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Southeast Offers Image Exchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-Southeast Corporate FCU said it has implemented VSoft's eDesk Branch Item Capture, Research, Image Exchange and Return solutions.

The VSoft solutions will provide the corporate's credit union members with image capture and exchange capabilities from the branch, in compliance with the new Check 21 law. VSoft's eDesk Branch Item Capture allows users to capture item images at the branch, rather than transporting them to the central operations center.

NY CUs Want Check On Tax Loans

ALBANY, N.Y.-Consumer and senior citizens advocates have joined with the New York CU League to lobby state lawmakers to help curb predatory practices in the market for tax refund anticipation loans.

A group called New Yorkers for Responsible Lending said the interest rates charged on tax refund loans can soar to as high as 700% on an annual basis, in violation of the state's 25% usury ceiling. The New York league, AARP and consumer groups want legislation to close loopholes in the state's financial regulation that allow RAL providers to circumvent the usury ceilings.

CU Employees Get Mortgage Aid

ANN ARBOR, Mich.-MidWest Financial CU is offering employees assistance in obtaining a mortgage under a new Employer-Assisted Housing Program.

The program provides eligible employees with loans that may be used for down payments, closing costs or prepaid escrow expenses. Loans made through this program are forgiven over five years-20% each year-provided that the employee remains with the credit union.

Groups Benefit From CU Largesse

PHOENIX-Desert Schools FCU handed out seven checks of $10,000 each to Arizona Saves, Banner Health Foundation, Communities In Schools of Arizona, Habitat for Humanity, HomeBase Youth Services, Junior Achievement and Vale de Sol. The main goal of the community grant program is to aid low-income families and neighborhoods.

Fishing Hat Bandit To Plead Guilty

ST. PAUL, Minn.-The Fishing Hat Bandit, who menaced metropolitan area credit unions for a year and a half, is expected to withdraw his plea of innocence and plead guilty to some of the 22 charges pending against him. Fifty-seven-year-old John Whitrock, of nearby Burnside, pleaded not guilty in February to 21 robberies and one attempted robbery-16 of them at credit unions-in what was the most prolific string of banking robberies in the state's history. Authorities believe he may have been responsible for as many as 25 robberies during an 18-month spree. Whitrock, nicknamed for his preference of a floppy fishing hat and deep-water waders during most of the heists, was arrested Jan. 7 after robbing Real Financial CU.

When the credit union manager, Dean Wickstrom, followed him during his getaway and alerted police to his hiding place.

Boeing Wichita Moves Across Town

WICHITA, Kan.-Boeing Wichita Credit Union, the state's largest credit union, moved to new headquarters on the northeast side of the city.

The 30,000 square-foot, seven-year-old building, formerly occupied by Spirent Systems, will allow the $400-million credit union to consolidate all of its administration into a single site.

The new facility will be known as the "Triad Center" because it will house the 69-year-old credit union's training, customer support and call centers with administration.

Member Guilty Of Passing Fake MOs

BEAVER, Pa.-A member of Beaver Valley FCU pleaded guilty this week to depositing phony money orders into accounts at his credit union and a local bank, then withdrawing the money. Kenneth Magestro, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced in August.

Magestro deposited $9,000 worth of counterfeit Western Union money orders into the two accounts, then withdrew it as cash.

Bank Bandit Bagged For Bad Bike Getaway

SAGINAW, Mich.-A 23-year-old local man was sentenced Thursday to up to 32 years in prison for robbing two local financial institutions, including Saginaw Medical FCU last June-after which he tried to escape on a bicycle with a flat tire. John Rowell pleaded guilty to both robberies-the other one was of a Citizens Bank branch-as well as first-degree home invasion, possessing a firearm while committing a felony, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. He as also ordered to make $4,439 in restitution to the credit union and $3,819 to the homeowner in the home invasion incident. Rowell was already serving two to 10 years in prison for violating probation in a case in which he used a forklift to break into a safe. (c) 2005 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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