Sallie Mae Reports Student Loans Up 22%

NEWARK, Del.-Sallie Mae last week reported 22% growth in private student loans for 2012, helping push annual earnings up 48% to $939 million. The student loan giant reported a 12.5% surge in private loan originations for Q4 to $514 million, and a 22% increase for the year to $3.3 billion, as it carved out a greater share of the market increasingly sought by CUs (see related item, page 6).

Speaker Boehner To Address CUNA's GAC

WASHINGTON-House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will address CUNA's GAC on Feb. 26 in Washington. "We are very honored to again have Speaker Boehner join us at the GAC," said CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney. "The Speaker's acceptance of our invitation is indicative of his appreciation for all credit unions do to ably serve their members in Ohio and nationwide."

Loan Officers Sue CU For Overtime Pay

CINCINNATI-A group of loan officers last week filed a class action suit claiming Emery FCU erroneously classified them as exempt employees to avoid paying them overtime. The purported class action, headed by Linda O'Neal, claims the credit union is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act by misclassifying dozens of loan officers, whose primary duty was selling mortgages and refinancing home loans. Those employees are paid on commission and not on an hourly basis and routinely work more than 40 hours, according to the suit. The suit seeks class action certification for anyone who worked as a loan officer for the credit union in the past three years and back overtime pay for those individuals.

Similar litigation has been filed against Patelco Credit Union.

CU Direct Pays $1.5M Dividend

ONTARIO, Calif.-CU Direct Corp., the parent of CU Direct Lending, is paying its 102 owners a $1.5-million dividend for 2012, slightly higher than the $1.4-million payout for each of the previous two years. This year's payout, the eighth in a row, amounts to a 3% dividend. CU Direct said it signed new agreements with 109 credit unions in 2012 and at year's end 1,050 credit unions, serving 34 million members, were utilizing the CUSO's lending solutions.

Wegner Awards Tickets On Sale Now

WASHINGTON-The National Credit Union Foundation is reminding that ticket are on sale for the 25th Annual Dinner Presenting the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards. The 25th annual dinner will take place on Feb. 25, 2013 in conjunction with CUNA GAC.

For info: www.ncuf.coop.

Bank Gives Away Branch To LAFCU

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-Lexington Avenue FCU is the recipient of a free branch from First Niagara Bank, including title to the building and all its furnishings and technology, ensuring the surrounding low-income Joseph Avenue community will have continued access to financial services. In addition to the donation of the branch, which First Niagara acquired last year from HSBC, the bank is contributing $10,000 to the Joseph Avenue Business Association to support development of its four-part strategic plan for revitalization of the neighborhood.

First Niagara sought input from the City of Rochester in order to find a credit union with interest in the space. Together, First Niagara and the City approached the credit union, which was eager to add a second location for its members to conduct their banking.

CMCU Ad Will Debut On Super Bowl

CHARLOTTE, N.C.-Charlotte Metro CU is introducing a new marketing campaign that kicks off with a 30-second commercial for the Super Bowl on local TV Feb. 3. This year's Super Bowl spot, however, is not humorous as were the previous versions, Charlotte Metro said-focusing instead on the "happy place" the credit union, literally and figuratively, puts its members.

The campaign will run through 2013.

Metro CU Acquires Fenwal CU

CHELSEA, Mass.-Metro CU continued to expand its suburban Boston footprint with a deal to acquire Fenwal CU, a troubled single-branch, $2-million credit union in nearby Ashland, Mass., the fifth merger for Metro in three years.

Partially as a result of the mergers, Metro Credit Union's assets have grown to more than $1.1 billion.

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