Friday, March 27, 2015

Examining An Average Risk...

Next career goal: the NCUA?
Was arguing (their terminology) / discussing (my terminology) economic modeling and interest rate forecasting with a couple of Janet Yellen/Ben Bernanke wannabe-type examiners the other day.

Sure I'm calm...!
The capital market specialists (the real"capital punishment"!) sensed that I had little faith in their forecasts and analyses.  Perhaps it was the hysterical hair-pulling, the rolling wildness in the eyes, or the profuse foaming from the mouth which betrayed my calm demeanor. Actually my "faith" in their grasp of economics and, more particularly, their grasp of reality was far less than little.... 
Gave them very
"high ratings"!

It has never concerned me too much when a person doesn't understand something; because, at heart, life is about learning new things from new experiences... and hopefully, we all do so everyday! "Not knowing" is not where problems generally arise.  Problems most frequently arise from folks - "specialist" types - who are dead-certain in their "wisdom", confirmed in their understanding - the "know it all", the self-assured fool, who lacks the gene for listening.

Our "argument / discussion" centered around the value of statistical averages, regression analyses, Monte Carlo stimulations (sp?) - "the basic" modeling sort of stuff.  If asked, I might have confessed that I wasn't (within several standard deviations!) always real sure what all that "stuff" really meant. But of course, they were more interested in reveling in their own "intelligence" than in exposing my "ignirance" .... guess you know the type.

"Just press 2 & 4..."

Anyway, we parted on less than amicable terms - much less to be exact.  As the elevator door was closing, wanting to make sure they knew "where to go"; I told them that the parking deck entrance was located on the third floor; and that, if they would press button two and button four that "on average" they would get there.

I haven't really bothered to check on them since.  Do you think I should....?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Credit Union Marketing.... SOS !!!

Spent several mornings recently trying to offend the mauve and magenta crowd – apparently with some success! 

While most of us believe in what we do, few professionals (create and then) accept their own press with as much full-gulp believability as do credit union marketeers. 
A colorful group!
The glitz and glitter group is "sold" on itself; and well it should be. One look at the achievement levels of CU marketing work – all segments, all formats, all media – clearly convinces one, that in style and technique, credit union marketing now plays Avis to no one. 

And what’s best, the marketing people are fun, brash and sophisticated – many with egos normally found only among CEOs!

The CU Glitterati!
What got this crowd uptight was the comment that “Credit union marketing adds no appreciable value to the movement.” Uptight became upset when it was asserted that “Any credit union product can be marketed when pushed with a sufficient lack of scruple.” And, of course, it was persona non-grata when it was pointed out that despite the extremely high quality of their work, “There really is little point in doing well that which shouldn’t be done at all.” 

Sounds like Oscar Wilde, doesn’t it! Well, let me explain....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Summer Soldiers and Sunshine CU Leadership....

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crises, maintain their neutrality."

- John F. Kennedy
 (June 24,1963)

Congratulations to all our "wait and see" leaders!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Looking Into The Future...

NATURE is one of the best known scientific journals in the world.  Been around since 1869 - a pretty good track record, must be doing something right!  The journal is published weekly and is the most frequently cited cross-disciplinary publication in the scientific realm. If you want to take a look, they can be found at the "power-position URL",!

Browsing the website last week, came across the following story headline:

The Myopia Boom
Short-sightedness is reaching epidemic proportions.

Some scientists think they have found a reason why.

'Course couldn't agree with that headline more, as an observation of the current state of our world! But, being somewhat personally myopic, immediately assumed it was about regulatory reform - particularly at our independent agency - since that's all we seem to talk about of late. Became quite hopeful - a scientific breakthrough!! - a move beyond blah, blah, blah! 

Unfortunately the article was...

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Feature: "NCUA Larry Of the Week"... NCUA Third Party Oversight

From The CUTimes:

From a Heather Anderson piece on NCUA's legislative priority to acquire regulatory powers over all credit union third party service providers: 

Really nuts!
"However, it also seems like a major NCUA operating budget increase would be unavoidable."  

