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.

Friday, November 7, 2014

“Biz Lending” for Firefighter Credit Unions

As a follow up to our very successful business lending breakout session in San Diego, I am posting what our sponsor “Biz Lending” can do for you.

Please contact Murray Halperin 561-393-3770 or email at
murrayh@bizlendingcenter.com  for more information.

Down load Program at;  https://ncofcu.memberclicks.net/assets/Presentations/2014/biz-lending/blc%20presentation.pdf

Cover Photo