Tag Archives: Arizona State

financial

Credit unions grow membership, revenue

Like many other industries, credit unions in Arizona are bouncing back from the economic downturn.

Credit unions, which are similar to banks in the products and services that they offer except at a slightly lower cost, are taking advantage of consumer disenchantment with big banks to attract new members. According to a recent National Credit Union Administration report, through the first quarter of 2012, credit unions around the country combined for a record 92.5 million members.

“As local, member-owned financial institutions, credit unions are simply doing what they have always been good at,” said Scott Earl, CEO of Mountain West Credit Union Association, a trade organization of credit unions across Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. “They have a long history and reputation for providing excellent member service, financial education and a wide variety of financial services to fit their members needs. The recent increased recognition of these qualities and the progress credit unions have made is establishing their success as an industry.”

Nationally, credit unions generated $2.1 billion in profits and added 667,000 new members in the first quarter of 2012, a 25 percent spike in profits compared with a year earlier. Most large Arizona credit unions — including Desert Schools, TruWest, Arizona State, Credit Union West and Arizona Federal — saw profits roughly double in the first quarter of 2012, compared with earnings from a year earlier.

“The word ‘profit’ is a bit of a misnomer,” said Paul Stull, senior vice president of strategy and brand for Arizona State Credit Union. “Credit unions do have net income. However, all credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. The net income or funds available after expenses are paid become part of a credit union’s capital or are used to build new branches, purchase new technology or offer additional services.”

Something that Arizona State Credit Union added recently were construction loans to its home loan portfolio in anticipation of an improving economy, as evidenced by the 27 percent growth of new home sales in the first quarter, compared to the prior year.

The construction loan program allows members the opportunity to lock in their mortgage rate early and avoid the possibility of fluctuating rates during the construction phase. Additional perks to this all-in-one loan include needing to only qualify once, signing one set of loan documents and paying one set of loan fees for both the construction-phase financing and permanent mortgage.

“As a local financial cooperative, the Credit Union is proud to offer low rates and flexible terms on a product that few financial institutions are offering,” said David E. Doss, president and CEO of Arizona State Credit Union. “We are excited to add construction loans to our home loan options as it is one more way we can assist members residing in the Arizona communities we serve.”

A J.D. Power and Associates study this year showed that consumer backlash against fees and the perception of poor customer service from some of the bigger banks have caused some consumers to switch to credit unions, whichunlike banks, which are run as private businesses seeking profits, operate as nonprofit entities and are technically owned by their members.

“Generally credit unions offer lower fees and better interest rates than banks,” Stull said. “This is one reason consumers may come to a credit union. We also see many people that switch because they want to do business with a local financial institution that is based in Arizona. Our deposits are returned to the community in the form of loans than in turn grow jobs and economic development in the communities we serve. Many consumers have made a choice to support local businesses, and credit unions are a great example of that.”

While credit unions never issue subprime mortgages, which many experts blame for helping lead the nation into the recession, credit unions did get hit with the impact of the failing economy. One lesson Earl said they learned: Innovation.

“Learning to manage resources while providing increased quality of services through the recession has challenged the way credit unions approach problems,” he said. “Increased creativity and credit union technology are some of more positive lessons for the long term.”
In addition to lower fees and increasing efficiency that is resulting from lessons learned in the wake of the recession, Stull said credit unions offer free financial counseling, will help members create a budget to manage their funds, and Arizona State Credit Union’s Home Affordable Refinance Program has allowed homeowners who owe more than the house is worth to refinance and reduce their payments.

“Choosing a credit union is a win-win situation for consumers,” Stull said. “They can get a better rate or lower fees to help them stretch their budgets, and they can benefit their community by doing business with a local financial cooperative that helps create jobs and grow the local economy. You get a good deal and you can feel good about helping your community, too.”

cronkite

CBS News President To Keynote Cronkite School Graduation

CBS News President David Rhodes will deliver the keynote graduation address next month at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University officials said today.

The announcement comes the day after the 50th anniversary of Cronkite’s first appearance as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

“It is a tremendous gift to our graduating students to be able to hear from one of today’s most important journalism leaders, and it is particularly appropriate as both Walter’s network and Walter’s school celebrate his 50th anniversary,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan.

Cronkite served as anchor and managing editor of the network’s nightly newscast from April 16, 1962, to March 6, 1981. Three years later, the journalism program at ASU was named in his honor. Over the following quarter-century, Cronkite made annual visits to the school, meeting with students, talking with faculty and personally bestowing the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism on a journalism luminary. The first Cronkite Award winners were CBS founder William Paley and former CBS President Frank Stanton in 1984.

Under Cronkite’s guidance and vision, the school rose to national prominence. Today more than 1,300 students study in downtown Phoenix at the Cronkite building, a 225,000-square foot state-of-the-art multimedia complex that is home to Cronkite NewsWatch, a 30-minute nightly newscast that airs statewide on Arizona PBS, Cronkite News Service, a daily multimedia news service with bureaus in Phoenix and Washington, the New Media Innovation Lab and the Carnegie-Knight News21 digital media program. Faculty members include former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and former CNN anchor Aaron Brown.

