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Pay-By-Cell Coming To CU Near You

CHICAGO-Discover Financial Services, the parent of PULSE EFT, is testing contactless card technology that will allow its cardholders to pay by cell phones at the point of sale.

The technology will also allow Pulse and Discover cardholders to check their card or account balances, transfer funds, and conduct other business over their mobile phones. The pay-by-phone application is fully integrated with the Discover network and the PULSE PIN-debit network that Discover bought earlier this year.

Consumers buying cell phones will be able to add a payment application with a Discover-network linked account under deals the company is currently negotiating with cell phone retailers. The phone buyer will also be able to apply for a Discover card when buying the phone.

HI CU Plans Senior Housing Project

MAUI, Hawaii-Kula Community FCU has come up with a unique project to help its members deal with the high cost of living on this remote Hawaiian island. The credit union is planning to build its own senior citizen housing project.

The 36 rental apartments would be reserved for members of the credit union or people who live within its field of membership, the community surrounding the Kula Post Office. The apartments will be geared towards seniors who live independently.

Each of the units would have 686 square feet of living space and access to a 3,500 square-foot community/recreation center. The credit union is also involved in other projects to help with the high cost of island living.

New CUSO Offers Payroll Services

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-Alleghacy FCU has formed a new CUSO that will offer payroll services for credit unions around the country.

The new wholly owned CUSO, called Cooperative Payroll Solutions LLC, plans to begin operations in the first quarter of 2006.

The operation will open with a staff of three but will expand to as many as 10, as business warrants, officials said.

SW Corp. Moves Broker-Dealer

DALLAS-Southwest Corporate FCU is transferring member CUs' brokerage accounts to U.S. Central CU subsidiary, CU Investment Solutions. "It has gotten to the point where the cost of operations and regulatory compliance issues are making it necessary to find greater efficiencies," said Bruce Fox, Chief Investment Officer for Southwest Corporate Investment Services.

Southwest Corporate's broker-dealer, Southwest Corporate Investment Services will remain in operation.

Dough Baked On False Records

NEW YORK-Two brothers were found guilty of financing an empire of more than two-dozen Dunkin Donuts through their credit union on a pile of lies, authorities said.

Constantine 'Gus' Gianapoulos, 38, and his brother Anastasios 'Tom' Gianopoulos, 41, pleaded guilty to several felonies, including tax evasion and making false statements on a series of loan applications to Central CU, in Queens, in order to obtain more than $3 million in loans for their business, which, at one time operated as many as 35 Dunkin Donuts franchises and the bakeries that supplied them.

Prosecutors said the brothers submitted false corporate tax returns that demonstrated the donut shops were profitable, when they were not.

The brothers were also charged with a scheme to withhold income and payroll taxes on their business and other tax schemes between 2000 and 2004.

Loans Finance Home Winterization

CHICAGO-South Side Community FCU has teamed up with one of the city's historic association's to help finance energy efficient projects for low- and moderate-income South Side bungalow owners. Under the project, the CU will provide up to $1,500 at 4% for five years and the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association will provide grants of up to $1,500.

The program will finance such projects as attic insulation, draft sealing, and the installation of programmable thermostats.

Eligible participants may earn up to 80% of the city's median income. (c) 2005 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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