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CUs Pitch Modified HELOC Bill

AUSTIN, Texas-Credit unions, opposed to a home equity line of credit bill introduced in the House, are lobbying for a separate HELOC bill in the Senate that encompasses most of their priorities.

"The Senate bill is a much broader bill," Texas CU League President Dick Ensweiler told The Credit Union Journal. The House bill would limit the uses of HELOCs to educational or medical expenses.

But the Senate bill would allow for unlimited lines of credit; more frequent monthly payments; rollovers into first mortgages and refinancings; and let the state credit union commissioner resolve disputes.

The proposals follow the 1997 law allowing financial institutions to provide home equity loans for the first time, but that law didn't allow for open-ended home equity lines of credit. The HELOC bills are being opposed by AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), consumer groups, and the realtors lobby.

BECU Breaks Trust Barrier

TUKWILA, Wash.-Boeing Employees CU said its BECU Financial Services CUSO has opened a new trust company, the first credit union in Washington to offer trust services.

BECU Trust Co. will offer investment management, living trusts, estate and financial planing, executor services and retirement rollovers.

CUs Seek Deposit Cap Increase

BOSTON-Credit unions are working again to increase the state-mandated ceiling on member deposits, one of the only states that limit credit union deposits.

A bill before the House Banking Committee would increase the cap from the current $250,000 per individual account and $500,000 for joint accounts to $600,000 and $1.2 million, respectively.

"The fact is, we're looking to eliminate it altogether, but we believe this is reasonable," Dan Egan, president of the Massachusetts CU League, told The Credit Union Journal.

A bill to scrap the deposit limit died in last year's legislature.

State law requires that all deposits in state- chartered financial institutions be insured, so those additional deposits would have to be covered by the Massachusetts CU Share Insurance Corp., as are all current deposits.

The Massachusetts league is also lobbying for legislation which would eliminate the state's 25-mile branching limit, allowing statewide branching for the first time for state charters.

PSCU Owners Share Big Payday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-PSCU Financial Services said it is paying its 500 credit union owners a dividend distribution of $11.5 million for 2002.

The card processor cited several reasons for the dividend, pointing to cost cuts related to the closure of small regional offices into operations in St. Petersburg and Phoenix, the renegotiations of a contract with First Data, and its eServices business unit.

The company has distributed more than $74 million in dividends to its credit union member/owners since 1974.

Liberty Offers Lending Service

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn.-Liberty Enterprises said its FiTECH Systems unit has signed with Baker Hill Corp. to provide an automated business lending solution.

Under the deal, FiTECH will offer Baker Hill's LiquidCreditBank2Business loan origination system, a hosted service that uses browser-based technologies for small business lending. Baker Hill is based in Carmel, Ind.

Police CU Chief Found Guilty

HUNTINGTON, W.V.-The former manager of Huntington Policemen's FCU pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing more than $325,000 from the credit union.

Shirley McClanahan, 56, a retired school teacher, pleaded guilty to writing hundreds of checks for amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and using the funds for her personal use.

The scheme was uncovered in February when the CU was merging with nearby Huntington Area Postal FCU and sent out statements to all members, but many of the statements did not match year-end statements sent out just weeks before. McClanahan, free on $10,000 bond, is scheduled to be sentenced June 23.

New Group Studies CU Economics

WASHINGTON-A group of eight credit union economists has organized a new group that will study credit union data for presentation and prognosis at different forums.

Members of the CU Economics Group are scheduled to meet with Fed Governor Mark Olson Friday to discuss credit union data.

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