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Ruling In Favor Of CUMIS In BJ's Breach

MADISON, Wis.-CUMIS Insurance Society's lawsuit against BJ's Wholesale Club and Fifth Third Bancorp related to a massive credit card data breach at the wholesalers is moving forward now that a Massachusetts Superior Court judge has ruled against most of the defendants' motions to dismiss. CUMIS brought the lawsuit on behalf of 192 of its credit union clients that were affected by the security breach.

The breach has been blamed on BJ's retaining and storing of Visa and MasterCard magnetic stripe information after authorized transactions, a practice that violates the credit card companies' agreements with merchants, and allowing for the opportunity for that data to be hacked. The judge ruled in favor of CUMIS on most of the counts BJ's and Fifth Third had sought dismissal. But in her ruling the judge did allow the claims for breach of contract and negligence to be dismissed from the case. The suit now moves into the discovery phase. "We're satisfied with the court's decision and look forward to proceeding with this case," said CUMIS spokesperson Phil Tschudy.

Find Your ATM, Branch Via Verizon Phones

BEDMINSTER, N.J.-Subscribers to Verizon Wireless can now locate their credit union or an ATM or shared branch near them using their phone. The wireless carrier launched the service with a GPS-based subscription offering called VZ Navigator, which is available for $10-a-month or $3-a-day. Similar locator services are already available on a smaller basis on the Nextel and Sprint networks, and on Blackberries.

Louisiana Bank Groups Merge

BATON ROUGE, La.-Hurricane Katrina continues to effect financial institutions in Louisiana, or, in this case, their trade groups.

The Louisiana Bankers Asociation and the Community Bankers of Louisiana have agreed to merge, pending approval of members. The new group will operate under the Louisiana Bankers Association name. The LBA has 168 members, the community bankers has 85 (75 of which also belong to the LBA).

According to The American Banker, the merger would be at least the ninth between state bank and thrift trade groups since 2000.

CEFCU Returns $7M Bonus

PEORIA, Ill.-The $2.8-billion CEFCU will pay members an extraordinary dividend of $7 million, with half going to borrowers and half to savers.

In both cases, the amount each member received was determined by dividends earned and interest paid as of Nov. 30, 2005.

On Dec. 12, dividends were deposited to members' savings accounts in one lump sum, with the savings and loan portions added together. Since 2000, CEFCU has returned $15 million in extraordinary dividends to members.

School Teacher Is Charged

BEAUFORT, S.C.-A local elementary school teacher and her husband were arrested last month and charged with using a Navy FCU member's identity to steal almost $15,000 from the CU.

Police said Phillis Smart, 36, opened an account over the phone using a member's name, Social Security number and a post office box in the member's name, then used it to borrow almost $15,000. Both Smart and her husband, Eric Smart, were also charged with using the member's name to apply for an auto title with the state DMV.

Shared Branches In Penn.

PITTSBURGH-Shared branches will expand in this market in 2006. Westmoreland Community FCU will join the shared branching network as an issuer in March 2006, and will later become an outlet in the Greensburg area.

In Allegheny County, meanwhile, U. S. Government EFCU said it will also join the shared branching network in May 2006, and further plans to open a downtown Pittsburgh outlet to perform transactions for other issuer CUs.

Harland Inks Deal On Imaging

ATLANTA-Harland Financial Co. has signed with Panini North America to run its Encore teller software over Panini's image capture system.

The deal will enable financial institutions to integrate teller line automation software with Panini's My Vision X image capture device.

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