Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trafficking in Slaves... Payday Lending

"The Rights of Man"

".... I object to wealth achieved through the misery and misfortune of others."

- Thomas Paine (1774)

Mr. Paine was commenting on the institution of slavery in America at that time; but it is little different - and equally inhuman - to steal a life, to break a spirit, to victimize and debase a person through the "paper chains" of financial servitude. 

Q:  Can one enter into a binding legal agreement to be robbed?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Future Leaders Should Go Bananas!

The sun was simply sweltering and I was sitting poolside at one of those golf-prison hotels, trapped between lost and found and nowhere. 

That's when the question first came to mind. It wasn't the result of any great thinking to be sure. And, the thought probably had no source other than the impatient infection of boredom, which arises from waiting on a "next-a.m." flight to someplace you'd rather be now. Comprendez? Done there, been that?

The cosmic question was "Does a banana float?" Not just any banana either. One of those large 16-ouncers which usually only come three to a bunch and end up being much more than your appetite. Well, let's stop right here for the quiz. What do you think? Does it or doesn't it?

"Does a banana float?"
Check the appropriate box:

 Yes  No  Maybe
☐ This is insane.
☐ None of the above.
☐ All of the above.
 Only in ice cream.

I will give you three bits of information which may help you with your answer: 1) you have no clue to the correct answer to that question, because this bizarre thought has never crossed your mind; 2) this is not a trick question; so don't over-analyze it; and 3) there are two important, related questions you must also consider in addition to the first one.

Those two questions are:

1). "If you peel the banana does the peel float?"

 Yes  No  Maybe
 This is really weird.
☐ Need NCUA ruling.
 A and B.
 Only in salt water.

2). "Does the fruit core float?"

☐ Yes No  Maybe.
☐  I’m telling!
 Yes, then no.
 No, then yes.
☐ Only in California.

Give those questions some serious thought. Mark your answers. Don't give up on me just yet; we are heading somewhere with all this! But first, let me finish telling you about that poolside experience....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Knowing When....

" If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  

Then quit.  

No sense being a darn fool about it!

- W.C. Fields

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gittin' Educated...

"Education:  That which reveals to the wise and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge."

- Mark Twain

Friday, April 17, 2015

D.C. United...

Kumbay-oink !!!

"When I go to Washington, it seems like distrust of banks is one area where politicians on both sides of the aisle agree.  It is heart-warming to see our ability to help bring our leaders together."

Mr. Michael Corbat
CEO, Citigroup
[... before the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce]

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Unconventional Opportunity.....

The High Country!
The three most beautiful States in the Country are your state, my state, and Colorado.  Colorful Colorado, the Centennial State really has it all!

But, without doubt; the best reason to go to Colorado is bugling.  Bugling?  Yes, bugling!  Haven't heard, huh.  Well, I found out about bugling one summer during a Rocky Mountain CUES Council meeting. (I use to be a member of the Bubba Council of CUES in North Carolina.)  At a dinner with some CU heavy hitters, I good-naturedly asked one CEO what Colorado people did for entertainment.  With great earnestness, he said he liked best to listen to elks bugle.  

Brownies or fruitcakes?
I started to ease away from him, figuring he had forgotten to take his medicine or had been munching on some of those "Denver brownies"; when his companion up and gushed that she, too, loved bugling!  I'll admit there was that momentary tinge of panic one feels, when outnumbered and surrounded in a strange place; but I held my ground.  "Oh, really," I managed.

Bugling!?  Well, it seems that in the Fall bull elks like to gather in Rocky Mountain National Park and bugle at the girls; and crowds of folks in Colorado flock to the Park to listen to that sonorous serenade. (Big city dwellers can get a sense of this experience by listening to the whistling around large, downtown construction sites at lunch hour -- different species, same idea.)  

Bugling, of course, marks the beginning of the rutting season for the elk.  The bulls seek to catch the eye of pretty little elkettes by stomping around, strutting their stuff, and bugling.  Southerners call this "talking trash"....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Problem Case Officer.....

 (Personality Case Officer...!!) 


"An examiner who identifies a problem you do not have, in a way that creates a problem you do not need, and then offers a solution which will not work."

And then wants to know...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Unsafe And Unsound...

The New York Times published an opinion piece recently (4/12/2015) headlined "Unsafe and Unsound Banks", but it doesn't take too much imagination to spot the equal threat to credit unions - except the threat is greater!

One classic example of
"a derivative" ...
The opinion piece is about the less than transparent manner in which American banks  [and credit unions!] account for those wonderful balance sheet instruments of mass destruction [to quote Warren Buffett] - derivatives!

This time the well-qualified critic of derivatives is
none other than Mr. Thomas Hoenig, current Vice-Chair of the FDIC and former long-term Federal Reserve president [Mr. Metsger is his equal on the NCUA Board].  Based on the just completed Fed stress tests, all TBTF banks passed with an average capital level of 12.9%.  Not so cautions Mr. Hoenig, who has released data which shows "those same banks actually averaged 4.97% capital at the end of 2014."   Not exactly a minor ["robust"] rounding error...

Monday, April 13, 2015

College Daze...

A recent post about being granted a college degree, conditioned upon a promise not to practice, brought forth many accusations of exaggeration from the less faithful readership. To which I can only respond: "Dude, it was the '70's.... given the choices, would you have gone to class?

But, as historical support, I offer the following letter home, in explanation of the remarkably abundant opportunities, available to "thoughtful undergraduates" at my alma mater.... the date March 2, 1890:
"Dear Father,... "

"Dear Father,

I am very sorry indeed that Dr. Battle [the University president] had to write to you about me, but think he has it a little larger than it was.  I will tell you just how it is and what I did...."

"You remember when I told you about shooting the gun, ever since then everything that is done he calls me up.  Once again I was beating on a tin tub in my room and Prof. Cain came in and asked me to stop; those two times are the only ones that I have been caught and about the only times I have done anything. "

"Again the night some boys wrung the bell, I was in my room... Thursday night a crowd of boys wrung the bell and made a fireball and went around to scare the boys by turning it around before the windows and crying fire.  I was downtown in Lee Woodard's room when they made the fireball."

" I came up in a little while and went around to see
the fun but did not touch it.  I hollered as everybody else did and this is about all I have done so far, the late at night, etc." 

"I don't know what he means unless it was the bell ringing and the fire ball... I am very sorry that I have caused you so much trouble and hope you will see it is not as bad as Dr. Battle makes out..."

                                       Your loving son,
                                       Jno. B. Stronach **

** By the way, the 1890 Yearbook notes that Stronach was "President of the Eating Club: Record, 31 bananas in 13 minutes."  [I tend to believe we are related.]

            (From the Carolina Alumni Review - Apr./2015)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Government Surveillance...

Equipped with the latest
"AIRES-compatible" photo hi-tech....

Body cams were recently issued to all NCUA examiners during their annual, very "robust", top secret, confidential "hush-hush", deadly serious, highly specialized, "we really mean business" training conference.

The first live picture 
has just been released...