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EFCU Pilots New Teller Concept

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-Credit union members are standing side-by-side with tellers, instead of on opposite sides of a counter, in a new teller concept being tested by Empire FCU.

The so-called dialogue tower is friendlier, more secure and attractive, credit union officials believe.

Financial service representatives approach the customers and walk with them over to one of the islands where they stand side by side to take care of the request. The towers feature a cash-recycling machine inside an island, which both dispenses cash and accepts deposits.

The dialogue tower is more secure than traditional teller stations because there is no cash drawer. It also is cheaper to operate because it takes up less space than the traditional set-up.

Attempted Robbery At Needlepoint

LOWELL, Mass.-A 31-year-old drug addict was arrested and charged with threatening tellers with a hypodermic needle in an attempt to rob Northern Massachusetts Telephone Workers' CU.

Police recovered a hypodermic needle and about $2,000 believed stolen from a Bank of America branch by the suspect, identified as Richard Olender. Police said Olender is a heroin addict who was apparently seeking money for drugs.

Loyalty Program Offers Discounts

ST. PAUL, Minn.-Affinity Plus FCU has launched a member loyalty program it describes as offering frequent-flyer style simplicity to member relationship rewards.

Members can earn points for usage of products and services, in addition to making member referrals.

Loyalty points may be redeemed for discounts on consumer loan rates and CD rates, and other items.

Members earn one point for every dollar paid in finance charge and earned in dividends as of July 2005, and also earn 100 points for every year they have been a member with Affinity Plus and for referring a new member.

PFCU Signs For Online Brokerage

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Pentagon FCU said it has contracted with FOLIOfn to be the credit union giant's exclusive online broker and provider of investment services.

FOLIOfn will allow members of the $8-billion credit union to buy stocks, mutual funds and other investments online, as well as invest in "Folios," diversified, customized portfolios of individual securities that members can select and manage on their own.

FOLIOfn also offers 'Ready-to-go-Folios,' pre-built portfolios, based on various indices and investment styles, that contain up to 50 securities that investors can modify as they wish.

Members with less than $15,000 to invest can own a customized 'Mini Folio,' for as little as $5 a month, with no minimum investment.

FOLIOfn also provides services to hundreds of credit unions through a relationship with CUNA Mutual Group.

Tech Captures License For Cash

MINNEAPOLIS-Cash Systems, Inc., a provider of cash services for casinos, said it has been granted a U.S. Patent for new technology that captures and transfers data from a driver's license to complete a credit card advance in under 60 seconds.

The company plans to market the new technology to its casino customers.

The technology will allow tellers to swipe a driver's license and automatically input the data into a database in real time, significantly expediting the credit card advance process.

CU Worker Charged With Stealing

TAUNTON, Mass.-A former employee of Taunton FCU was arraigned last week on charges of stealing $10,000 from elderly members of the credit union.

James Saccoach, III, 25, of East Bridgewater, was charged with two counts of embezzlement.

Saccoach allegedly used phony transactions to steal funds from two members, who told the CU they had not withdrawn the funds.

PEFCU Makes $500,000 Pledge

LAFAYETTE, Ind.-Purdue Employees FCU said it has donated $500,000 to the Purdue University athletic department.

The funds will be split between Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics and the Tom Spurgeon Golf Center. The golf center was dedicated Oct. 1.

Former CU Worker Charged With Stealing From The Elderly

TAUNTON, Mass.-A former employee of Taunton FCU was arraigned last week on charges of stealing $10,000 from elderly members of the credit union.

James Saccoach, III, 25, of East Bridgewater, was charged with two counts of embezzlement.

Saccoach allegedly used phony transactions to steal funds from two members, who told the credit union they had not withdrawn the funds.

Money Laundering Scheme

NORFOLK, Va.-A former assistant superintendent for Prince George's County schools in suburban Washington, D.C., was found guilty of five counts of money laundering Friday in a major drug conspiracy case.

Pamela Hoffler-Ridick, 44 faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted of funneling more than $16,000 in proceeds from a multi-million dollar drug ring through her account at Virginia Educators CU. She claimed she didn't know that her then-boyfriend was using her to hide his drug profits.

Hoffler-Riddick was one of 40 defendants charged in 'Operation Blowfish,' a ring that federal agents said distributed about $20 million in marijuana and cocaine, imported mostly from Mexico to southeastern Virginia and other locations between 1996 and 2004.

She was once a standout educator in Virginia Beach and in Norfolk, then later in Maryland, where she lost her $138,000-a-year job after her arrest last year.

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