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Virginia CU Giant Charts New Way

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.-Chartway FCU, based here, is expanding into Pinellas County, Fla., with the opening of two new branches. The credit union has had a presence in the St. Petersburg market for the past five years after adding Certegy, Inc., the credit, debit and merchant card processor and its more than 2,000 Florida employees as a select group. The $1 billion credit union, chartered to serve U.S. Navy personnel, has also expanded into Texas and New England markets over the past two years.

Murder Charge Shadows Trial

ANN ARBOR, Mich.-A state judge declared a mistrial in the case of a two-year-old armed robbery plot at Westshore Community FCU after prosecutors let slip to jurors the fact the defendant is also charged with a murder weeks before the credit union incident. Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Hicks had warned both sides throughout the trial of Ricardo Blackshire to spare the jury the details of the other charges against the defendant to avoid prejudicing the jurors against Blackshire.

But prosecutors inadvertently referred to the murder charges when citing the similarities between the two cases. Blackshire, 21, is charged with conspiring with three accomplices to rob the credit union on May 14, 2002. The robbery went awry when Blackshire accidentally shot himself in the leg with a sawed-off shotgun he had hidden in his pants, police said. The self-inflicted wound led to Blackshire's arrest in both the credit union case and the robbery and murder of Cassandra Wilson, seven weeks before the failed credit union robbery.

Redemption Costs Black Separatist

PITTSBURGH-A member of a black separatist movement advocating the so-called redemption theory, was sentenced to three years in jail for trying to pass phony paper at area institutions, including a $25-million check on tiny Citizen's East Community Development FCU. Lutfee Abdul Waalee, 48, of Penn Hills, a follower of the redemption theory movement, which has attracted anti-government extremists across the country, passed checks he called "certified tenders" that purported to be issued by either the U.S. Treasury or Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Under the redemption theory, the U.S. Government has pledged the "lifetime worth" of U.S. citizens for collateral on foreign loans, which are redeemable by citizens. Waalee was also ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution to PNC Bank for two bogus checks the bank honored.

Ex-Banker Elected FHLB Chair

WASHINGTON-Alicia Castaneda, a former vice president for Bank of America, took over the chair of the Federal Housing Finance Board this week pledging to return comity to the board marked by infighting over the past few years. Castaneda, a Republican, takes over from John Korsmo, who resigned last month amidst a federal investigation over his fundraising for Republican congressional candidates. There are currently four directors seated on the five-person FHFB, which has jurisdiction over the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. The banks provide low-cost mortgage funding for more than 8,100 members institutions, including 800 CUs.

Scholarships Granted By IUCU

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-Indiana University CU awarded a total of $20,000 to 12 students under its Returning Student Scholarships program.

Eight of the scholarships went to students at Indiana University and four to students of Ivy Tech State College.

TNB Acquires 3 More Portfolios

DALLAS-TNB Card Services said it signed agent issuing agreements with three more credit unions to purchase and manage their credit card portfolios. Under the deals Spirit of St. Louis CU, North Alabama Educators CU, Huntsville, Ala., and Southside CU, San Antonio, Texas, will convert their current card portfolios to TNB over the next several months. The three credit unions represent approximately 26,000 members. TNB is a subsidiary of credit union-owned Town North Bank.

First Data Helps In Tax Payments

DENVER-First Data Corp. said H&R Block is using the company's TeleCheck Electronic Check Acceptance service and credit and debit processing services to provide tax payments to millions of taxpayers. The TeleCheck ECA service, being used in 7,000 H&R Block offices, delivers funds directly to a Block account to offer clients more tax payment choices.

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