Saturday, February 28, 2015

SBA partners with credit unions to boost Main Street

By Natalia Olson-Urtecho | Feb 27, 2015

Two out of every three new, private sector jobs are created by small businesses, making them unique cornerstones of America and the backbone of our economy. That’s why it’s so important for small businesses to have access to capital to start and grow their businesses.

To help bridge credit gaps, we at the U.S. Small Business Administration are partnering with credit unions. Credit unions in the mid-Atlantic region are incredibly important because they are community-based and mission focused. They help their members finance cars, homes, education, and of course, small businesses!

With this partnership we’re engaging 250 credit unions to approve at least 10 loans of $50,000 or less, injecting over $125 million into the small business economy. The economic influence of this partnership cannot be overstated. There are nearly 6,800 federally insured credit unions with over 100 million members and around $1 trillion in assets.

Additionally, this partnership meets our mandate of being “Smart, Bold, and Accessible” since small-dollar loans do not count toward the credit unions’ business loan cap. This provides flexibility to distribute small-dollar loans, which will increase access to capital to communities and fire up local economies.

This partnership is one of the many ways SBA is dedicated to creating jobs and tapping into America’s full entrepreneurial potential. We know that for those who dream big, work hard, and play fair to achieve the American Dream with the SBA, the possibilities are limitless!

Along with President Obama, we’re committed to moving America forward by making it easier for entrepreneurs to access fundamental tools and resources to start and grow new businesses. When we strengthen small businesses, we’re driving the overall economy, and increasing opportunities to small business owners and the middle class.

SBA has taken additional steps to boost small-dollar lending, which will also bolster our credit union partnership. We’ve streamlined credit evaluations by revising credit criteria for SBA 7(a) small dollar loans and we’ve zeroed out fees on small-dollar loans ($150,000 or less), making it easier for entrepreneurs to access capital by cutting costs and time.

So connect with your local credit union, and ask them to stay tuned for further details from SBA. For now, visit to learn more about how you can gain access to capital to jumpstart your business.

Natalia Olson-Urtecho
U.S. Small Business Administration Mid-Atlantic regional administrator

Friday, February 27, 2015

NCOFCU At The GAC Booth #106

GAC Banner
Visit us at booth 106. This is a great opportunity for us to present the National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. to the credit union community. To discuss our vision and purpose to support firefighters credit unions nationwide in their efforts to provide quality services to their membership.
Grant Sheehan
Executive Director/CEO

12 Strategies to Attract Young Members

I thought I would pass on this great article in the CU Times from the World Council of Credit Unions on 12 Strategies to Attract Young Members.

Grant Sheehan

Young members are the future of credit unions.

Yet, in many nations, the average age of credit union members is in the mid-to-to late 40s, according to the World Council of Credit Unions in Madison, Wis.

In the U.S., U.K. and Australia, the median member age is 47, while the median age of credit union members in Canada is 53. Nations with the youngest cooperative members are Afghanistan (25), Malawi and Kenya (30), Jamaica and Cameroon (35), Guatemala (36) and Ghana (38).

Read More 12 Strategies to Attract Young Members

Sunday, February 22, 2015




The Secret List

We regret to pass on to you notice that Houston (Texas) Captain Dwight Bazile, station 46 D shift, died in the Line of Duty today at 1815 Hours at Memorial Herman Hospital.  Captain Bazile collapsed on the fire scene Thursday, February 19th 2015 and has been fighting for his life at Memorial Herman Heart & Vascular Institute.  He is survived by his Wife Pamela Bazile, Son Dwight Bazile II, and Mother Charlotte Felder. We ask that you keep the family, of Captain Bazile, and the members of the HFD in your thoughts and prayers. RIP.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 2/21/2015-2156 Hours

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Worcester Fire Chief Dio to retire - Worcester Telegram & Gazette -

Dieo Worcester  2

WORCESTER — When Fire Chief Gerard A. Dio retires at the end of this year, he will end a 35-year career with the department marked most distinctly by his efforts surrounding the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building fire in 1999.

