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Lee Leaves Southwest Corp For U.S. Central

LENEXA, Kan.-Francis Lee has been named CEO at the $33.2-billion U.S. Central Credit Union effective Feb. 1. Lee is currently CEO at the $8-billion Southwest Corporate FCU in Dallas. Lee will fill a void created by the resignation of Dan Kampen in August; David Dickens had been serving as interim CEO at U.S. Central. Prior to joining Southwest in 1995, Lee had been with WesCorp, had served as an interim CEO for Constitution State Corporate CU in Connecticut, and had also worked at Capital Corporate FCU, prior to the latter's liquidation. Southwest Corporate Chair Jesse Gutierrez, CEO of Texas Bay Area CU, praised Lee's leadership for the 10 years he has led the corporate.

Jody Beck, senior VP-operations at Southwest Corporate, has been named interim CEO while the four-person search committee headed up by Brent Taylor seeks a new CEO.

3Q Data Shows Funds Drain From CU Movement

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-More than $7.2 billion in regular deposits exited credit unions in the third quarter of the year, continuing a trend that has stymied credit union leaders for most of this year.

NCUA reported Wednesday that regular shares declined by 2.4% from July through September, the second quarter in a row of negative growth for the core credit union deposits.

Through the first nine months of 2005 regular shares have grown less than 1%, believed to be the lowest growth rate ever for credit unions, while total shares, including share drafts and certificates too, have grown less than 4%, as rates for credit union savings products hold near record lows.

The record-low share growth has pushed down profitability, with third quarter return-on-average assets of just 0.93%, the same as in the second quarter, and near a decade low. Loan growth was strong in the third quarter, 4%, pushing growth for the first three quarters of the year to a healthy 9%.

For the third quarter new car loans led the way, expanding by 9%, while first real estate mortgages grew by 3.4%, other mortgages, which includes home equity loans, by 5.2%, and unsecured credit card loans by 2%.

For the first time on more than five decades, the number of credit unions fell below 9,000.

CU Reform Heads To Governor

COLUMBUS, Ohio-State chartered credit unions will get expanded powers to offer new services and ease operational restrictions under a credit union reform bill passed by the state legislature in the final days of this year's session.

The bill, the first major rewrite of the state's statute since 1987, will allow state chartered credit unions to set up student-run branches in schools, accept probate guardianship funds, ease restrictions on short-term loans, and facilitate electronic board meetings, voting and e-commerce.

It also includes a provision allowing a credit union to apply with the Secretary of State to designate any person to act as a police officer at their premises, which is currently allowed for banks and savings and loans.

But the credit union lobby was forced to leave out several provisions originally sought, like the ability to offer check cashing and wire transfers to non-members within a field of membership; and the authority to offer trust services, accept municipal deposits; and to issue secondary capital.

John Kozlowski, general counsel for the Ohio CU League, said the bill was carefully crafted during negotiations with top legislators, state regulators and the banking lobby.

"The way the legislative process works you basically have to sit down with the legislative leaders, the regulators and you talk to all the interested parties," Kozlowski told The Credit Union Journal.

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