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Gov. Davis Supports 'Opt-In' Privacy Bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif.-Gov. Gray Davis, in an effort to stave off a voter referendum, issued his support for a tough "opt-in" privacy bill making its way through the state assembly.

"Californians don't want their private information bought and sold like baseball cards," Davis said during a Statehouse news conference. "They want more control over their information."

The bill, which passed the Senate in March, would require financial institutions to obtain a customer's permission before sharing it with third parties for marketing purposes.

The measure, which is supported by the California CU League, is scheduled for a hearing next week in the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee.

The bill would carve out exceptions for credit unions, requiring that they provide members an "opt-out" option for sharing with affiliated parties, like CUSOs.

Lawmakers are under heavy pressure to pass a privacy bill this year, after three recent failures.

Consumer groups have threatened to take the issue to voters in a referendum next year.

Washington CU Converts To Bank

SEATTLE-Credit Union of the Pacific said it has completed the conversion to a mutually owned savings bank as Sound Community Bank.

The $140-million credit union is the second credit union in Washington to convert to a state-chartered mutual savings bank.

Exec Jailed In Check Kiting Scheme

WAHIAWA, Ha.-A former supervisor for Schofield FCU was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and ordered to pay $561,500 in restitution for running a massive check-kiting scheme over five years.

Authorities said as operations supervisor for the credit union, Charlene Renteria, 33, oversaw tellers and new account clerks, enabling her to open as many as 36 fictitious accounts through which she drained $564,000 between 1998 and 2002. Renteria pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges.

Bid Would Spread UHCU

AUSTIN, Texas-United Heritage CU in Austin has applied to state regulators for permission to spread its wings through more than 2.5 million residents in 15 Texas counties, the most expansive field of membership (FOM) request ever in the Lone Star State.

The $300-million credit union set new standards for a community FOM in 1999 when it was approved to serve more than one-million residents surrounding the city of Austin, the state capital.

Separately, Texans Credit Union, in Richardson, which serves several counties, has asked the state Credit Union Department for permission to strike exclusionary clauses barring it from competing for members of other credit unions in three counties and working in several select groups.

PCU Remains Most Profitable

NEW YORK-Progressive CU, the New York-based credit union specializing in loans for taxi cab medallions, or licenses, remained atop the list of the most profitable credit unions in the country for the first quarter of 2003.

Progressive, the perennial leader of the most profitable list, reported net income of $2.7 million on $252 million in assets for a 4.26% annualized return-on-average assets (ROA), according to Callahan & Associates.

But there were several new entries to the top 10 for the first quarter. The rest of the top 10 (of credit unions over $25 million in assets) were: CCSAC FCU, Bethesda, Md., $264,761 (3.42%); Telcoe FCU, Little Rock, Ark., $1.1 million (3.15%) Whatcomm Educational CU, Bellingham, Wash., $2.3 million (3.13%); Energy FCU, West Roxbury, Mass., $512,666 (2.90%); Brewer FCU, Brewer, Me., $199,026 (2.86%); Shreveport FCU, Shreveport, La., $352,600 (2.86%); Gulf Cost Educators FCU, Pasadena, Texas, $1.3 million (2.75%); Firefighters CU, La Crosse, Wis., $220,451 (2.75%), and Self-Help CU, Durham, N.C., $622,886 (2.64%).

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