Chief Dio was an incident commander on Dec. 3, 1999, the day the massive structure fire killed six local firefighters. In the days that followed, the soon-to-be fire chief put back-breaking, physically and emotionally exhausting, work into the site, searching for his colleagues. Then, in the evenings after grueling days, he would head over to the Worcester Fire Department Credit Union to handle administrative work.

At the office, Chief Dio would oversee the processing of thousands of contributions pouring in from around the world for families of the lost firefighters, totaling millions of dollars in the end. When honored with a community leadership award in 2000 for his efforts, he notably downplayed his efforts.

Chief Dio, 61, announced Friday he will step down after 15 years as leader of the department. The Worcester resident joined the ranks in 1980 and moved up quickly from there. He was appointed to a district chief spot in 1992 and then to a deputy position four years later before taking over as chief in 2000.

o retire - Worcester Telegram & Gazette -

Friday, February 13, 2015

Boston Firefighters Credit Union can open membership to police officers


By Deirdre Fernandes Globe Staff  February 12, 2015

The Boston Firefighters Credit Union will be able to open its membership to the city’s police officers and other law enforcement officials, a Suffolk County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Mitchell Kaplan rebuffed an attempt by the City of Boston Credit Union to stop the firefighters credit union from expanding its membership and taking away some of its most lucrative customers: police officers, who are among the highest-paid city employees.

The turf battle between the two financial institutions grew unusually emotional as they accused each other of distorting facts and invoking the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing to promote their cause.

David Cotney, the state’s commissioner of banks, had approved the firefighters’ expansion plans in November. But the city’s credit union filed a court injunction to stop it.

In his decision dismissing the case, Judge Kaplan said the commissioner’s decision could not be contested in court. Cotney determined that it will be up to the consumers to decide where to bank, the judge ruled.

Boston Firefighters Credit Union can open membership to police officers - Business - The Boston Globe

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NCUA Eyes $100M Small Credit Union Cap

CU Times

WASHINGTON — The NCUA board will consider a proposal to raise the definition of a small credit union from assets under $50 million to assets under $100 million at the Feb. 19 board meeting.

”Increasing the threshold from $50 million to $100 million would provide special consideration for regulatory relief for an additional 745 credit unions in future rulemakings,” Larry Fazio, director of the NCUA Office of Examination and Insurance, said Tuesday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on regulatory relief for small financial institutions.

If the threshold increase is approved, the NCUA estimated that hundreds of additional credit unions would fall under the definition of a small entity.

“Should the board adopt a $100 million threshold, 77% of all credit unions would be covered in future considerations of regulatory relief,” Fazio said in his written testimony. “Taking this action also would recognize the challenges encountered by credit unions below $100 million in assets, which have slower deposit growth rates, slower membership growth rates, and higher operating costs than peer credit unions above the threshold.”

Fazio recommended some field of membership changes that Congress should consider.

“Allowing federal credit unions that have a community or single common-bond charter the opportunity to add underserved areas would open up access for many more unbanked and under banked households to credit union membership,” Fazio said in his written testimony.

“This legislative change could also eventually enable more credit unions to participate in the programs offered through the congressionally established Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, thus increasing the availability of credit and savings options in distressed areas,” he added.

Fazio also said Congress could allow federal credit unions to serve underserved areas without requiring those areas to be local communities.

“NCUA stands ready to work with the Committee on these ideas as well as other options for adjusting field of membership requirements,” he said.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Firefighters First Credit Union’s Fire Family Foundation Provided Nearly $104,000 in Assistance to CA Firefighters and Fire Families in 2014


LOS ANGELES, CA -- As the charitable hand of the Los Angeles-based Firefighters First Credit Union, Fire Family Foundation distributed almost $104,000 in assistance to firefighters and fire families in 2014, providing hope and comfort to those in need.

Serving firefighters, their families and fire victims, the Foundation ensures donations go directly to those in need; assistance is distributed statewide and supports numerous individuals and organizations.

