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Bethex Wins $25K Award

SAN FRANCISCO-At the Opportunity Finance Network Conference here, Bethex FCU was presented with a $25,000 from the Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards in recognition of its community impact.

The South Bronx, N.Y.-based Bethex, chartered in 1970 to provide affordable credit and financial services, has grown to $16 million in assets and serves what is the poorest Congressional District in the U.S.

Launched in 2007, the Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards "provide low-interest loans and grants totaling $8.25 million each year to two premier CDFIs with a history of "outstanding accomplishment, a bold and compelling vision, and extraordinary potential for growth, innovation, and impact," as well as four $25,000 awards to CDFIs that demonstrate outstanding advocacy, community impact, innovation and financing.


DFCU Plans $19M Payout

DEARBORN, Mich.-DFCU Financial, which has returned more than $90 million to members in special dividends over the past four years, announced last week plans for another $19-million payout this year. The $2.7-billion credit union will also give away an additional $25,000 during a "Double Your Dividend" promotion, allowing a selected 25 members to double their dividends up to $1,000.

This year's huge payout, tied with last year's as the biggest ever for a U.S. credit union, was made possible by another successful year for DFCU, which reported $25.7 million in net income through the first three quarters, even counting for a $3-million charge for the corporate credit union bailout. DFCU is one of the most successful credit unions in the country, having earned net income of $11.5 million last year-even after a similar $19 million special dividend. This year's Special Patronage Dividend will be calculated based on each member's total relationship to the credit union.


Average CD Rates Hit .99%

SAN ANSELMO, Calif.-The average rate for CDs, ranging from three-months to five years and including all specials, hit .99% in October of this year, the first time the average has ever dropped below 1%, according to an analysis by Market Rates Insight In addition, MRI said the national average for all deposits, which includes CDs, money markets, savings and checking accounts, now stands at 0.80%, after dropping below the 1% mark in July of this year.

MRI reported that the current wave of rate decreases started in September of 2006, when the national average for CDs stood at 4.53% and the average for all deposit products at 3.53%.

"Many first-time records were produced by the last recession" said Dan Geller, Ph.D. Executive Vice President at Market Rates Insight. "The lowest Fed Fund rate, the lowest overall deposit rates, and now the lowest average CD rates."

For info: www.marketratesinsight.com.


Attracting, Retaining Youth

MADISON, Wis.-The Filene Research Institute has issued a new report that examines the evolving financial preferences of online consumers and further explores how credit unions can attract and retain young adults.

Authored by Filene researcher Ron Rubin, the report emphasizes that "good service" means fully meeting young consumers' needs online without requiring them to visit the branch or use another delivery channel.

The report, titled "Big, Small, or Online? Young Adults' Evolving Financial Preferences," also found:

* Convenience is an "extremely important" in choosing a financial institution, and that factor, along with the perceived difficulty of switching accounts, are the primary reasons most consumers remain with their current FI.

* Customers of big banks express dissatisfaction with high fees and uncompetitive interest rates, but are not considered sufficient enough reason to drive a move to another provider.

For info: www.filene.org.


CU Offers 'Doorbusters'

PROCTOR, W. Va.-Along with the department stores and malls, Bayer Heritage FCU here plans to open at 5 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving to launch five hours worth of "doorbuster" specials as part of its participation in the annual Black Friday. The $237-million BHFCU said it is seeking to capture some of the excitement that surrounds what is typically the busiest shopping day of the year. Among the offers: Bayer Heritage will offer the first 50 people to enter each of its six branches a free shopping tote bag, while between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. it will offer Christmas cookies and a chance to win a vacation package. In addition, it will offer five "super deals," including:

* An 0.5% APR discount on all loans (with the exception of mortgages).

* $50 for loan refi's (from other lenders).

* An 0.5% APR discount on the APR on new Visa cards.

* A 5% APY on a five-month CD with a maximum of $500.

* $500 Visa "on-the-spot" cash advances for eligible members.


Kinecta Offers 'Tap N Go'

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif.-Kinecta FCU said it will provide its members with MasterCard PayPass contactless payment technology on its credit cards.

The cards will use the "Tap N Go" feature in which members simply tap their PayPass-enabled credit cards on a specially equipped merchant terminal.

Signatures are not required for PayPass purchases under $50. PayPass cards also include traditional magnetic strips so they can be used anywhere MasterCard cards are accepted.


Study: P2P Adoption Slow,

SAN FRANCISCO-Person-to-person (P2P) money transfer capabilities have gotten a lot of attention, but a new Javelin Strategy & Research report finds that U.S. adoption of P2P mobile money transfers is currently quite low.

However, the study, "Person-to-Person Mobile Money Transfers: Successfully Navigating a Market in Transition," found that although only 8% of consumers with a mobile phone plan to make a mobile transfer in the next year, there is strong adoption in emerging markets outside the U.S., "providing a healthy indicator to the many financial institutions in the early stages of implementing mobile P2P services within the U.S. market."

Javelin estimates that the annual transaction volume for mobile P2P transfers in the U.S. will be $7 billion this year, with volume projected to grow substantially in the next few years.

"If financial institutions want to be consumers' first choice for banking and payments via mobile devices, they will need to develop a strategy for addressing the growing P2P mobile money market," said James Van Dyke, president and founder of Javelin.

For info: javelinstrategy.com.

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