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. 

Two Boston credit unions fight over police!

Boston is legendary for its tribal brawls: the Irish and the Brahmins, city police against the state troopers, townies versus college kids. 

Add to that list: The City of Boston Credit Union and the Boston Firefighters Credit Union.

The two credit unions that serve city employees are battling about access to the money of some of the highest paid public workers in Boston: law enforcement workers.

Looking to grow its membership, the Firefighters Credit Union last year began courting law enforcement employees — police officers, sheriff deputies, county corrections officers, and state troopers — and in November received permission to expand from the state’s primary regulator, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks David Cotney. 

That ignited a turf war with the more established City of Boston Credit Union, which promptly asked a Suffolk County Superior Court judge to stop the firefighters from expanding. A hearing reviewing Cotney’s ruling is scheduled for Friday.

Tussles between competing financial institutions do not usually get this emotional. Banks typically fight for customers with better interest rates or giveaways such as grills and groceries, not by trading accusations of “heavy-handed tactics” and “false and misleading statements” over recruiting customers. 

The two sides have accused each other of distorting the facts and invoking the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing to promote their cause, and they have fired off angry letters to the state’s banking regulator. 

‘It is up to the consumer to determine which financial institution he or she wishes to use.’

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“I’ve never heard of something like this before,” said Larry DiCara, a former city councilor and attorney whose memoir, “Turmoil and Transition in Boston,” was published in 2013. “This is an interesting battlefield. You could never guess they would fight over access to a credit union.”

The battle between the two has become so fraught that even the trade association representing credit unions in Massachusetts tried to intervene, to no avail. 

Not-for-profit credit unions took root in the United States in the 1900s as a way for working-class families to access affordable credit and avoid loan sharks. Massachusetts in particular was a launching pad for the credit union movement, with Edward Filene, best known for building the Filene’s department store chain, pushing laws to encourage these “people’s banks.” 

Many formed around employee groups, since that made it easier to use the worker’s earnings as collateral. Both the City of Boston Credit Union and the Boston Firefighters Credit Union have their roots in serving city workers. Neither are officially part of Boston government. 

The Firefighters union is the smaller, younger sibling of the two. It has just under 7,000 members and about $200 million in assets, compared with the 100-year-old City of Boston Credit Union, which has $320 million in assets, and 22,000 members.

But like many credit unions, these two have been pushed to expand beyond their traditional membership, as they have faced increased competition from banks, higher costs to provide new technology and products, and a deterioration in workplace bonds. This expansion has bristled banks, which argue that credit unions are getting bigger and moving away from their original mission but are still enjoying tax breaks as non-profits.

The City of Boston Credit Union has opened up its membership to people who live and work in Norfolk and Suffolk counties. In 2009, the Boston firefighters allowed any firefighter in the state to join, which brought in 400 new members.

The Firefighters credit union wants to expand further and thought law enforcement workers would be a good fit. The credit union estimates there are potentially 6,000 police officers, sheriff’s employees, and state troopers who could become members. 

Moreover, the union contends it has established an even closer rapport with law enforcement colleagues.

“Since the 2013 Marathon, there has been a new level of mutual respect and cooperation among the first responders,” with the firefighters credit union helping establish one of the first fund-raisers for bombing victims, according to its application to the state last year. “As a result, the credit union came into a point of prominence among the various police unions.” 

With law enforcement workers about 17 percent of its membership, the City of Boston Credit Union said losing them would “cause irreparable financial damage,” Stephen Green, chairman of the credit union and a Boston police officer, wrote to Cotney in November, according to court documents.

Green alleged the firefighters provided “a narrative, full of rhetoric, ambiguities, and outright false and misleading statements,” to win approval of its expansion plans.

The Marathon bombing reference struck a nerve among police members of the City of Boston Credit Union, which rallied several unions and advocacy groups, including the Boston Police Relief Association and the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, to its cause. Both wrote Cotney that they were happy with the city’s credit union. 

“We find the use of the Boston Marathon bombing to somehow say that the firefighters have become leaders in the Boston first responder community to be disingenuous at best,” the Boston patrolmen’s association wrote Cotney. “There were so many first responders and civilians putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others that day, to point to one group over any other for personal gain is beyond belief.” 

For its part, the Boston Firefighters Credit Union said it has received multiple requests from police officers to join. It accuses the City of Boston Credit Union of attempting to keep its monopoly on police officers, who account for a third of the institution’s loans. 

“That is a nice idea but it is clearly not in the best interests of the consumer to be denied the privilege of banking where they chose to do so,” said Firefighters Credit Union president John Winne, according to court documents.

Both credit unions and their attorneys declined to comment because of the ongoing litigation.

The firefighters union has yet to begin marketing to police officers because of the court action.

