Connecticut Story Archive

CT Reaches Settlement with Bitcoin of America to End Unlicensed ‘Crypto ATMs’

Courtesy of Josh LaBella, CTInsider

May 26, 2023 — Bitcoin of America will be winding down its operations in Connecticut after a settlement with the state, and tighter regulations may be coming for virtual assets, officials say.

In a release, the Connecticut Department of Banking said it has reached a settlement with Bitcoin of America through a consent order agreed to by both parties.

“Bitcoin of America had been operating virtual currency kiosks in Connecticut without obtaining the proper license,” it said. “Virtual currency kiosks allow consumers to purchase virtual currency with cash. Four Connecticut consumers who patronized these kiosks fell victim to scams, losing tens of thousands of dollars.” Read more

Some Conn. Credit Unions Shed Branches, Invest More in Technology

A big selling point for credit unions is their personal touch, the connection of a local not-for-profit institution whose mission is serving members rather than shareholders.

Some credit unions are deciding this mission can be better served with modern technology and fewer brick-and-mortar locations.

Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, an 85,000-member institution with $1.6 billion in assets serving New London and Windham counties, is allowing the lease of its Long Hill Road branch in Groton to expire at the close of the year. That will leave Charter Oak with 15 branches, including two others in Groton. Read More

Former Connecticut Financial Institutions Division Director, Mary Ellen O’Neill is the 2022, Pierre Jay Winner

August 16, 2022 — The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) proudly announces that Mary Ellen O’Neill, former Connecticut Financial Institutions Division Director, is the 2022 Pierre Jay Award recipient.

This award, named after Pierre Jay, the first Commissioner of Banks in Massachusetts and first credit union regulator in the United States, is the highest honor NASCUS bestows and recognizes those with proven service, commitment, and leadership to NASCUS and the state-charter system.

Ms. O’Neill has served as the Connecticut FID Division Director since 2004, following the merger of the Bank Examination Division and Credit Union Divisions. The FID has regulatory oversight of State banks and credit unions, international banks, trust banks, and uninsured banks chartered by the Connecticut Department of Banking.

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Connecticut’s Mutual Security Credit Union Donates $7,500 in Honor of Black History Month

April 2022 — In honor of Black History Month, Mutual Security Credit Union donated $2,500 to each of the following nonprofits that serve and empower the Black community:

The Prosperity Foundation: a community foundation that is committed to advancing Black communities through Black philanthropy.

The Carver Foundation of Norwalk: Carver’s mission is to close opportunity gaps for all children and to ensure they graduate high school on time and ready for college and careers. Click here for related blog story.

Urban League of Southern Connecticut: The Urban League of Southern Connecticut, Inc. is driven by a single goal; to do their part in making the world a better place for all. The urban League has an outstanding track record of providing nationally recognized credentials and certifications, the home buyer, and financial education workshops and one-on-one counseling, and comprehensive wrap-around services which breaks down barriers to self-sufficiency.

As a financial institution dedicated to empowering the communities we serve, Mutual Security Credit Union strives to be a true community partner and assist the great work nonprofits in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties are doing to help individuals in times of great need. This can be through monetary support, providing volunteers, or offering personalized financial education.

Connecticut Credit Unions have Raised $100,809 for the Credit Unions Building Financial Independence (CUBFI) Ukraine Fund

Courtesy of Julie Martin Banks at CT News Junkie

April 2022 – Nearly 30 Connecticut credit unions have donated more than $54,000 in an effort to help those impacted by the conflict, with a total of $100,809 raised so far for the Credit Unions Building Financial Independence (CUBFI) Ukraine Fund, according to Bruce Adams, President & CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut (CULCT). The funds will be used to directly support impacted Ukrainians and Ukrainian-Americans both in Connecticut and overseas.

CULCT will also provide a variety of assistance – such as counseling and financial resources – to refugees that may end up in Connecticut, organizers said.

According to a CULCT document outlining the drive, organizers are encouraging businesses, schools, and individuals to join in supporting the fund. Donations will go to the humanitarian assistance fund at the Ukrainian Self Reliance Credit Union, other organizations that assist impacted CT residents and refugees, civic and faith-based organizations serving local Ukrainian communities, and initiatives endorsed by the state of Connecticut.

American Eagle Financial Credit Union donated $10,116 on behalf of the credit union and its employees. The Credit Union Building Financial Independence, CULCT’s charitable foundation, gave its own $10,000 donation, according to Adams, while donations from individuals is at $36,500.

In addition to possibly using its own funds to match certain donations or fundraising initiatives, the foundation may decide to replenish the Small Credit Union Fund to help credit unions prepare to defend against possible cyberattacks, organizations said.

Those who are interested in giving to the Fund can visit or send a check made out to: CUBFI, 1064 East Main St., Ste. 201, Meriden, CT 06450.

Related Reading: Credit unions continue to raise funds for Ukraine
Credit union system sends donations and other aid to Eastern Europe.