Cronkite students have finished first nationally in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence competition for six consecutive years and have the best record in the Hearst Journalism Awards over that time.

Rhodes, who was named president of CBS News in February 2011, oversees all network news operations, including “CBS Evening News,” “CBS This Morning,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Face the Nation, “48 Hours Mystery,” CBSNews.com and CBS News Radio.

A New York native, Rhodes started his journalism career in 1996 as a production assistant at Fox NewsChannel and rose to vice president of news. During his 12 years at Fox, he led the political news team, edited international coverage of global hot spots such as Afghanistan and Iraq and directed coverage of Hurricane Katrina and other major events. He was a Fox News Channel assignment manager in New York on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

In November 2008, the Rice University graduate joined Bloomberg’s multimedia group as head of U.S. television. He was responsible for programming, development, editorial, newsgathering, production and operations.

Rhodes will deliver his convocation address on May 4 at Grady Gammage Auditorium, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed venue on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Scottsdale Saguaro's DJ Foster (Darryl Webb, East Valley Tribune)

ASU Football: Immediate Impact Players in 2012 Recruiting Class

Outside of the yearly Duel in the Desert game against Arizona and the possible bowl appearances, National Letter of Intent Day is one of the biggest days for ASU football and Sun Devil nation.

With fresh new faces committing to each university, it is a look at the future and the new faces of each school. And on February 1, new ASU football Head Coach Todd Graham brought in his first recruiting class.

Only 50 days into his tenure, most fans in Sun Devil nation have applauded Graham for his work of salvaging what seemed to be a dismal recruiting class. By bringing in some of the best, local talent in Arizona and some nationally-recognized junior college players, Graham looks to make a splash in the PAC-12 this season with his “high-octane” spread offense.


Let’s take a look at some players in this ASU’s new recruiting class who have the ability to be a factor on the field in the 2012 ASU football season:


1. DJ Foster

DJ Foster, ASU Football
With the highest-ranked recruit coming to ASU since 2004, DJ Foster of Scottsdale Saguaro High School has the ability to make an immediate impact on the field. With his speed, play-making ability and ability to play from the back field or lined up as a receiver, Foster can become a dangerous weapon for the Devils. In his senior season, he scored 64 touchdowns, including an Arizona state record 10 touchdowns in one game. While he still needs to develop some size to become an every-down back, look to see Graham move Foster around the offense in 2012.

2. Marion Grice

Marion Grice, ASU Football
A relatively unknown recruit to most Sun Devil fans, Grice was the highest ranked junior college running back in the nation. While most did not believe the Sun Devils had a chance at landing Grice, he was a pleasant signing-day surprise for the maroon and gold. At 6-0, 215 lbs., Grice is a hard-nosed tailback that adds depth to an already stacked back-field for the Devils. With Cameron Marshall returning for his senior season, Deantre Lewis back from injury, and DJ Foster — these four running backs will give OC Norvell plenty of options in 2012.

3. Chris Young

Chris Young, ASU Football
ASU had plenty of needs to be filled with this recruiting class after graduating a handful of seniors from last years starting line-ups. Chris Young, another junior college recruit that Sun Devil fans can look to make an immediate impact in 2012. With the new 3-3-5/3-4 offense that Graham will be running, Young is the perfect Hybrid form to fit this defense. It also doesn’t hurt that he was named the Western States Football League and Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

4. Steffon Martin

 Steffon Martin, ASU Football
A teammate of Young at Arizona Western, Martin looks to join Young and fill the shoes at middle linebacker that were left with the departure of Vontaze Burfict. At 6-2, 240 lbs., Martin runs a 4.5 forty. This kind of speed can make Martin a terror from sideline to sideline and hopefully create some stability at the middle line-backer position that ASU never had with Burfict.

5. Evan Goodman

 Evan Goodman, ASU Football
After Foster, Goodman may be one of the most prized recruits in this year’s class. A four-star ranked offensive tackle out of Florida, Goodman is a nationally ranked recruit. With offers from Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame and more, it’s obvious that the boy has talent. And his 6-4, 290 lbs. frame doesn’t hurt much either. With ASU graduating three of the starting offensive linemen from last season, Goodman may have to step up as a freshman. With the recruit of Goodman, ASU has hopefully opened a door into the recruiting realm of Florida, a territory that is usually owned by SEC teams.

6. Mike Pennel

 Mike Pennel, ASU Football
Another big time junior college recruit, Pennel comes from just down the road at Scottsdale Community College. A monstrous defensive tackle, at 6-5, 340 lbs., Pennel may be the beastly nose-tackle that is needed to cause havoc in Graham’s three-man defensive line. Without many options at the nose tackle position, look to see Pennel on the field at the beginning of the season.

7. Alonzo Agwuenu

 Alonzo Agwuenu, ASU Football
The pass game at ASU has plenty of uncertainties heading into the 2012 season. Gerrell Robinson, Mike Willie and Aaron Pflugrad, the top three receivers for ASU last year have all graduated — and star-in-the-making QB Brock Osweiler — has opted for the NFL draft. Agwuenu, another junior college recruit, has a big 6-4, 210-pound frame that will make him an easy target for the new quarterback in the fall.

Click here for an in-depth look at ASU’s entire 2012 recruiting class.