $250,000 and loan another $250,000 to EPL, the data processing company that is partially owned by ACUL Corp., a subsidiary of the league. ACUL CEO Gary Wolter is EPL's chairman. The league said the funds would be used to further the continued development and launch of its new platform known as i-Power.

Navy Hero Gets 11 Years

ST. PAUL-The decorated Navy veteran who robbed a credit union here and then hid in the Mississippi River for more than eight hours has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Mark W. Samples, 41, robbed Red Wing Credit Union in 2002 and made off with more than $70,000 in cash. Witnesses watched him leave on a mountain bike that he rode to the shore of the Mississippi, where he put on scuba gear and then drifted downstream to his car.

Samples' attorneys stated that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being aboard the USS Stark, which was hit in an Iraqi attack in 1987 that killed 37 sailors.

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