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NCUA Clears Counseling For Non-Members

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA ruled that federal CUs may provide housing counseling services to non-members under the National CU Foundation's grant program.

In a legal opinion issued last week, NCUA said FCUs are allowed to provide financial counseling services that "promote thrift or otherwise assist members on financial matter," and non-members may receive these services as part of the CU's community outreach.

The Foundation won a $1 million grant last September from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which it awarded to 23 CUs to help them fund homeownership counseling programs for low-income members. The NCUA ruling means CUs can offer the services to non-members, too.

Among those awarded grants are: Arrowhead CU, ASI FCU, Brooklyn Cooperative FCU, District Government Employees FCU, Memphis Area Teachers CU, North Side Community FCU, Purdue Employees FCU, SOFCU Community CU.

ABNB FCU Unveils New Payday Loan Initiative

CHESAPEAKE, Va.-ABNB FCU rolled out a new payday loan program just as some payday lenders have stopped offering services to the credit union's military members because of new interest caps on loans to military personnel.

The CU Express Loan will carry an annual fee of $35 and an interest rate of 18%. The credit union's main sponsor group, Amphibious Base Naval Base, comes under the new law which caps all loans to military personnel at 36%, a fraction of the annual rate on typical payday loans.

Sierra Pacific CU Pays Dividend

RENO, Nev.-Sierra Pacific CU paid its members a special interest dividend of half-a-percent (0.50%) on their regular share accounts, believed to be the only Nevada credit union still paying an interest dividend.

The payout, which amounted to about $100,000, was credited to members' accounts on Dec. 31. Sierra Pacific CU has 3,800 members.

CU Teams With Black Chamber

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.-Arrowhead CU said it is partnering with the Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce in a project aimed at strengthening local black-owned businesses.

The partnership will include a direct $10,000 payment to the chamber and an agreement to establish $25 youth savings accounts at the credit union with each new chamber membership.

The Chamber, which was founded in 1990, will use some of the funds provided by the credit union to play a greater role in connecting area youth to employers and leadership programs.

Other provisions of the partnership include joint advertising on Web sites and promotional materials, credit union sponsorship of chamber events and collaboration on future business promotion projects.

Payout Helps Members Pay Off Bills

FORT WORTH, Texas-Members of American Airlines FCU got some fast help paying off their Christmas bills with the credit union's annual year-end bonus dividend-more than $8 million this year.

The bonus dividend was based on dividends earned on qualifying savings accounts and/or interest paid on applicable loans in 2006.

The rate on the dividends was calculated at 2.5%, as was the rate on interest paid. American Airlines FCU has more than 205,000 members and some $4.2 billion in assets.

'White Collar' Suspect Charged

FLINT, Mich.-A man charged with robbing two branches of Security FCU and preparing to rob a third-all on the day after Christmas-has a master's degree and once worked as an executive at General Motors.

Authorities said 58-year-old Alvin Parker suffers from mental illness and substance abuse.

Parker was arrested while he was in a car with three other people after he was locked out of a third Security FCU branch by employees who recognized him by a description from the day's earlier hold-ups.

Parker was convicted in 2004 of charges related to a robbery at Bank One and served time in a residential treatment center for substance abuse.

He is supposed to be on medical condition for a medical condition, police said during his arraignment last week.

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