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Navy FCU Plans To Add Up To 48 Branches

VIENNA, Va.-Navy FCU said it is planning to add as many as 48 new branches to its worldwide network of 111 service facilities over the next five years, as the world's biggest credit union seeks to keep up with its rapidly growing membership. The $25-billion credit union plans to add 28 new branches by the end of 2008, and will begin opening some of them in the next two weeks, according to Lee Gound, SVP-branch operations.

On the near horizon are plans to open four new facilities in California, one each in Twenty-Nine Palms, Escondido, Santee and Lemoore, and one in Pensacola, Fla., by year-end. The credit union has recently changed its mode of branch operations from leasing to ownership, said Gound. The major areas being targeted for expansion are Washington, D.C., Virginia Beach, Jacksonville, Fla., and southern California; areas where the credit union has large concentrations of members.

"It's just now coming together. We'll know more in the next six or eight months," Gound told The Credit Union Journal of the expansion plan.

U.S. Central Gives Big

Boost To Dividends

LENEXA, Kan.-U.S. Central FCU reported that the higher-rate environment in 2005 allowed it to significantly raise dividends paid out to its corporate members. The corporates' corporate reported a 64% surge, or $465 million, in interest and dividend income for 2005, compared to 2004. This allowed U.S. Central to pay out $434 million more in interest and dividends to its members. For 2005, U.S. Central said it paid an average rate of 3.25% on member share accounts (up from 1.35% in 2004); 3.21% on member certificates (up from 2.05%); 3.53% for member capital shares (up from 1.66%); and 4.35% for paid-in-capital (up from 2.48%).

The corporates' corporate, which converted to a federal charter in October, also reported a major increase in loan demand from its members to an average of $1.1 billion a day, from $590 million in 2004, which peaked at $3.7 billion in late August. U.S. Central also reported a continued expansion of its CU Investment Solutions operations, with on-site agents now at 20 corporates, up from 14 the year before.

U.S. Central ended 2005 with assets of $36.6 billion, almost the same as the year before.

Burglary Ring Busted

HOUSTON-The central figure in a bank and credit union burglary ring pleaded guilty to bank burglary charges after he was extradited from Costa Rica.

David Thomas Hughes, 33, a renown safecracker, admitted participating in eight bank and credit union burglaries since 2001, reaping as much as $2 million that he split with his accomplices.

Hughes, a former locksmith, was identified by one of his partners, Keith Bailey, after a failed heist at Community Resource CU, in Baytown, Texas, on August 4, 2003, according to a plea deal reviewed by The Credit Union Journal.

Hughes tripped a silent alarm while trying to cut into the vault with a torch in the early morning hours.

When police arrived Hughes and Bailey stepped outside the credit union, but Hughes, an accomplished long-distance runner, escaped, leaving Bailey behind.

Two other accomplices, Terrance Veltman, 48, and Thomas Davis, 46, have also pleaded guilty and face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced in June.

The group's biggest robbery was of Elgin Bank, in Elgin, Texas, where they stole $688,000.

Utah Forms ID Theft Database

SALT LAKE CITY-The state attorney general's office unveiled a new identity theft reporting system that will expedite reporting by victims and give law enforcement a central database. Victims of identity theft can access the system at idtheft.utah.gov, which shows them how to file a complaint that will be sent to the proper agencies.

Identity theft victims spend an average of 600 hours and $1,400 to resolve and recover from the crime, recent studies show. The new database was developed through a task force comprised of law enforcement, legislative, banking, credit union and credit company representatives.

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