ICUL Service Corporation
July 2012


Important News

CU success found in providing loans to Chicago small businesses

CUs blazing a trail

Annual Convention #2 in Schaumburg - mark your calendar!

State Treasurer's "Cash Dash" now "I-Cash"

CUAid Activated for CUs Affected by Colorado Wildfires

CU success found in providing loans to Chicago small businesses
Across the City of Chicago, one area credit union has been providing critical loans to help the small business community grow and succeed.

For the past year, the North Side Community Federal Credit Union (NSCFCU) has been participating with the City Treasurer to provide these loans via the city’s Small Business Development Fund.  Loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 have been granted to businesses registered and located in Chicago.  Authorized loan purposes include working capital, establishment of a new business; expansion of existing business; job creation and/or retention; purchase of equipment/machinery/supplies or inventory and other crucial operational needs.  Start-up businesses may be eligible to receive up to $15,000.

Since the program's launch, NSCFCU has assisted nine businesses with a total of $218,500 in loans.  Businesses include a day care center, a hand car wash, a children's retail clothing store, a cosmetics manufacturing company, a trucking company, a medical supply business, a medical concierge business, a printing and design company, and an eye wear manufacturer.

One such business that has benefitted from this partnership program is H.D. Printing.  In September 2011, this small business received a loan of $12,500 to purchase a new die cutter, a Macintosh computer, and additional working capital to help with operating expenses.

"This loan helped us with our cash flow and equipment purchases that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise," said Andy Holck, co-owner.  "It has allowed us to do work in house at 25 percent of the cost that we would have paid to contract out which has led to us bringing on a new employee."

Loan funds are guaranteed by the City of Chicago.  However, NSCFCU administers the loan approval process via a dedicated part-time staff person specifically for this program and its small business loan committee.

"North Side Community Federal Credit Union's small business loan program furthers our mission to provide resources and affordable services to our diverse community, which includes small businesses," said Jennifer Sierecki, CEO, NSCFCU.  "We are grateful to have the opportunity to assist local small businesses with the vital capital resources they need to start, expand, and grow."

"Helping small businesses is another important way in which credit unions exhibit their 'People Helping People' philosophy throughout the communities in which they serve," said Dan Plauda, ICUL President/Chief Executive Officer.  "During these continued challenging economic times, small business owners are very appreciative of resources to help them prosper and credit unions are willing to partner with them."

CUs blazing a trail
Between reaching a major asset milestone, seeing record numbers of members, and achieving high satisfaction, credit unions across the country are in unprecedented, positive territory in the minds of consumers and members. 

First, as you may have been hearing for the past few months, credit unions in the U.S collectively reached a major milestone--$1 trillion in assets (that’s trillion with a “t”).  According to the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) monthly sample of credit unions, this mark was passed for the first time in March 2012--ending the month at $1.02 trillion. Credit union assets increased by $40.6 billion (+4.1%) in the first quarter.   Credit union assets have more than doubled since year-end 2000 when they were $450 billion.  

Some of the reasoning behind the shift is that credit unions help consumers save a good deal of their hard earned money.  According to Mike Schenk, CUNA Vice President of Economics and Statistics, CUNA estimates that credit union members saved approximately $6.25 billion during 2011.  Plus, due to factors such as National Bank Transfer day, and PR gaffes by Bank of America and other big banks over the past several months, consumer flight to credit unions has accelerated notably.

In addition to the trillion dollar asset milestone, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has reported that credit unions have also been breaking records on the member front.  According to 1st quarter 5300 quarterly data, credit unions now have approximately 92.5 million members.  As part of that trend, the NCUA reported that 667,000 consumers joined a credit union during the first quarter alone.

Before the actual data confirmed the trends in assets and membership, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) several months ago was already showing that credit unions were well on their way to setting multiple records, at that time in satisfaction, with 87 percent of credit union members surveyed saying they are "more satisfied than ever before" with their credit unions.

The 87 percent score was the highest score reached in any of the ASCI's 47 industries that it surveys, and credit unions have consistently received high praise for their member service in this survey.  The ASCI survey also found that bank customer satisfaction stands at 75 percent, and that total decreased by 1.3 percent over the past year.

So how about Illinois?  As of the first quarter, the state’s credit unions collectively held $37.2 billion in assets and were serving 2.84 million members.  In the past year, that is a 5.9 percent growth in assets and nearly one percent in membership, respectively.   On the long-term front, asset growth in Illinois since 2000 actually slightly exceeded the national trend with an increase of 55 percent, growing from $15 billion to $35 billion during that time.

Recent NCUA data has also showed Illinois credit unions on the whole were safe and sound with a 9.7 percent net worth ratio.

In addition, CUNA estimates that Illinois credit unions provided $180 million in direct financial benefits to the state's 2.8 million members during 2011.  These benefits are equivalent to $65 per member of $123 per member household.

