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Senate Funds Siphoned To CU

WILMINGTON, Del.-A former treasurer for U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden's reelection campaign pleaded guilty to stealing almost $400,000 from the Delaware Democrat's campaign treasury and laundering some of it to his credit union account.

Roger Blevins, III, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property in connection with last April's transfer of $80,000 of the funds to his account at Fairwinds CU in Orlando, Fla. Blevins also pleaded guilty to a charge of making a false statement to the government.

Authorities said Blevins made 23 unauthorized transfers from the campaign treasury, the largest of which went to his credit union. Some of the money was transferred to bank accounts of three men in Florida who Blevins met over the Internet in hopes of forming a romantic relationship, prosecutors said.

Freddie Mac, 66 FCU Team Up

SPRINGDALE, Ark.-Tyson Foods will announce a partnership with its credit union, 66 FCU, the National CU Foundation and Freddie Mac, to help employees of the giant food processor buy their first homes.

The initiative, called Tyson Workforce Home Benefit program, will provide down payments or closing costs to Tyson employees earning less than $54,000 a year who have worked for the company for more than two years. The credit union, which serves Tyson employees, the Foundation and Tyson Foods have agreed to contribute $75,000 each to finance the program.

Panic Buttons Installed At ATMs

PENSACOLA, Fla.-Pen Air FCU said it has installed 911 call buttons on its ATMs to improve safety for its members. The credit union has installed the panic buttons on ATMs near its downtown offices and at a suburban machine and plans to install them on all of its machines.

The emergency call buttons can be activated by inserting an ATM card and allows the 911 dispatcher to hear everything within 20 feet of the machine. The credit union posted signs nearby alerting users of the emergency call system.

CU Giant Expands FOM Footprint

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-VyStar CU, Florida's second biggest credit union, has received approval from state regulators to add 200,000 residents in two more counties, Gilchrist and Levy, to its burgeoning field of membership. The $2.9-billion credit union, known as JaxNavy FCU until 2001, is now authorized to serve more than four million residents in 15 Florida counties.

Separately, the state CU Division also approved a request from Jacksonville-based First Florida CU (formerly Government Employees CU of Florida) to serve the 2.2 million residents of Broward County, the state's second most populous county.

And Central CU of Florida, in Pensacola, was authorized to serve both Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.

Homebuyers Offered CU Grant

TULLAHOMA, Tenn.-AEDC FCU said it is offering qualified first-time homebuyers who are members of the credit union up to $3,500 to help make a down payment and pay closing costs on a mortgage.

The Welcome Home Grant is available for credit union members who live in Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Moore or Warren counties. The deadline for grant applications is May 1.

SECU Unveils Online Bill Payment

RALEIGH, N.C.-State Employees CU said it has introduced electronic bill payment services to its members.

The service is being offered through Bottomline Technologies of Portsmouth, N.H. The $10-billion credit union said 41,000 members have already signed on to the new service.

TNB Buys CU Card Portfolios

DALLAS-Credit union-owned TNB Card Services said it has acquired five more credit union credit card portfolios and signed agent deals with the selling institutions. The selling credit unions are: T&P Longview CU, Longview, Texas, Cloverbelt CU, Wausau, Wis., Appletree CU, West Allis, Wis., CACL FCU, Pottsville, Pa., and Putnam County FCU, Palatka, Fla. TNB is a subsidiary of credit union-owned Town North National Bank.

Liberty Steps Up Support For CU Foundation

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn.-Liberty Enterprises said it will donate $100,000 to the National CU Foundation for the second year in a row. Liberty President Stan Hollen will present a check to the Foundation at the annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner at CUNA's GAC this week. Liberty is one of the Foundation's corporate partners, a designation reserved for the charitable organizations top supporters.

Aimbridge Homes Introduces Automated Underwriting Tool

DENVER-Aimbridge Home Loans, a unit of the Aimbridge Group, said it has developed a new point of sale automated underwriting decision making solution. The solution, which is integrated into the co-branded labeled web sites that Aimbridge provides for its credit union clients, allows credit union members to receive application approval electronically within minutes. The solution evaluates a loan application and determines a credit risk assessment. The Aimbridge Group is formerly known as Bentley Networks.

Aurum Adds MultiPoint Integrator To Core Processing System

PLANO, Texas-Aurum Technology, which provides data processing for more than 600 credit unions, said it has signed with qbt to use its MultiPoint Integrator to support Aurum's Mercury core processing system. Under the deal, MultiPoint Integrator will be used to connect Mercury into leading shared branching networks, TM/Debit card networks, voice response systems, and home banking vendors. Mercury is used by more than 100 credit union. Aurum is in the process of being acquired by title insurer Fidelity National.

Large Common Bond Expansions Granted FCUs

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA said it approved two of its largest common bond expansions last month. The actions will allow Beehive FCU, Rexburg, Idaho, to add 120,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Mormons, in the state of Idaho; and Kaiperm Diablo FCU, Walnut Creek, Calif., to add 100,000 employees of several Kaiser health care operations in north California.

Louisiana FCU Given Membership TIP

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA said it approved a TIP charter--tradewide, industrywide or professionwide--to Schumpert FCU, Shreveport, La., only the fifth TIP charter approved by the federal regulator. The new charter will allow the $25 million credit union to serve all employees in the healthcare industry in eight Louisiana parishes: Caddo, Bossier, Webster, DeSoto, Clairborn, Lincoln, Bienville and Red River. The four previous TIP charters were awarded to NWA FCU and American Airlines FCU (airline industry), Central Florida Healthcare FCU (healthcare industry) and NW Preferred FCU (insurance industry).

General Electric CU Contributes Police Cruiser

CINCINNATI-General Electric Evendale Employees CU said it has donated $25,000 to the city of Mason to enable it to buy a new police cruiser. The new cruiser will be made available to supplement off-duty patrols around the credit union. City officials approved the unusual deal giving the credit union patrol priority.

Knife-Wielding Robber Gets Jail Term

SIOUX CITY, S.D.-A convicted felon who robbed two Sioux City financial institutions, including Sioux Valley CU, at knifepoint last spring, was sentenced to 30 years behind bars. George Windsor, 46, of Sioux City, was spared a mandatory life sentence for his previous felony convictions, by entering into a plea agreement with prosecutors. Windsor robbed the credit union on April 11 last year, then robbed nearby First National Bank, a week later, both times threatening the teller with a knife. He got away with $6,385 from the credit union and $1,131 from the bank.

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