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America First Gets Personal

SALT LAKE CITY-America First CU officially rolled out its new personalized credit card service on New Year's. The Picture Perfect Visa Card will allow members of the $3-billion credit union to place a digital photo of themselves, a family member or a variety of available pictures to create their own personalized credit card.

The personalized cards, which are created with technology from Serverside Group Ltd., were made possible when Visa moved the dove hologram from the front of its cards to the back. The updated card design provides America First members with increased space on the front of their cards to create an edge-to-edge customized card. Instructions at the credit union's website direct members to either upload their personal photo or choose from a large selection of existing images. The member can then manipulate the image to design the front of their own card.

London-based Serverside Group is a two-year-old company that also provides AllAboutMe, a web-based application that allows consumers and small businesses to design their own credit, debit or prepaid cards; and One Customer-One Card, a system that enables instant card issuance.

Robber Has Daughter In Car

MEMPHIS, Tenn.-A young woman was arrested last week after she stole a 2003 Land Rover with her 2-year-old daughter in the back, then tried to rob the drive-through teller at nearby Kimberly Clark CU with the baby on her lap. The mother drove up to the teller window and said she had a bomb attached to her, and that a male accomplice was in another car with a gun. The woman drove away when the teller refused to give her money, but was arrested a short while later after credit union employees followed her and called police with her location. The baby was taken out of the vehicle unharmed and released to family members while the mother, who was identified as Meshay Wheaton, was taken into custody.

Couple Arrested In Scheme

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.-A married couple is under arrest and their 21-year-old daughter is on the lam after they tried a deposit-kiting scheme at Suncoast Schools FCU ATM. The family deposited several empty envelopes into the machine then withdrew cash supposedly covered by the deposits, police said. The three family members were identified by surveillance video at the ATM. Michael Roth, 45, is charged with fraud, and his wife Tammy Roth, 47, is charged with grand theft. Their daughter, 21-year-old Brandy Roth, is still at large.

Kern Schools Set To Move

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -Kern Schools FCU is planning to put the finishing touches on a new headquarters building here later this month. The new headquarters will consist of 144,000 square-feet of space in two identical three-story buildings of 72,000 feet each. Estimated cost of the new home is $21 million.

The project was designed by Teter a+e Architects and Engineers, of Fresno, and was built by Wallace & Smith, of Bakersfield. The credit union has more than $1.2 billion in assets and serves more than 120,000 members.

Desert Schools Adds Kids Club

PHOENIX-Desert Schools is reintroducing the piggy bank to kids. The $2.5-billion credit union has created a new Kids Club to encourage savings and teach financial responsibility to its youngest members. Kids 12 and under will be eligible to join and will receive a goodie bag, with an activity packet and a savings register that holds a personal ID card.

Members will be eligible for discounts with various partners, including the Arizona Cardinals professional football team, the Arizona Sting soccer team, and Arizona State University.

Mortgage Rates Dip Slightly

McLEAN, Va.-Mortgage rates dipped slightly last week, as economic indicators provided a mixed-bag, according to Freddie Mac. The average for the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate loan slipped to 6.22%, from 6.26% the week before; while the average for the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 5.76%, from 5.79%. ARM rates also fell, with the one-year ARM rate dropping to 5.15%, from 5.22% the prior week; and the five-year ARM rate slipping to 5.79%, from 5.82%. (c) 2006 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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