Cotney, too, declined to comment. But in his letter blessing the Firefighters Credit Union expansion, Cotney said competition is important for consumers. 

“Ultimately,” the banking commissioner wrote, “it is up to the consumer to determine which financial institution he or she wishes to use.” 

Deirdre Fernandes 

Monday, January 5, 2015

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

We Need Your Input! Breakout Sessions for our 2015 Conference?

The 2015 conference committee would like to offer separate breakout sessions at our Nashville 2015 conference. The times that we have open are Wednesday (7th) 4pm and Thursday (8th) 4pm.

These will be in addition to the regular conference schedule and based upon meeting a minimum attendee requirement.

To meet your requirements as directors, we hope to provide certification in the subjects listed.

Attached is a conference schedule link for your review. 2015 Schedule

Your response to the following 2 questions would be very helpful in our planning. You are not obligated by completing this survey.

Please reply with your comments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Overlooked Colorado law opened door to pot credit union charter - The Denver Post


If not for a quirky bit of law passed by Colorado legislators 33 years ago, during the dawn of the savings and loan crisis, the world's first credit union for the marijuana industry would not have been a possibility so soon.

Discovered by organizers of the Fourth Corner Credit Union soon after a morale-dropping phone call with federal regulators, the law appears to allow a credit union to open for business — perhaps as soon as Jan. 1 — while awaiting approval of required federal insurance.

Overlooked Colorado law opened door to pot credit union charter - The Denver Post

Monday, November 24, 2014

Firefighters Community Credit Union banking on Lorain County with latest addition - Cleveland Business News - Northeast Ohio and Cleveland - Crain's Cleveland Business

Firefighters Community Credit Union in Cleveland is continuing expansion efforts with its first foray into Lorain County at the end of the year via its acquisition of Sun Center Federal Credit Union of LaGrange.The transaction takes effect Dec. 31, pending regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The deal is rooted in succession planning for Sun, from which CEO Brenda Hammond will retire in December, and in strategic planning for Firefighters, where board members have been pushing the credit union to continue expanding its geographic footprint and bolstering membership since the adoption of its community charter in 2005. Firefighters, which currently serves Lake and Cuyahoga counties, will take over operations of Sun's five Lorain County locations. The deal has been in the works since spring.

Firefighters will add $35 million in assets, about 4,000 members and 18 employees with the merger, said CEO Ben Laurendeau. The deal will take Firefighters to $235 million in assets with about 32,000 members and 80 employees.

Mergers of credit unions have become increasingly common since the end of the Great Recession, Laurendeau said, especially for Firefighters, which is completing its fourth acquisition in about as many years in the transaction with Sun.

“It's just very difficult for a small credit union to survive with additional regulatory burdens (and) aging memberships. ... There are a lot of forces that make it hard to survive,” he said. “We want to be an active player, and so this is part of our growth and expansion strategy.”
The deal is bittersweet for Hammond, who has served members at Sun for more than 34 years. But it's in the best interest of the credit union's members, she said, and even employees who will now have further career opportunities.

“As regulatory compliance becomes more prevalent, more and more small credit unions across the United States are choosing to merge with much larger credit unions to be able to continue serving the membership that has made them successful,” Hammond said.
“With that being said, I felt that (Firefighters) was our best choice in our surrounding area,” she said. “Their focus is on excellent member service and creating loyalty as well. Sun Center FCU was in a position to select a partner that we felt mirrored our overall business plan, and fortunately Firefighters saw value in (Sun).”

Laurendeau predicted that consolidations will continue, based on factors including the need to attract younger members, the growing costs of meeting new regulations that smaller credit unions might find hard to absorb, and the looming retirements of leaders of many credit unions formed decades ago. He added that he's “pretty optimistic” another deal for Firefighters could materialize in 2015 that would bring the credit union into yet another new market. But those talks are early on. Firefighters' other mergers in recent years were also partly driven by retirements of the acquired credit unions' CEOs.

Laurendeau describes Firefighters as a “breakout” credit union partly because of its “very serious strategy” to establish itself as a “true community financial institution” with a broader footprint and expansive membership base.

“But we certainly are not attempting to put any credit unions out of business or steal other business from other credit unions,” he said.

Beyond accomplishing Firefighters' various growth goals of branches, members and assets, chief marketing officer Jennifer Norris said the acquisition of Sun benefits the latter's members by offering contemporary, technology-driven services like text and email alerts, remote deposit and a mobile app. Firefighters also is a member of a shared-branching network — a national network of credit unions that allows the cooperative sharing of more than 5,000 facilities across the country.
“This collaborative partnership will provide our Lorain County members much more technology, services and locations in our immediate area,” Hammond said. “In addition, it affords Firefighters members in Cuyahoga County the same benefits.”

