What The New Millenium Brought CUs

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - What did the real first year of the new millenium bring to credit unions? Among the trends, developments and news: * Credit bureaus begin making credit scores available to consumers * When CUs meet for GAC in 2001, they are coming off an election cycle with $1.9 million in PAC funds, up from $734,000 in 1993-94 * Credit unions succeed in getting a "carve out" for themselves in proposed bankruptcy legislation * There is growing recognition that "non-traditional" services and markets are a growth area for credit unions, including payday loans * CUNA moves into new digs close to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue n Wireless access to account information using wireless devices, including phones and PDAs, begins to take root * Usage and acceptance of debit cards continues to grow by double-digits * NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar proposes expanded exam cycle for healthy CUs to 18 months from 12 months * Credit unions that raced to expand to community charters begin to discover that penetration rates are sliding while costs are increasing * In the wake of several well-publicized data breaches (and with more to come), the Gramm Leach Bliley Act forces CUs to begin protecting member data * Terrorism threats grow with anthrax scares spreading to CUs. Many credit unions tighten their mail handling procedures. A Michigan CU evacuates its offices after suspicious material found. Two NAFCU staffers are tested for anthrax after being inside Senate office building where anthrax was suspected * Campus FCU, Baton Rouge, develops program to sign up for e-mail notification before a check bounces * Power costs begin surging in California and the Pacific Northwest. Power outages affect CUs in California. SAFE CU in California covers its parking lot in solar panels * The Alaska CU league goes all volunteer, laying off its two full-time employees * The acceptance of electronic images of checks continues to grow * CUES' Franck Schuurmans predicts that in the next three to five years (through 2006) there will be a consolidation to 3,000 to 3,500 total credit unions * Readers of The Credit Union Journal step forward with computer donations to help Dakota Catholic FCU, which had been keeping records manually and had been profiled in the newspaper * Arrowhead CU in California opens branch on used car lot n Harland resurrects the ULTRADATA brand * Treasury studies on credit unions, requested by banks, generally support credit union positions * A branch manager at Provident CU in California admits to faking a robbery in which $144,000 was stolen * The Filene Research Institute releases a study saying that among the biggest beneficiaries of credit unions are bank customers * The Credit Union Journal profiles McPherson Community FCU inTryon, Neb., which operates out of the Longhorn Motel * In a precursor, United Heritage CU creates a "Chief Privacy Officer" position * Bankruptcy filings surge in wake of introduction of new reform bill * Two Michigan CU execs create their own line of greeting cards to help managers to recognize employees for jobs well done * Jim Ott, president of UNCLE CU, is named poet laureate of Plesanton, Calif. * NCUA rules that boards may delegate authority to set dividend rates to committees made up of senior management. * NCUA board member Yolanda Wheat uses agency funds to print brochures reading, "Eisenhower High School, San Bernardino, CA, welcomes former student and NCUA Board Member Yolanda Townsend Wheat," for an appearance there. Wheat had been class valedictorian in 1979 * A new form of member dissatisfaction emerges as a survey finds members are strongly unhappy over slow response to e-mail questions * EFT consolidation becomes a windfall for many credit unions and groups as shares are acquired * With coffee bars and Internet caf?'s, some suggest credit unions have lost sight of what a credit union branch should be * California, Washington and Oregon leagues form "Association of the West" that offers services from each league to members in each state * With pressure on salaries from dot.coms, CUNA Mutual rolls out a program that offers performance bonus similar to "stock options" in publicly traded companies * JoAnn Johnson, a former Iowa legislator who is the daughter-in-law of former NCUA Executive Director Don Johnson, is nominated for NCUA board * Small CUs object to NCUA plan for quarterly reporting.

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