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Mortgage Rates Hit New Lows

McLEAN, Va.-Long-term mortgages rates dipped slightly last week, holding near 50-year lows, according to Freddie Mac. The average for the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate loan slipped to 5.38% this week, from 5.41% last week; while the average for the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage remained unchanged at 4.69%. The average for the one-year ARM fell from 3.41% the previous week, to 3.39%, the lowest since Freddie began tracking it in 1984.

Teller Shot As Branch Robbed

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-Three armed men burst into the GTE FCU branch here last week, roughed up a security guard and shot a teller before escaping with an undetermined amount of cash. The three men, all wearing black ski masks and black clothing, entered the credit union just after opening, then subdued the guard with mace, before ordering tellers to lay down on the floor. One suspect fired several shots, one of which hit a female teller in the leg. Before fleeing, the assailants robbed a member entering the branch.

Ex-Brink's Driver Is Sentenced

FORT WAYNE, Ind.-A former Brink's armored card driver was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $829,000 in restitution last week for stealing cash from Three Rivers FCU ATMs he was supposed to be replenishing. Scott Kammerer, 31, pleaded guilty last November to stealing $23,360 from a credit union ATM last August, and agreed to help investigators as they continue to track the rest of the missing funds. Kammerer testified that he used security keys to open the credit union's ATM inside a Fort Wayne supermarket, then grabbed stacks of $20 bills. Kammerer confessed to stealing cash from several ATMs during the two years he worked for Brink's.

Guard Deposited Bribes At CU

SALT LAKE CITY-A corrections officer at Utah State Prison was fired last week and charged with taking $11,000 in bribes for smuggling contraband to inmates, including a portable printer with a handgun hidden inside. Larry Van Cox, 59, allegedly accepted the pay-offs in return for delivering electronic goods and cigarettes to inmates, then deposited the funds in his account at Mountain America CU, opened under a phony name. Police said there was no evidence Cox knew the gun was inside the printer when it was smuggled into the prison. Cox was arrested at his home in suburban Myton and charged with receiving a bribe by a public servant and money laundering.

$50K Winner, Courtesy of SCCU

MELBOURNE, Fla.-Fans of the Brevard County Manatees minor league baseball team will get a chance to win $50,000 every Monday night this season-courtesy of Space Coast CU. The lucky fan, who will be chosen from a lottery, will be called on to hit a target at home plate from the pitcher's mound. Manatee tickets can be bought at all Brevard County branches of SSCU.

With Family Like This (Sister), And...

SALT LAKE CITY-A Sandy woman was indicted by a federal grand jury last week and charged with stealing her sister's identity to borrow funds from three local credit unions. According to the indictment, obtained by The Credit Union Journal, Linda Kay Richin, 36, used her sister's Social Security number to apply for and obtain more than $33,000 for two car loans and a signature loan at Jordan CU, Cypress CU and Mountain America between February and June 2002. Richins filed for bankruptcy in February 2003, again using her sister's name and Social Security number, according to the indictment. Richins is charged with three counts of bank fraud, three counts of misuse of a Social Security number, one count of false bankruptcy declaration, and one count of bankruptcy fraud.

...This (Dad), Who Needs Enemies?

SAN JOSE, Calif.-A Kent, Wash., man was charged with stealing his teenage son's identity to rack up thousands of dollars in debt. Phillip E. Roush allegedly used his 16-year-old son Phillip P. Roush's identity to open 11 financial institution accounts and run up a string of bad debt.

The scheme was discovered last July when the younger Rush went to Santa Clara County FCU to open his first bank account and was later refused an ATM card because of a record of bounced checks.

Those checks, it turns out, were written by the father using the son's identity. Investigators said the father had opened several accounts using his own name but his son's Social Security number. The father has been charged with second degree identity theft.

NY Bill Would Include CUs

ALBANY, N.Y.-The state Assembly approved a bill last week that would allow credit unions to participate in the state's Excelsior Linked Deposit Program, which subsidizes loans to small business.

The fund, which allows eligible businesses to borrow at two to three percentage points lower than the prevailing rate, was recently increased to as much as $350 million. Currently, credit unions are the only financial institutions excluded from participation in the program. The bill must still be approved by the state Senate.

Loans For Segways Available

CONCORD, N.H.-Digital FCU said it is offering members special loans to buy the Segway Human Transporter, the two-wheel scooter built down the road in Manchester. Members can finance the $5,000 motorized vehicle for $100 a month.

The credit union said it had made three of the loans so far.

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