Firefighters was founded in 1936 exclusively for members of its namesake safety force. The credit union opened membership up to all in 2005. But while the institution continues to evolve, there aren't any plans to change the name.

“The history and heritage of our credit union is very important to our board,” Laurendeau said.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Firefighters host benefit hockey game for Nashville EMT


The benefit was for Maria Pothast, an EMT with the Nashville Fire Department, who has an inoperable brain tumor.

"Every bit of this money will go to Maria to help her offset some of her costs while she's out of work," said Mark Young, with International Association of Firefighters Local 140.

Volunteers helped sell tickets, t-shirts, blankets and raffle tickets for a chance to win a guitar autographed by Aaron Tippin.

The Nashville firefighters took the ice, but they weren't the only ones skating for a cause. Firefighters from South Bend, IN, traveled at their own expense to play the local team.

"We put the word out," Young said. "The hockey team made contact in South Bend. They were all in, as they always are. It's a great event.

"We are so thankful for our hockey team," Young added. "They don't expect anything. They are doing this, all volunteers. We hope they don't twist an ankle, but we're proud of the hockey team."

Anyone can contribute to an account that has been set up in Pothast's name at the Nashville Firemen's Credit Union.

Bonnie Sensing
Main Office
P.O. Box 60567
908 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206
Phone: 615-226-3473

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NCOFCU - We are now a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit!

It’s Official!  NCOFCU is a Non-Profit Charitable Organization!
Our work thus far without this designation was only possible through the tremendous support from our firefighter credit union community. Now, as an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we can do So. Much. More. !!

You may be asking: “Like what?” Well, allow us to share with you:

  • Apply for grants – before we were severely limited as most funders want you to be a non-profit organization in the eyes of the IRS
  • Accept Interns – College students can receive credit to intern with us at our conferences
  • Accept Donations -- both monetary and personal property – Thank you to those who personally donated without the tax exemption, but now you can not only claim some of your previous donations, but all of the ones you will make in the future
  • Solicit Donations – Most large businesses and small businesses love the opportunity to give back, you just gotta ask! …. And provide your non-profit status. Done!
  • Establish Endowment Funds -- for operational and scholarship programs
  • Give firefighter credit unions the ability to invest in a Charitable Donation Account (CDA) Investment which funds charitable contributions, like us!
  • Provide, through the above abilities, more conference/educational scholarships to credit union volunteers and staff members as well as assisting in the cost of the educational conference
But most of all, this solidifies our commitment to our membership and empowers our sustainability to continue to be a positive force in the credit union community.

So, where do you or a friends donate? Right here! :)

Grant J Sheehan
Executive Director

*The National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions, Inc. (NCOFCU) is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) charitable organization. Donors may deduct contributions as provided in IRC 170(c) (3) of the U.S. Tax Code.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

“Happy Veterans Day”

Flag“Thanksgiving” is a day when we pause to give thanks for what we have.

“Veterans Day” is a day when we pause to give thanks to the people who fought for the things we have!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Richmond Fire & Police Credit Unions Join Forces

Michael Schwartz BizSense

The latest in a string of local credit union mergers is looking to bring city police and firefighters under one roof.

A deal is in the works to merge The Richmond Fire Department Credit Union and Richmond Police Department Credit Union.

The resulting institution will have 2,500 members and $21 million in assets. It will be renamed Richmond Virginia Fire Police Credit Union.

The two sides filed for state approval for the deal on Oct. 31, according to State Corporation Commission records.

Richmond Police Department Credit Union chief executive Alice Pope said she was not prepared to comment on the deal.

Wallace Garland, CEO of the Fire Department Credit Union said he could not comment at this time.

Letters to members state the credit unions hope to have the merger closed by around the first of the new year. Members of both credit unions have already approved the merger.


The Richmond Police Department Credit Union is housed in the police headquarters downtown on Grace Street. Photo by Michael Schwartz.

The Fire Department Credit Union is headquartered temporarily out of a small office at 1634 Ownby Lane, just around the corner from Richmond Fire Station #10.

It was founded in the 1920s by a handful of Richmond firefighters and currently has 1,500 members and $15.1 million in assets. It produced a profit of $82,000 through the first three quarters of the year, according to its financials filed with the National Credit Union Administration. That followed a profit of $119,000 for the full year 2013.

Richmond Police Department Credit Union has 1,000 members and $6.18 million in assets. It was founded in 1934. It operates out of the Richmond Police headquarters building at 200 W. Grace St.

It’s operating at a loss of $92,000 through the first nine months of 2014 and was in the red by $19,000 for all of last year, according to its NCUA filings.

The police and fire department deal is one of several mergers involving local credit unions in the last few years.

Many have involved larger credit unions absorbing smaller peers that were struggling to stay afloat. Others were a combination of similarly sized institutions looking to mergers as a way to expand their reach.

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