Connecticut CU & Massachusetts Corporate CU Appoint New CEOs

Howard Brady takes the helm at American Eagle Financial CU and Cindy Nelson leads EasCorp.

January 05, 2022 — Howard Brady has been appointed president/CEO of American Eagle Financial Credit Union in East Hartford, Conn.

Howard BradyHe succeeds Dean Marchessault, who retired at the end of last year. Over his seven years as CEO, American Eagle Financial’s assets grew from $1.3 billion to $2.3 billion, while total loans increased from $888 million to more than $1.6 billion and membership expanded from 107,507 to 172,756, according to the credit union’s Call Reports.

Brady, who took over as CEO on Monday, has served as SVP and chief lending officer at AEFCU since 2015.

Howard Brady

“His leadership and proven performance make him a natural successor to Dean, whose tenure has produced impressive growth and success for our organization,” AEFCU Board Chair Michael P. DePasquale said in a prepared statement. “We thank Dean for his contributions and wish him all the best.”

Brady joined American Eagle in October 2014 as vice president, real estate lending. Before he arrived at AEFCU, Brady held numerous positions in the financial, credit union, mortgage lending and ticketing industries. AEFCU’s 328 employees operate 16 branches and a corporate office.


Top 3 Tips for Credit Unions to Know About when Texting

August 17, 2021 — Credit Unions (CUs) have found that their members are requesting the ability to communicate via text messaging. In doing so, CUs have also found it to be very efficient and effective, in turn, providing a better member experience, streamlining operations and enhancing the bottom line.  How is texting different?

  • 95% of texts are opened within 90 seconds and responded to in 3 minutes of being received.

  • Texting can increase customer engagement by 800%+

  • 90% of customers prefer text messaging over phone calls

When deploying texting, CUs should be aware of the best practices, regulations and how to best use the technology for each particular use case, whether it be marketing, lending, collections, member services, etc…

Credit unions, which operate under the most stringent regulations in the world, need to be aware of how to use texting safely, securely and efficiently.  Here are the top three tips to be aware of when implementing an enterprise text messaging solution.

1. SMS/MMS is Unencrypted.  

Texts are sent using a technology called SMS (Short Message Service) and picture Texts are sent using a technology called MMS (Multimedia Media Service). Both SMS and MMS are unencrypted. Here is an article by Apple which explains this further.

As consumers, we often text pictures to each other without thinking twice about the security of the text and/or picture.


Foreclosure Mediation

MAR 16, 2021 — Great news! The Connecticut Banking Committee will be meeting to vote on the substitute language of bills they have heard prior to their JF Deadline this Thursday, March 18th. That means they will be voting on the Foreclosure Mediation Program bill before them again this year to extend the deadline again. As you know the program began when foreclosure rates were at a high due to the financial crisis, and it was never intended to become permanent. We testified that due to Bruce’s experiences serving the state, he has a unique insight into the intent and process of the Foreclosure Mediation Program as an architect in developing the programming language in the Governor’s Office, and again after its passage in implementing the program as acting Commissioner at the CT Department of Banking.

This program, although admirable, has had unintended consequences for credit unions. The program has lengthened the processes already used by credit unions as they diligently work to help their members remain in their homes. Unfortunately, the process has also resulted in raised costs that are then directly or indirectly absorbed by the other members of the credit union. This program caused adverse effects on Connecticut’s credit unions and the everyday consumers who are their member-owners.

Our efforts were successful in deleting the section of the bill that would make the program permanent. We are now working on changing the language of the bill to divert the funding of it to the Judicial System where it should be, and not out of the Banking Department.


NCUA Board Approves Request from Connecticut DOB for FISCUs to be Exempt from Provisions of CUSO Regulation

April 30, 2015 – The NCUA Board today approved the exemption of Federally Insured State Chartered Credit Unions in the state of Connecticut from provisions of the credit union service organization regulation (12 C.F.R. 712.3(d)(1), (2) and (3)). 

Credit Union Profits Soar in Westerly
April 14, 2015 – The Westerly Community Credit Union reported Tuesday that its profits rose more than 29 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year.

Perez Selected as Connecticut’s New Commissioner of the Department of Banking
February 18, 2015 – Hartford, Conn. – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Feb. 13 that Jorge Perez of New Haven, Conn., will serve as Connecticut’s Commissioner of the Department of Banking. READ

Connecticut Ends 2014 with Two New State Charters
December 31, 2014 – Hartford, Conn. – Connecticut ended 2014 with two new state charters: American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Inc., of East Hartford (formerly American Eagle Federal Credit Union), and Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, Inc., of Rocky Hill (formerly Nutmeg State Federal Credit Union).

Connecticut Department of Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin to Retire
December 19, 2014 – Hartford, Conn. – Conn. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced that after nearly 40 years of service with the state agency, Department of Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin intends to retire in January.

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