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100th CU Joins SBA Program

WASHINGTON-University of Maine CU became the 100th credit union to join the U.S. Small Business Administration's guaranteed loan program, the SBA said.

The number of credit unions joining the SBA program has jumped 28% this year, with most of the growth coming since the SBA expanded eligibility to all federally insured credit unions in February.

Market Value Accounting Vote Set

NORWALK, Conn.-The Financial Accounting Standards Board is expected to vote at its next meeting July 9 to split its market value accounting project in two, with one part to focus on expanding market value accounting to all assets, as well as the liability side of the balance sheet. That would require credit unions and banks to determine and disclose in regulatory and public filings the fair market value of deposits, loan portfolios and member shares.

Credit union and bank groups have criticized the project, saying there is no accurate way to determine a market value for these instruments because in most cases the intention is not to sell them or otherwise profit from movements in market valuation. The FASB is expected to split the market value accounting project in two, with the first part amending FAS 107 to set expanded guidance on determining and disclosing the fair market value of financial instruments on the asset side, Michael Nesta, a FASB official working on the project, told The Credit Union Journal. The other part would study the ramifications of expanding market value accounting to liabilities.

FASB Dismisses CU Exemption

NORWALK, Conn.-The Financial Accounting Standards Board has dismissed a request by credit union interests for an exemption of new merger rules and will require that all credit union combinations be accounted for under the so-called purchase method. This will prevent counting the acquired credit union's net worth on their balance sheet after the merger, as is currently done under the pooling-of-interest method of accounting.

The major credit union interests, including NCUA, CUNA and NAFCU, all lobbied the FASB for an exemption from the new rule, asserting it will discourage healthy credit unions from acquiring troubled institutions because it will dilute their capital. There are more than 200 credit union mergers each year, dozens of which include a healthy credit union acquiring a troubled institution. The credit union representatives said credit unions should be allowed to continue accounting for mergers under the pooling-of- interest method because, unlike combinations of for-profit entities, no monetary consideration changes hands in credit union mergers. The FASB is expected to issue guidance by the end of this month.

Texas Voters To Decide On HELOCs

AUSTIN, Texas-Voters will decide in a statewide referendum Sept. 13 whether to allow credit unions and banks to offer open- ended home equity lines of credit. The HELOC measure, Proposition 16 on the ballot, was approved last month by the state legislature after heavy lobbying by credit unions, banks, S&Ls and a broad coalition called the Texas Conference for Homeowners Rights and headed by John Tippets, president of American Airlines Employees FCU. The voter referendum is required because the proposal would amend the state's constitution. Texas is the only state that does not allow HELOCs.

CU FOM Reform OK'd In Michigan

LANSING, Mich.-The state Senate's Banking and Financial Institutions Committee approved the credit union reform bill, passing the measure on for a vote by the full Senate as early as last week. The bill would allow state-chartered credit unions to set their own fields of membership (FOM), offer secondary capital instruments, provide check cashing and wire transfers to non-members within their FOMs, and allow small payday loans. Credit union lobbyists said they expect the full Senate to vote on the bill before it adjourns at week-end.

7-Eleven Teams Up With e-Money

DALLAS-The 7-Eleven Stores Inc. has signed a seven-year deal with e-Money Systems Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., To be the exclusive provider of e-bill payment services on 7-Eleven's fleet of more than 1,000 ATMs. The service will be offered to 7-Eleven customers using cash, credit and signature-based debit cards and ATM cards through touchscreen menu options on the company's Vcom ATMs. The e-Money service, which uses a multi-point transaction switching process called ChoicePay, is currently developing relationships with hundreds of businesses to collect payments through the Vcoms, which 7-11 should begin this fall. The convenience store chain decided to add a bill-payment option to the Vcoms after listening to consumer focus groups.

CU Inks Deal With CarSoup.Com

MAPLE GROVE, Minn.-TopLine FCU has signed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with CarSoup.com under which individuals making private-party used-vehicle purchases on CarSoup in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market will have the option of obtaining low-interest vehicle financing through TopLine. Anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or volunteers in Hennepin County, or has an immediate family member who meets one of these criteria, is eligible to join.

CarSoup users will be made aware of the TopLine opportunity in several different ways, including a direct link to TopLine to be included in all private party purchase request e-mails generated by CarSoup.

SAFE To Get Radio Testimonials

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- SAFE CU said it has reached a deal with four local radio stations and seven radio personalities to provide endorsements for the credit union over the summer.

The stations reach more than 40% of the Sacramento regional market, which is home to 1.9-million people. The area's No. 1 station, KFBK, along with a leading country-western station and an AM talk radio station are part of the media buy, which includes the Armstrong & Getty program, whose morning radio show is simulcast on TV's Channel 58.

SAFE reported that by using mass media marketing it has over the past three years seen its membership grow to 104,000 from 94,000.

Robber Nets Big Haul In Texas

BIG SPRING, Texas-An armed assailant grabbed more than $11,000 during a hold-up at Big Spring Education Employees CU before making a quick getaway. The bandit, wearing a bandana mask and a baseball cap, entered the credit union and told the receptionist he was there to rob it.

When the receptionist indicated she thought he was kidding he pointed a handgun at her, then went to the teller's counter and demanded cash.

The teller complied, giving him $11,129 and he ran out of the credit union.

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