The Foundation assisted many in 2014, including:

· Daughter of a firefighter, three -year-old Cecilia has been battling cancer over half her life;

· The family of three-week old Harper who needed to be airlifted for life-saving heart surgery; her daddy too is a firefighter;

· Veteran firefighter Valerie who is battling cancer; the Foundation raised funds and participated in a volunteer work day to help with needed home chores and to create a backyard awning to help in her recuperation from intense chemotherapy;

· The family of Roger, a young Fresno firefighter who passed away in the line of duty; the Foundation helped reunite his close-knit family for his funeral –which took place on what would have been his 32 birthday;

· Chris, a young firefighter, was struck and killed by an errant driver leaving behind a pregnant wife and a young son;

· A local low-income emergency shelter lost its building in a fire; the Foundation made a donation toward the rebuilding effort; and

· Victims of the devastating Weed fire that tore through the community in Northern California.

“Our donations have greatly increased in the second half of the year due to the generosity of the firefighting community and the general public,” says Mike Mastro, President and CEO of Firefighters First who serves as the Foundation Board Chair. “This year, the Foundation touched countless lives and we are proud to be that helping hand to those who are grieving, in shock or feel like hope is lost.”

The Foundation in 2015 is continuing to reach out and respond to communities and the firefighters who serve them in times of need.

Learn more about Fire Family Foundation and individuals/organizations that it’s currently helping at Follow Fire Family Foundation on Facebook at


Fire Family responds when tragedy affects firefighters and fire victims.  The charitable hand of Firefighters First Credit Union, Fire Family Foundation offers immediate assistance to firefighters and their families, fire victims, fire departments, and charities. The Foundation believes that by coming together as a “Fire Family,” assistance can be provided to those impacted by fire. Learn more at

The Foundation is based in Los Angeles, but serves the state of Cal

Friday, February 6, 2015 Offers Discount to Firefighter Credit Unions


Discount for NCOFCU Members:

25% off fees (25% off standard fees)

Additional Discount for Member CU's Under $50M Asset Size.      Try  DEMO for pricing and indicate referred by “NCOFCU”

To receive discount, please use the following form and mention you were referred by "NCOFCU Member Discount"

To request a 10 minute demo CLICK HERE and be sure you let them know you heard about them from NCOFCU to receive your discount.

Key Features

  • Securely upload & view Board Packets anytime
  • Supports Multiple File Formats
  • Online Voting
  • Archive all past Board Packets
  • Online Discussion
  • View full board calendar, committee schedules & important dates
  • SOC 2
  • Two Step Authentication
  • High-grade Encryption
  • Free iPad App with Annotation Features is a practical, online board packet management system that allows businesses of all sizes to securely manage, organize, contribute and distribute critical board meeting documents.
Users can view at anytime for up-to-date information on reports, meetings, templates, discussions, and current events.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Firefighters First Credit Union Gives Back Over $2.5 Million to Firefighters and Their Families


Firefighters First Credit Union Gives Back Over $2.5 Million to Firefighters and Their Families

January 29, 2015 06:27 PM Eastern Standard Time

LOS ANGELES--At Firefighters First Credit Union, our members are owners and we hold true to our 80-year legacy of firefighters helping firefighters. That is why we return our profits directly back to our members in the form of Extraordinary Dividend Bonuses and Interest Refunds. With this year’s $2.5 Million payout, it brings the total amount we have paid back to our members to over $40 Million in the past 30 years.

“Extraordinary Dividend Bonuses and Interest Refunds are unique benefits of Credit Unions, and many have stopped them altogether. But at the discretion of the Board of Directors, we feel it is an important part of our tradition and our members agree. Payouts vary based on member relationships, but it’s not uncommon to see payouts of over $5,000,” explained Mike Mastro, Firefighters First CU President/CEO.

This year, we added in a special reward for members that had additional services with us through investment accounts, insurance policies, and business loans. Deeper member engagement is an important growth strategy for us and we want to thank them for their business. We continue to focus on member loyalty by delivering exceptional products and services, and personable service. We know our members and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations. That service pays off with member satisfaction.

