FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting

Members of FOGCE Federal Credit Union at Annual Meeting.

The Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its Annual Meeting and Christmas Celebration on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at the credit union’s offices in downtown Eutaw.
The meeting was well attended by more than 35 members who came to learn the status and future plans for the credit union.
Joyce Pham, Treasurer, gave a financial report indicating that as of December 31, 2017, the FOGCE had $503,782.56 in loans outstanding to the membership with assets of $1,343,153.16. There are 891 members and net income for 2017 was $13,819.19.
Mary Dunn, Chairperson of the Credit Committee reported that the FOGCE had made 333 loans in 2018, for a total of $421,537.69, which included ten automobile loans with a value of $153,839.
Rodney Pham indicated that the Credit Committee had increased the maximum loan for an automobile from $40,000 to $60,000. Loans are based on the car’s value, repayment ability and credit rating of the borrower.
Dr. Carol P. Zippert, President reported on the credit union. “ We started in 1975, 43 years ago, with around $25,000 in savings and we have grown to have $1.3 million in assets today. After years of operating in renter spaces, we now own our own building on the Courthouse Square in Eutaw.”
Zippert continued, “ We recently received a $10,000 grant from Inclusiv (formerly the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions) for technology upgrades, accounting and compliance, financial education and counseling for members and marketing and communications expenses to improve contact with our members. We plan to use these grant funds to grow and improve our credit union. We would like to have 1,000 members and over $1.5 million in assets by the end of 2019.”
Joyce Pham indicated that any person who lives, works or worships in Greene County is eligible to join the credit union. It takes $35.00 to join, with $10 for administrative fees to set-up the account and $25.00 as the initial share deposit. All savings are insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to a value of $250,000 per account.
Pham said the credit union is now getting payroll deduction of savings and loan payments from more than thirty employers and businesses in Greene County and surrounding communities including Aliceville, Demopolis, Tuscaloosa and others.
In the business meeting, the members re-elected three board members including Darlene Robinson, Rodney Pham and Mollie Rowe. Also re-elected to the Credit Committee were: Mary Dunn, Rodney Pham and Vonda Richardson. .
Several visitors from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives made congratulatory remarks to the members. These included: Carrie Fulghum, Alabama Board member with the Federation, Dr. Marcus Bernard, Director of the Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, and John Zippert, long time Federation staff member.

Greenetrack settles lawsuit with dissatisfied shareholders for one million dollars

There is a Legal Notice starting on Page 7 of this newspaper, which informs current shareholders of Greenetrack (as of September 5, 2018) of plans to settle a lawsuit filed by dissatisfied shareholders for one million dollars. A hearing will be held on Friday, October 12, 2018 in Greene County Circuit Court by Judge William E. Hereford to determine the fairness, adequacy and reasonableness of the settlement, including the Plaintiffs’ attorney’s fee. Any shareholder wishing to object to or speak on the settlement must inform the Court in writing, at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing in the manner set forth in the legal notice. This lawsuit began over five years ago, on February 19, 2013 when the Plaintiffs, former Greenetrack employees, Ronnie Lavendar, Harvey Jones and others sued the Defendants: Luther Winn Jr, Emma Sugars, Jimmie Paster, Rodney Pham, Elizabeth Byrd and Greenetrack alleging mismanagement, gross waste of corporate assets and failure to carry out fiduciary responsibilities, as officers and Board members of the corporation. After several years of litigation including efforts by Greenetrack to secure a hearing at the Supreme Court of Alabama, the parties agreed to mediation and a settlement discussion, which resulted in the settlement described in the legal notice. Under the settlement, the Plaintiffs will dismiss all claims against Greenetrack and the individual defendants. “ In consideration of Plaintiffs actions, the Defendant’s directors and officers liability insurer shall pay one million dollars in settlement; with one third, to be paid to the Plaintiffs attorneys and two thirds as dividends to all current shareholders, with the exception that no dividends will be paid to the named Defendants including Winn, Sugars, Pater, Pham and Byrd. As part of the settlement, the Defendant Greenetrack directors agree to participate in a corporate governance training session to be conducted by an independent Certified Public Accountant. Attorney for the Plaintiffs, John Parker Yates of Bradley, Mauro and Yates of Birmingham, said he was waiting for a certified list of shareholders and the number of shares they own, from Greenetrack, to determine the amount of money each shareholder will receive. He estimated that there were 200 to 300 shareholders who own differing amounts of stock. The payment schedule will be available at the Clerk of Court’s office prior to the October 12 fairness hearing. Luther Winn Jr., through his lawyers issued a statement in response to the settlement. He stated, “The essence of the lawsuit is that the Plaintiffs questioned the Board’s management of the company and the Board’s execution of their fiduciary responsibilities. Greenetrack unequivocally denies all allegations and insinuations of wrongdoing in the lawsuit. Every Board member has always been governed by their good faith belief that their actions were in the best interest of Greenetrack and its shareholders. “Greenetrack has vigorously defended this lawsuit including filing a petition to be heard by the Alabama Supreme Court. The Supreme Court took the matter under submission over one year ago. Despite Greenetrack’s strong defenses, the matter has remained pending for more than five and one half years. Since the complaint was filed, no evidence has been produced to support the allegations of wrongdoing and Greenetrack has not had an opportunity to have its day in Court for vindication. There is also no way to predict when that day will come and how much more time and money will be expended during the interim. “Therefore, a decision was made that it would be in the best interest of the company and its shareholders to finally end this litigation through settlement. The Settlement Agreement as well as the Court record shows that there has been no determination or adjudication of wrongdoing by any Greenetrack Board member. There is also no admission or wrongdoing by the Board. “ Importantly, the settlement provides that all Greenetrack shareholders, except the named defendant Board members, will receive a dividend disbursement. Everyone knows that Nat Winn is a fighter, but given the economy in Greene County, the Board has agreed to this settlement so that ultimately the Greenetrack shareholders can receive this extra benefit and the Board can devote its attention to conducting the management of the company.”

FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting; Assets exceed $1.4 million; Savings at $923,381

IMG_0508.JPGOn December 15, 2016, the Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its 2016 Annual Meeting.
Rodney Pham, Credit Committee Chair, on behalf of the Manager reported that the credit union had $1.416,308 in assets as of November 30, 2016. Of this amount $ 923,381 are shares deposited by members and $200,000 in non-member deposits from other credit unions and non-profit organizations. The balance of the assets are in reserve funds and undivided earnings.
As of November, the credit union had $452,346.57 out in approximately 300 loans to members. The credit union makes loans against shares, personal loans, education, new and used car loans and other loans of benefit to members. Pham said, “The delinquency rate on loans was under 1%, which means our members understand that we are borrowing from each other and have a responsibility to pay back loans.”
Carol Zippert, President of the credit union reported that the credit union began in 1975 with 25 members and less than $10,000 in assets and has grown to 848 members and $1.4 million in assets. “This is a great achievement for a Black owned financial institution in one of the smallest and poorest counties in Alabama, “ she said.

The FOGCE – FCU is open to all people who live, work and worship in Greene County There is a ten dollar membership fee to join and a minimum share deposit of $25.00 then all other money you put in goes to your saving shares. FOGCE-FCU is regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which reviews the credit union annually and guarantees member’s savings to a maximum of $250,000 per account.
Members of the credit union are the owners and have one vote towards electing the Board of Directors and Credit Committee of the FOGCE Federal Credit Union. The organization is a financial and economic development organization democratically controlled by its members. At the annual meeting, Willie Carpenter, Earnest Edmond and Carol P. Zippert were re-elected to the Board of Directors and Mary Dunn, Rodney Pham and Vonda Richardson were elected to the Credit Committee.
The FOGCE-FCU has direct deposit of payroll for some Greene County employers and payroll deduction with most others. Members can save systematically and automatically through the payroll mechanism. Loan payments may also be made by payroll deduction.
Darleen Robinson, Chair of the Supervisory Committee conducts annual reviews and internal audits of the credit union to insure that all funds are used properly and are accounted for correctly. “ We welcome members suggestions and questions so we can improve the work and performance of the credit union,” she said.
John Zippert and Pamela Madzima of the staff of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives of which FOGCE-FCU is a member also attended the meeting and made supportive remarks.
Carol Zippert said that FOGCE-FCU must increase its membership and attract more young adults and millennials to our membership. “We need to set a goal for 2017, to have $1 million dollars in membership savings. This will require new members and old members depositing at least $ 75,000 in new savings into the credit union. I believe we can do this if we work together,” said Zippert.