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Report Suggests CUs Lag Banks, Thrifts

WASHINGTON-In a new study sure to initiate new debate over a Community Reinvestment Act for credit unions, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition issued a report asserting that credit unions lag behind banks and thrifts in serving minorities, women and low-income communities and individuals.

The three-year study compares various databases nationwide and concludes that banks do a better job of lending to underserved communities. Release of the study, coming as congressional debate commences on regulatory relief for credit unions, is sure to fuel a renewed debate over whether credit unions should be subjected to CRA, the law that requires banks and thrifts to make loans and provide other services to neglected communities. The NCRC study concludes that CRA requirements for credit unions in Massachusetts have forced state chartered credit unions in the Bay State to improve their lending in underserved areas.

Thieves Dress In Lab Coats, Surgical Masks

PEARL RIVER, N.Y. -As many as four assailants dressed in white laboratory overcoats and wearing surgical masks ambushed employees of Palisades FCU when they arrived to work on May 18, then made off with as much as $200,000 from the credit union's safe. The robbers accosted employees and tied up as many as eight with plastic "flex-cuffs" as they reported to work, until the two employees arrived who could open the vault, police said. Then the thieves forced them to open the vault and emptied it of cash, estimated at between $175,000 and $200,000. Police believe the robbers were professional thieves because the heist was well-planned and they knew the credit union had received a cash delivery the day before. The credit union is located less than a mile from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, where employes wear laboratory clothes, leading police to speculate that the robbers were aware of how some credit union members dressed while transacting business.

Progress On Subprime Mortgage

NEW YORK -The National Federation of CDCUs said last week it has signed with CU Partners, a unit of Stearns Lending Corp., of Santa Ana, Calif., to offer a subprime mortgage program for members with low credit scores. The program, known as Credit Builder, will provide lower rates once a member/borrower exhibits credit worthiness, rewarding them for good behavior. CU Partners, formerly known as First Pacific Financial, partners with 35 credit unions on mortgage lending.

CMG Mortgage Ins. In Deal

MADISON, Wis. -CUNA Mutual Group said its CMG Mortgage Insurance subsidiary has signed with CU National Mortgage to provide its credit union customers with mortgage insurance. Under the deal CMG Mortgage Insurance, a joint venture between CUNA Mutual and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., will also work with the Pine Brook, N.J., mortgage bank to offer a variety of affordable home ownership options to CUs. CU National Mortgage is a wholly owned unit of U.S. Mortgage Corp.

Arrowhead Rethinks HQ Plan

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.-Fast-growing Arrowhead CU said it scaled back plans for a headquarters campus and instead is looking at building a two-story 145,000 square-foot office and warehouse building just south of downtown, near the minor league baseball stadium that bears its name. The headquarters of the $1-billion ACU and its four financial services CUSOs are at an existing downtown office. Plans call for the new offices to eventually house about 400 employees. The credit union had earlier planned to build an office campus in north San Bernardino.

Thieves Steal ATM, Cart It Off

INDIANAPOLIS -An ATM owned by State Merit Service CU was removed sometime on the night of May 17 from the lobby of the state office building here. Police said the thieves had to unbolt the 500-pound machine from the floor, then carry it off on a dolly. Security guards reported seeing the machine at 6 pm Tuesday, then reported it missing at 6 am the following morning. The machine contained an undisclosed amount cash. (c) 2005 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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