Revolving Door Swings At Senate CU

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The turmoil continued at U.S. Senate FCU, with the new manager Ron Thomas walking out after just three weeks on the job, setting the stage for the credit union's fourth manager in the past three years.

Thomas, who ran Polish & Slavic FCU under that controversial conservatorship, replaced Jan Roche, who backed the losing side when the credit unions' members voted last April in an unprecedented recall drive to remove a majority of the board of directors.

Roche, who had been working under an expired contract, is currently embroiled in a heated legal dispute over severance for the $135,000-a-year job, sources told The Journal.

Roche came under heavy fire last year for her support of the chairman and other long-time members of the board who were voted out of office after they expanded the board to protect two long-time incumbents who had lost their bids for reelection.

Representatives of the $300-million credit union refused to comment on the latest turmoil.

Roche, who left the credit union April 17, was promoted to replace manager Jerry Roley in 2000 after Roley was fired.

Susan Ennis, the credit union's CFO, is acting as manager and CEO until a permanent successor is hired.

Ill. Budget Deal Would Cost CUs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.-State lawmakers are fighting to close a yawning $5-billion budget deficit by the end of the upcoming legislative session with a broad package of spending cuts and revenue increases that would cost credit unions at least $1.9 million in fee hikes.

The proposal would not only raise credit union examination fees by 50% but send that revenue to the state's genera; fund, instead of dedicating it to the costs of credit union supervision, according to Keith Sias, chief lobbyist for the Illinois league.

"We are very concerned that a large number of our state charters are going to look at converting to federal charters," Sias told The Credit Union Journal. "While we're not calling this a tax on credit unions, it is a regulatory fee that is not being used on credit unions."

The budget proposal would also assess a 5% administrative fee on 600 special purpose funds held by the state, including the $3.8 million CU Fund, earmarked to pay credit union supervisory costs, amounting to a another transfer of $305,000 of credit unions revenue to the general fund.

Florida CU Giant Extends Reach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-VyStar CU, the $2.7- billion CU known until last year as JaxNavy FCU, is spreading its wings again and has asked state regulators for permission to add five more Florida counties to its sprawling field of membership.

VyStar, which has obtained permission over the past two years to serve more than 2.5 million residents in nine Florida counties, is seeking to add another 400,000 people in Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion and Union counties.

Mass. Ups Top Bounced Check Fees

BOSTON-The state Division of Banks said it has boosted the maximum allowable fee a state-chartered credit union or bank may charge for dishonored, or bounced, checks, to $3.56 per check, up from $2.92 a check allowed last year. This year's fee, which goes into affect May 31, was set after surveying costs for processing bounced checks at 69 institutions, including 21 credit unions. The average for the 69 institutions was $3.56 per check.

CO-OP Drops Exclusivity Rule

ONTARIO, Calif.-The CO-OP Network has terminated a rule preventing member CUs from joining other surcharge-free networks. The operations advisory board of CO-OP agreed to drop the exclusivity clause after protests from several CUs wanting to join the fledgling Allpoint network. CO-OP's decision last December to enforce the little- known exclusivity clause in its member agreements was seen as an effort to prevent members from expanding to other networks, such as Allpoint, a newly formed surcharge free network providing members access to more than 23,000 ATMs nationwide owned by E*Trade and Cardtronics.

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