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Maine Revives Hybrid CU Charter

AUGUSTA, Me.-A bill that would bring back the state's controversial hybrid charter, blending occupational and community fields of membership (FOM), has been signed into law by the governor.

The new law will give the state's Superintendent of Banking explicit authority to allow hybrid charters, which were effectively banned in the mid-90s after a legal challenge by bankers.

Maine was one of the first states to allow hybrid charters until the state's attorney general ruled that the banking commissioner had to adhere to NCUA's FOM guidelines banning a mix of the two charter types.

CU Giant Sets Expansive Plans

RALEIGH, N.C.-Rapidly growing State Employees CU said it plans an expansion that will include the addition of 15 new branches across the state beginning its July 1 fiscal year.

The $10-billion credit union, the nation's second largest, currently operates 159 branches throughout North Carolina and has already opened 11 new branches since the start of the current fiscal year. The expansion plan, to cost an estimated $5 million, will include two new branches in the capital city.

CU Direct Eyes Co-op Ad Campaign

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.-CU Direct Lending, the nation's largest indirect auto lender, said it is seeking an advertising agency to launch a cooperative ad and marketing campaign.

The contract will include creative and media for a test-marketing campaign to be run in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties.

The company is looking for agencies that have credit union and auto finance experience. The company has asked five agencies for proposals.

Agency To Rebrand 75-Year-Old CU

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.-City-County FCU, which has remade its FOM, has hired local ad agency Penn Garritano to launch a rebranding and marketing campaign.

The campaign will target the CU's recently expanded field of membership, now the city of Minneapolis, and is expected to begin this summer.

Exec Backs Off Anti-Union Activities

DETROIT-The president of Health One CU has agreed to back off his efforts to prevent the credit union's employees from organizing a union as part of a settlement of unfair labor practices.

Under the settlement with the National Labor Relations Board, James Perna has publicly pledged not to engage in intimidation tactics to prevent his employees from joining the United Auto Workers and will post notices at the credit union for 60 days telling employees of their right to unionize, while outlining actions he cannot take to prevent them from organizing.

An election last March on whether to organize under the auspices of the UAW ended in a rare tie, preventing the new bargaining unit, but organizers have vowed to try again.

Under the settlement, all charges against Perna, who wrote employees urging a no vote on the union, were dropped, including a charge that he fired one employee for his pro-union activities.

Merger To Forge CU Giant

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA has approved the combination of TRW Systems FCU and Western FCU to create another billion- dollar credit union, the nation's 78th.

The flood of funds into credit unions has doubled the number of billion-dollar credit unions over the past two years. Each credit union, TRW Systems, Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Western FCU, Los Angeles, have about $500 million in assets and almost 60,000 members.

Merger activity speeded up last month with NCUA approving 24 combinations, making a total of 60 for the first three months of the year. Two-thirds of the those mergers, 40, have eliminated a small credit union under $5 million in assets.

The other large mergers approved last month were: Bellco CU, Denver ($1.3 billion) with First Choice CU, Wheat Ridge, Colo. ($20 million); Oregon Central CU, Portland, Ore. ($140 million) and Crown Central CU, West Linn, Ore. ($20 million) and Central Iowa CU, Marshalltown, Iowa ($70 million) with Members 1st CU, Ames, Iowa ($25 million).

New HQ Planned For Billion-Dollar CU

TAMPA, Fla.-GTE FCU, a member of the billion-dollar credit union club, said it will break ground on a new headquarters development Monday in Tampa Heights.

The $22 million project will include a 125,000-square-foot building and a 20,000 foot information technology center.

The credit union plans to move 200 of its staff into the new headquarters in May 2004 The credit union broke the billion-dollar mark in assets last year.

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