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Check Cashers Agree To Fee Cap

HARRISBURG, Penn.-The state of Pennsylvania has struck a deal with check cashers in the state that cash government checks to place a cap on the fee charged for the service.

Secretary of Banking Bill Schenck said that 84% of the check cashers in Pennsylvania that cash government checks and 87% of grocery store registrants have agreed to charge no more than 2.5% to cash government checks.

"As a matter of good business, a number of the check cashers across the state have not charged more than 2.5% to cash any check and we applaud them," said Schenck. "We believe it's extremely important for consumers who use check cashers to make informed choices so that they can save more of their hard earned money," Schenck said. "This is especially important during tax season when so many working families qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and receive substantial tax-refund checks."

EITC is a tax benefit for people who earn less than $35,000 a year.

CECDFCU May Die On The Vine

PITTSBURGH, Pa.-A fledgling community development credit union here won't make it to adolescence, despite pleas for help from the credit union community. Officials with Citizens East Community Development FCU said the three-year-old credit union has been unable to solve its financial duress and is searching for a merger mate.

"We have contacted one credit union and talked to them," Patsy Austin, president of the $400,000 institution, told The Credit Union Journal. "NCUA has been pushing us to pursue a merger."

The credit union, plagued by lay-offs in an economically depressed Pittsburgh neighborhood and by the subsequent withdrawal of non-member deposits, sent out an unusual plea in February to area credit unions for contributions, but had little response.

The credit union's diminishing finances-it now has negative net worth of $20,000-helped dissuade potential donors, said Austin. "We're just going to go ahead with a merger and hope we can keep the offices here open," she explained.

Charge That Big Mac

OAK BROOK, Ill.-McDonald's has signed a deal with Visa USA to double the number of its fast-food restaurants that will accept cashless payments by year-end to as many as 6,000.

The ubiquitous fast-food chain will now accept Visa credit and debit payments at counters and drive-thru lines. Participating McDonalds outlets will feature the Visa logo.

Missouri League Opens Office

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.-The Missouri CU Association dedicated its new offices here last week. The new facility will provide lobbying and administrative space, offices for visiting credit union officials, and a conference room. The credit union league, which represents 176 Missouri credit unions, will also maintain its existing offices in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Unions Picket Warner Gear EFCU

MUNCIE, Ind.-Unions sympathetic to employees of Warner Gear Employees FCU staged an informational picket outside the credit unions' three Muncie offices. The credit union's employees voted last November to organize under the auspices of the Office Professional Employees International Union. Union workers were also protesting the firing of the chief negotiator and steward.

Former Loan Officer Convicted

ROME, Ga.-A former accounting clerk and loan officer at Georgia Power Northwest FCU pleaded guilty to stealing $265,000 from the credit union. Kristi Brooks confessed to embezzling the funds in 58 transactions.

She was caught when auditors discovered discrepancies in her checking account. The 18-year employee of the credit union is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 6.

Gateway Metro, Omni FCU Merge

ST. LOUIS-Gateway Metro CU and Omni FCU combined operations April 1. Operating under Gateway Metro's name, the credit unions will have $142 million in assets and 23,000 members.

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