Constant improvements to our competitive deposit accounts, loan products and convenience-based services have helped grow our member ranks. With that growth, we have grown in strength, agility and reach. With each new fire department and new family member contributing to the success of the Credit Union, the rewards grow for our entire Fire Family. Payouts represent a rebate on the interest paid on loan accounts and a bonus dividend on the earnings on savings accounts. Payouts vary on individual financial relationships and were posted to member accounts on December 31, 2014, proving one thing – the more members bring to Firefighters First Credit Union, the more they receive in return!

For example:

  • If a member had $100,000 in a share certificate and it earned a 2% yield, or $2,000, based on the 2014 Extraordinary Dividend Bonus, they would have received an extra $520.
  • If a member paid $4,000 in interest for the year on a loan with the Credit Union, based on the 2014 Interest Refund, they would have received a refund of $198.

For more information, please visit

About us

Firefighters First Credit Union was formed in 1935 as Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union and serves full-time, paid professional firefighters and their families throughout the state of California. With state expansion and the evolving Fire Family, we changed our name on March 31, 2014 to better reflect our evolving membership. Firefighters First currently has assets of over $940 million and over 31,000 members in over 280 fire departments.


Firefighters First Credit Union
Kelly Ramsay, 323-550-2216
Senior VP, Marketing

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Credit union specialist Tim Harrington to Keynote NCOFCU’s 2015 Annual Conference in Nashville

Photo of Tim High Res RCredit union expert Tim Harrington will keynote the National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. (NCOFCU) 2015 Annual Conference. He will also address Financial Literacy at the volunteers only session Thursday afternoon, which will help attendees build the skills and knowledge they need to strengthen their credit unions’ bottom lines. The conference will be held October 7-10, 2015 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

“Tim Harrington is a dynamic speaker whose knowledge and expertise in this industry will help attendees lead their credit unions to new heights,” “With the continuing challenges facing credit unions, it is imperative that board and supervisory committee members have the specific competencies this conference offers so they can help ensure their institutions’ safe, sound operation and competitive standing in the consumer financial services market.”

Author, consultant and speaker Tim Harrington has worked with credit unions in 48 states, two territories, Canada and Mexico. His progressive ideas and broad knowledge of credit union issues has made Tim a valuable resource for credit unions nationwide. Tim has spoken to tens of thousands of credit union volunteers and staff and continues to inspire them to improve their credit unions.

Since 1996, Tim has been President of TEAM Resources, a firm providing consulting, strategic planning, and training to credit unions from coast-to-coast. TEAM Resources’ clients range from a few million in assets to the billions in assets.

Eisenhower Cover 2nd Edition.pdf FrontTim’s book Eisenhower on Enlightened Leadership has inspired and delighted credit union and non-credit union personnel nationwide. In his presentation on the book, Tim helps people realize that Leadership skills are something people can develop. He uses the fascinating example of General Ike Eisenhower as he inspired American and Allied troops to bounce back after being soundly beaten at the start of World War II and drive toward victory.

From 2001 to 2006, Tim was the Chairman of the Board of a $150 million credit union in Tucson, Arizona. Tim was appointed to the Board of this troubled credit union in 2001 and served until 2006. During his time on the Board, the credit union evolved from losing over $2,000,000 per year to earning a profit of nearly $2,000,000 by 2006
Tim was formerly a Partner with the nation’s 3rd largest auditor of credit unions, known today as CliftonLarsonAllen. Mr. Harrington has been working with credit unions since 1989 when he directed the Internal Audit of a large credit union in Tucson, Arizona. Prior to that, he was with a national accounting firm and has been practicing accounting and consulting since 1980
Because of his knowledge, wit and unpretentious delivery, Tim is a much sought after speaker in the credit union movement. Tim has made presentations for CEO conferences, Directors conferences, Supervisory Committee conferences, lending conferences, marketing conferences, and many more. He is able to bring his wide ranging knowledge to benefit credit union volunteers, senior management teams and staff members on a wide variety of relevant and important topics. Tim is on the faculty of the CUNA Finance for Non-Financial Managers and Volunteers School, The CUNA Volunteer Certification School and CUNA Management School.