Lastly, from a global perspective, the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) recently reported via its 2011 Statistical Report that the global credit union movement added eight million new members in 2011, topping out at 196 million members worldwide from 100 reporting countries. The annual study revealed that the number of members grew 4.3% from 188 million members reported in 2010, while the number of credit unions fell 3.5% to 51,103 in 2011 from 52,945 in 2010.

Annual Convention #2 in Schaumburg - mark your calendar! 
With the inaugural annual convention in Schaumburg under its belt, the League is feverously planning for next year's event there.

The 83rd Annual Convention will be held April  18-20, 2013  and returning to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel.  Save these dates, inform your board members, staff and plan on attending this annual event.  Here’s what people said about this past year’s convention:

  • "Great facility! Great Convention!"
  • "Great location, next to food and shopping"
  • "Hotel super ! Big rooms at very reasonable rates'
  • "First time attending-coming back next year!"
  • "Missed the Hilton, but not the prices and $50 parking!"
  • "Loved the dueling pianos"
  • "Outstanding Location! A real money saver"
  • "Good speakers and topics"
  • "Loved the one day rate!"
  • "Brought additional board members with our expense savings"
  • "Great lunch in the exhibit hall"
  • 'Loved the open lobby and bar area"
  • "Nice to have a free fridge in my room"
  • "The TV in the bathroom mirror was pretty cool!"

DuPage Credit Union was so inspired by Keynoter Connie Payton that it launched a back-to-school supply drive to support the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation.  Through August 3, the credit union is accepting donated supplies, which will assist underprivileged children in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood with 35 schools.

Related to Mrs. Payton's address, an organ donation session was held as part of last year's Convention. 

Vikki Tulcus, Community Outreach Coordinator for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's office said, "Thank you for the opportunity to educate Illinois Credit Union League employees on organ and tissue donation.  We received a positive response from everyone. During our breakout session, several excellent questions were discussed and we even had someone (who wasn’t in our breakout session) stop by specifically to register as an organ donor.  On behalf of all of us in the Illinois Secretary of State Organ/Tissue Donor Program, thank you for your support!"

"Schaumburg proved to be a great new location for the League's Annual Convention, our premier educational event of the year!  Don't miss it next year!" said Gregory Framarin, ICUL's Director of Educational Development.

State Treasurer's "Cash Dash" now "I-Cash"
In this challenging economy, every little bit of extra cash can help.

That’s why the Illinois State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division is encouraging people to “discover what’s yours” by visiting its Web site today to see if they have an asset waiting for them in the state I-Cash program. Formerly called "Cash Dash," I-Cash was established in 1999 with the goal of helping Illinois residents through the process of reclaiming money or assets. Most assets are transferred to the state after they’ve been inactive for at least five years.

One in eight Illinois residents has an asset to be claimed though I-Cash. So the chances are good that you, your members, or someone you know, will discover cash or assets in the database. The state currently has $1.5 billion in cash, plus contents from Illinois safe deposit boxes, which need to be returned to Illinois residents.

The I-Cash website ( makes it easy for people to discover if they have cash and other assets waiting for them. It’s a simple, three-step process:

  1. Enter your name in the online search field.
  2. If it’s a match, fill out and submit the online claim form.
  3. Receive your property or cash and enjoy what you’ve discovered.

Illinois residents have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by searching the I-Cash website. The time to search is now: 780,000 additional names were recently added to the public web database by the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office.

Searching is free and dollar amounts of cash in the system range from $5 to $500,000-plus. Assets to be reclaimed include everything from stocks and CDs, to safe deposit boxes and valuables. Within weeks, residents are reconnected with their cash or assets.

Visit today, and discover what’s yours! 

CUAid Activated for CUs Affected by Colorado Wildfires 
The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has activated the online disaster relief system,, to raise money for credit union people affected by the wildfires in Colorado. 

“The impact of the Colorado wildfires on the community is an immediate concern,” said Scott Earl, President/CEO of the Mountain West Credit Union Association. “With more than 32,000 people evacuated and 350 structures already destroyed, our thoughts and prayers go out to the communities in distress during these difficult times. The support of the credit union community and the National Credit Union Foundation through the activation of CUAid will be indispensable.”

Credit union supporters in every state can make donations through CUAid, which is secure website that accepts credit cards and includes information on wire transfers and mail donations ( CUAid is the only program of its kind that enables credit union employees, volunteers, and members, as well as credit unions and state credit union foundations across the U.S., to contribute directly to support other credit union people.

As donations are posted through, NCUF will coordinate with the Mountain West Credit Union Association to distribute money efficiently to credit union employees and members in the affected areas.

CUAid was developed by NCUF in cooperation with state credit union foundations, state credit union leagues, and the Credit Union National Association’s Disaster Preparedness Committee in 2006.

The secure online tool links the entire credit union system to raise money for disaster relief, most recently after Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene last year. CUAid was active an unprecedented four times in 2011.

Since activating its online disaster relief system on June 29, the NCUF has already raised over $25,000 from the credit union community to assist credit union people affected by the wildfires in Colorado.

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