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AltaOne Offers 'Desperate' Loan

RIDGECREST, Calif.-AltaOne FCU said it made $16 million in new mortgage loans in July with a mortgage loan campaign based on TV's hit 'Desperate Housewives' show.

The campaign, developed by Redbeard Communications, depicts an attractive house with a white picket fence and climbing roses.

Each ad features one of four females resembling the 'Desperate Housewives cast. The melodramatic copy details the peril of getting a home loan with another company and explains the benefits that AltaOne offers.

The campaign consists of local newspaper and radio advertisements as well as statement inserts, teller signs, branch posters and graphics for the credit union's newsletter and website. The print and branch materials are being repeated this month due to the campaign's success.

Encore Adds To Network

FALL CHURCH, Va.-Encore Electronic Services Cooperative announced five more credit unions have joined its network of shared branching and electronic funds transfer services.

Both AB&W Employees CU and Hoya FCU joined to take part in shared branching through a relationship Encore has with the CU Service Centers.

Pioneer Valley Postal FCU and United Services CU joined Encore's EFT/ATM Services and Card Services programs. And Spartanburg Regional FCU joined to take advantage of Encore's merchant services program.

Burglars Clean Out CU

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-A team of burglars disabled the alarm and pried open the back door of Florida CU to steal more than $40,000.

The break-in was discovered when it caused phone service at a nearby business to be interrupted. The burglars rifled through two teller drawers, the safe and an ATM, police said.

Used Auto Loans Tied To Mileage

DENVER-New Horizons Community CU has rolled out a vehicle loan program that reduces rates according to the mileage the financed vehicle gets.

The credit union is offering a 0.50% loan discount on vehicles that get 25-plus combined miles per gallon (MPG) and 0.25% on vehicles that get 20-24 combined MPG. It is basing its mileage figures on data available at www.fueleconomy.gov. The promotion could run into 2006.

Couple Stole IDs To Pay For Wedding

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-A local couple was charged with stealing personal information from Vystar CU members to get phony debit cards they used to help pay for their wedding.

The couple, identified as Angelia Southerland and her fianc?, Anthony Smith, used the bogus cards to steal as much as $750,000 from the credit union, including $2,600 to pay for their wedding. However, the couple's wedding plans were apparently delayed as they were arrested a day before the planned affair.

The two used the counterfeit cards to go on shopping sprees at Best Buy, Target and Food Lion, and to obtain travelers' checks, money orders and to pay for cruises, according to police.

Unitus Community Finds New HQ

PORTLAND, Ore.-Unitus Community CU has agreed to move to a new headquarters in the city's Columbia Financial Center.

The $650-million credit union signed a 10-year lease for 47,000 square-feet in the five-story building.

Unitus, which was formerly known as Oregon Telephone Employees CU, plans to sell its existing headquarters and maintain a branch in the facility.

Cardtronics, MasterCard Team Up

HOUSTON-Cartronics Inc., which operates the nation's largest ATM fleet, has teamed with MasterCard International to create a nationwide surcharge-free ATM program.

Under the deal, issuers of MasterCard and MasterCard's Maestro and/or Cirrus branded debit cards will be able to offer their cardholders surcharge-free cash withdrawals at more than 25,000 Cardtronics ATMs.

The deal will put increasing pressure on surcharge fees earned by banks and credit unions. Hundreds of credit unions are already using the Cardtronics machines either over the Credit Union 24 or Allpoint networks.

The Cardtronics program will not require any brand changes.

Cardholders will be able to utilize a free web-based locator to find the nearest surcharge-free Cardtronics ATM. MasterCard will market the program to its member financial institutions.

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