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Pressure Builds To Check The Float

WASHINGTON-A group of Democratic lawmakers, following in the footsteps of Republican leaders, called on the Federal Reserve to adjust its permitted hold times on checks in light of the expedited clearing enabled by the new Check 21 law.

In a letter to the Fed, Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee said the time credit unions and banks are allowed to hold checks should be shortened because of the faster clearing time for checks created by the new law.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Credit Union Journal, differs slightly from one sent by Republican leaders of the committee which urged the Fed to speed up a study of the permitted hold times, now five days for most checks.

The Democrats said the Fed need not wait 30 months after the new law to study hold times, but should commence the study immediately.

"Rather than wait for more than two years," wrote the lawmakers, "the Federal Reserve should consider making these changes now."

CU Settles Overdraft Charges

VANCOUVER, British Columbia-VanCity CU said it has agreed to pay members as much as $2.8 million to compensate them for excessive overdraft fees on late checks.

The payments represent settlement of a class action suit, brought by members claiming the $10 overdraft fee was an excessive interest rate.

In addition, the credit union, Canada's biggest, has changed its overdraft policy, reducing its overdraft fee to $5. So far, at least 2,500 members have called in to file claims.

Handicapped Students Get Help

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah-Hartvigsen School unveiled its new multi-sensory room for severely and multiply disabled students.

The facility, built with a $16,000 grant from 100% for Kids, the Utah CU Education Foundation, is designed to stimulate the senses and invite exploration for students with major handicaps.

The facility offers aromatherapy and music, a disco ball and various physical aids, including large rubber mats, a trampoline, a ball pit and low-hanging swings.

Female Robber Was No Lady

TYLER, Texas-A 41-year-old woman pleaded guilty to helping rob two local credit unions and a bank over the past five months.

Carol Robertson-Myles confessed to last June's armed robbery at Keystone CU in which she carried out a bag with almost $32,000.

The getaway car driver in the case, Carlos Starks, 41, pleaded guilty earlier to his role.

A third suspect, Anthony Daley, 43, who allegedly held employees at bay with a handgun, is scheduled to be tried Feb. 7. The three are also believed responsible for heists at Kelly Tyler FCU and First State Bank of Brownsboro.

Charities Benefit From Loan Promo

HARLINGEN, Texas-Harlingen Area Teachers CU raised more than $3,500 for local non-profit organizations through a special holiday loan promotion. The credit union offered reduced rates of as much as 1% on loan between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, and pledged to donate $10 for every loan.

The money raised will be divided among several area charities, including Loaves & Fishes, End of the Road Ministries, Maggie's House and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

RISDIC Figure Returned To Prison

CRANSTON, R.I.-Joseph Mollicone, who served 10 years in jail for embezzling $15 million to trigger the 1991 RISDIC crisis, was returned to prison last week for possibly violating his parole.

Mollicone, who was paroled two years ago, surrendered to authorities. Mollicone was convicted of stealing $12 million from Heritage Loan and Investment Co., which was insured by the R.I. Share and Indemnity Corp. The embezzlement triggered the failure of RISDIC and more than two dozen credit unions it insured and forced the governor to call a bank holiday.

Mollicone fled to Salt Lake City, where he lived under an assumed identity, then he turned himself in two years later to face the embezzlement charges.

The ensuing crisis eventually forced private deposit insurers for credit unions in at least 10 other states to close down.

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