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Overvalued Markets On Decline

CLEVELAND-The number of U.S. home markets considered "extremely overvalued" has declined slightly as mortgage rates have risen and prices have eased, according to one study.

Sixty-five markets are now considered extremely overvalued, meaning they have home prices at least 30% above where they should be, according to the study done by National City Corp. and Global Insight Corp.

Those 65 markets still comprise 38% of the top 299 markets, down from 67 in the previous quarter. Four markets have been added to the list: Honolulu Orlando, Phoenix and Pensacola, Fla., while six dropped off: Essex and Worcester, Mass., Jackson and Bay City, Mich., Portland, Maine and Charlottesville, Va.

ECU To Pay $4-Million Dividend

KINGSPORT, Tenn.-Eastman Credit Union here has declared a $4-million Extraordinary Dividend that will be paid to Eastman Credit Union (ECU) member-owners in January.

The special dividend marks the ninth consecutive year the credit union has returned additional funds to members; $25.6 million in Extraordinary Dividends have been awarded to eligible ECU member-owners since 1998.

"Our Extraordinary Dividend is based on the amount of business you have done with ECU within the past year," said CEO Olan Jones. "This rewards those who made the dividend possible by paying members based on ECU deposit or loan interest they paid or earned in 2005."

Counterfeiter Done In By Spelling

OIL CITY, Penn.-A local man who was printing phony checks on Pennsylvania State Employees CU was done in by spelling.

A fraud investigator at the state's largest credit union noticed that Harrisburg was spelled wrong on some of the checks.

It was spelled "Harrisburgh." Using counterfeit checks produced on his computer, Michael Luktisch, 41, and his accomplices traveled across Pennsylvania and Ohio, making illegal purchases in at least seven counties, purchasing thousands of dollars in consumer items-from a toilet to a crossbow, police said.

Luktisch produced counterfeit checks on his computer, then gave them to other people who would purchase items at retailers.

Luktisch was also done in by the video cameras. Although most of the purchases were made by people other than Luktisch, he could be seen in videotapes leaving the stores with the people who paid with these checks and was recognized as a former Wal-Mart employee.

Luktisch pleaded guilty last week to 66 counts of forgery, unlawful use of a computer, a firearms violation and four counts of theft by unlawful taking in the six cases against him, and was sentenced to 18 years in state prison.

Money Museum To Open In Cleveland

CLEVELAND-The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland plans to open a new Learning Center and Money Museum. Scheduled to open Jan. 3, the 6,530-square-foot facility will include two classrooms and 30 exhibits, among them interactive games, videos, and displays.

The Fed bank said it will offer teachers and students guided tours and education as such topics as barter, saving and investing, inflation, and the Federal Reserve.

Bank Fends Off Time Complaints

LONDON-One bank here has pursued a novel strategy for reducing customer complaints-it is removing clocks from its branches so members don't know how long they've been waiting.

Newspapers here reported that NatWest Bank is removing the clocks, which had been prominent, as part of a company wide branch redesign and also so customers won't be as likely to count the minutes until they're served.

Robbers Throw Cash Into Street

CINCINNATI-Robbers who hit Cincinnati Central CU here dropped the money in the street as they were attempting their getaway.

Cincinnati Police said two male suspects received cash from a teller before running outside the credit union and jumping into a vehicle.

Once inside the vehicle a dye pack exploded and police said the suspects began to throw the money out the window.

The vehicle has been recovered and at least one person has been arrested. (c) 2005 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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