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More Bank Profits Draws CUNA's Ire

WASHINGTON-CUNA is once again pointing to record earnings by the nation's banks as more reason to "stop obsessing" with credit unions. Third quarter data show U.S. banks earned $32.5 billion in profits, topping the previous record of $31.8 billion in the first quarter of this year. "Obviously, bankers are doing quite well," said CUNA's John McKechnie, senior vice president of governmental affairs. "Instead of focusing on credit unions, bankers should think more about ways in which they can better serve their own customers.

Ex-Employee Staged 1 Crime To Cover Another

LEXINGTON, Ky.-A former employee at Trane CU confessed in court last week to concocting a fake robbery at the credit union to conceal his theft of as much as $120,000. Bradley Elkins pleaded guilty to charges of embezzlement, telling authorities he made up a story of being robbed to cover his trail. Elkins estimated he stole between $104,000 and $120,000 between last December and this July. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17.

Delaware's CUs To Be Mystery Shopped

WILMINGTON, Del.-Credit union employees in the tri-state area may be on the look-out for a mystery member shopping their credit union to evaluate member services. The Delaware CU League has introduced its Mystery Shopping program in which an undercover shopper is provided to gauge employee service, knowledge, appearance of branches, and a range of other information sought by the manager. The program can be used to monitor and evaluate branch operations, telephone service or the credit union's website. "It's a customized program for credit unions. We can design it to find out anything you (the manager) want to know about your operation," Jane Bailey, vice president of the Delaware league, told The Credit Union Journal. After shopping the credit union, the undercover agent then provides a written evaluation with recommendations for improvements in services, she said. The program is currently being shopped in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with nearby Maryland next on the list.

Larson Named CEO At NDCUL

BISMARCK, N.D.-Kermit Larson has been named president of the North Dakota league after serving as interim president for the past two years. Prior to that Larson worked as a consultant to credit unions in North Dakota for 13 years, and was manager of a Minnesota credit union for 14 years. Larson's hiring comes after discussions between the North and South Dakota leagues regarding a merger broke down.

Seibold Wins 'Seibold' Award

WASHINGTON-During CUNA's Credit Union Attorneys Conference, Charles P. "Chuck" Seibold was selected the winner of the first "Chuck Seibold Credit Union Attorney of the Year" award, which is presented to a credit union attorney for outstanding achievement during the preceding year, or for lifetime achievement. Seibold was honored for lifetime achievement. Seibold served for many years as CUNA's outside legal counsel and, for a time, as CUNA's general counsel. He has also represented numerous CUs around the nation, and is a senior partner in the Madison, Wis., law firm of Dewitt Ross and Stevens.

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