Tucson, Arizona has been home since 1980. Tim is a native of Montana and holds a BBA in Accounting from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He has also attended universities in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico and Florence, Italy and speaks several languages.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Firefighter, The Most Stressful Job of 2015


The Most Stressful Jobs of 2015


The most stressful jobs of 2015 can be physically dangerous, psychologically taxing—and a great match for those with the passion and drive necessary to succeed in such an environment.

David Barckhoff of Pittsburgh fits the bill. Barkchoff says he became interested in a career as a firefighter, the most stressful job of 2015, at age eight or nine.

“I was interested in the excitement. I remember seeing the truck go down the road with the lights on,” he says. “The idea of rescuing people…and the camaraderie" with other firefighters appealed to him then and now. For some, the job’s challenges might be a deterrent. But not for Barckhoff, who was already used to working in a stressful occupation.

Barckhoff transitioned into firefighting from a stint in the second-most stressful job of 2015, as an enlisted military specialist in the United States Navy. He says the two paths share similarities.

“The fire academy is almost like going through boot camp,” he says. “They take you from the beginning stages, then through all the hazards you could possibly face, with experts teaching from their real-world experience.”

Learning from the experience of others is invaluable in any career, but in the most stressful jobs of 2015, it’s critical. The conditions faced in such stressful jobs as firefighter, enlisted military personnel and police officer constantly change. The most important lesson from the experience, Barckhoff says, is to avoid complacency.

“When you get complacent … that’s when something is going to kill you,” he says. The same mindset is necessary for airline pilots, the fourth-most stressful job of 2015. For the millions of Americans who entrust their safety to them every year, airline pilots must be able to adapt to changing conditions when in flight without losing their cool.

Of course, not all of the most stressful jobs of 2015 find workers responsible for public safety, but they are entrusted with seeing that the expectations of large groups are met without problem.

Event coordinator is one such career. The tight deadlines, the high expectations of clients and the keen attention to detail needed to succeed as an event coordinator land it on the list.

The Most Stressful Jobs of 2015 |

Oklahoma Fire Fighters Credit Union Celebrate Our History

Firefighters OK 75 logo_art deco

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Six firemen killed when blazing bowling alley collapses in Taiwan | South China Morning Post

We often forget that firemen all over the world serve their communities by offering their lives so that others may live.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families!

Six firemen were killed today as they fought a blaze that engulfed a bowling alley in northern Taiwan.

The men, all in their 20s, were trapped and killed in a sudden burst of flames which caused the partial collapse of the building in Taoyuan county.

Two of the firemen who died had graduated from Taiwan Police Academy only last year.

The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning when the venue was shut, police said.

Six firemen killed when blazing bowling alley collapses in Taiwan | South China Morning Post

Friday, January 16, 2015

Michigan Passes New Law for Fire Fighters with Cancer

The Michigan Legislature recently passed legislation that will go into effect January 1, 2015, that establishes a fund to cover the cost of treatment and lost wages for Fire Fighters who are diagnosed with certain types of cancers and Governor Rick Snyder is supposed to sign this into law quickly.   

Currently, Fire Fighters who are diagnosed with cancer are not covered under workers compensation unless they can unequivocally determine that the cancer they have came from an on-the-job exposure during an a particular incident.  

The new bill passed by the Legislature establishes the "First Responders Presumed Coverage Reimbursement Fund" which will reimburse Fire Fighters for the cost of their treatments as well as lost wages.  This fund will cover 10 different types of cancers: respiratory, tract, bladder, skin, brain, kidney, blood, testicular, prostrate thyroid and lymphatic cancers. Read more by clicking here. 

Firefighter News (select Firefighter to see all)