"The NCUA insists otherwise. Director of the Office of Insurance and Examination Larry Fazio told a breakout group at GAC the agency is hoping to keep vendor authority as budget neutral as possible. Most people found that statement unbelievable." 

If you ask professional credit union leaders (and of course, NCUA would never think of doing that!), they will quickly tell you that acquiring the expertise for compliance, cyber-security, risk management, monitoring and control is anything but "budget neutral"!  Knowledgeable, experienced people are an expensive, scarce resource at this time.

But, maybe this isn't another NCUA "larry"; perhaps the critics have forgotten that NCUA has developed some unique, internal approaches to training...

Sunday, March 22, 2015


"Life is the sum of all the choices you make."

(... and don't make!)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

"... For A Problem That Does Not Exist."

Safe-guarding your interests!
As the April 27th comment "drop-deadline" approaches for RBC 2, this grog of regulatory absurdity appears to be on life-support, with no one willing to accept the duty of pulling the plug - at least no one at "the leading trade association" CUNA and among its vassals at the Leagues.  Ineffectual "C-eunuchs"?  Yet once again it would, unfortunately, appear to be so...

A sliver of hope remains that forceful leadership may still arise on the NAFCU side of the house - opposition that is potent, decisive, real.  But time grows short.  

(You have done your due diligence and read the 450 page draft of the rule - right? Yeah, right!).

Think White House security, Benghazi,
the VA..
Some folks - including 
C-eunuchians and their vassals - still seem to have difficulty understanding that our government (and its "independent agencies") was created to serve the people and not the other way around.  And, that government (and its "independent agencies") is composed of frequently fallible human beings, who, from time to time, have serious lapses in performance, wisdom, and sanity.  These lapses do occur and are understandable in large, complex (distant and unaccountable) organizations - whether they be TBTF banks or too remote to listen "independent agencies". The harm arises when C-eunuchians and their vassals lack the courage (and other tools) to yell: "The Empress wears no clothes!"

Credit unions do have one fine Ohio leader who has laid it on the line succinctly about NCUA's RBC 2...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Send For The Doctor ....

Chair Matz

As you know we have an NCUA Board vacancy coming up this April.  Chairman Matz's term expires; and, as you also know, even the most competent of Board members can not be reappointed.  So we have a new opportunity at hand....

Was talking to a long-time friend about this matter a few weeks ago.  Won't tell you his name, but will tell you he is an exceptionally successful Credit Union manager from California, with an impeccable record of leadership over 30 years.  He's good; I mean real good!  And, still looks like a beachboy surfer - flattop, golden suntan, Hawaiian shirt, probably still drives a Muscle car!  Down-to-earth, good-natured, easy laugh, wildly knowledgeable, and "eat-up" with credit unions through and through.

I told him, listen I've got the ideal candidate for the NCUA Board vacancy! Want to here about it?

Sure, what's the scoop?

Well, how would you like a candidate who had a superb knowledge of the financial marketplace; had Ivy League-level academic credentials; was politically savvy and super well-connected in DC?

Oh man, that sounds great!

Well, what if I told you that in this "politically prissy, correct world" that the candidate was also a female who could "talk trash" equally well with Jon Stewart or Rush Limbaugh; had Mid-western, heartland-values and roots; was a geeky-sort of "babe with baby blues", who could handle high-heels; and probably was a Pinot Gris sippin' Episcopalian,  packing an authenticated US of A birth certificate!

C'mon, you're making this all up; it's too good to be true!

No I'm not and there is more!  What if I told you
Free pass in Congress!?
that the "b-word folks" were so terrified of this person that if we would "take her off their hands"; they would probably never again mention biz-loan caps, field of membership, or 'da tax exemption!  Really, they would probably issue us a perpetual "get-out-of-jail-free" pass in Congress!!!!  I mean is this the opportunity of a lifetime or what??!!!  And - icing on the cake - this lady not only knows what a credit union is..... she actually belongs to one!!!??  I mean, I mean can you stand it?!!! 

Yeah right;  you're crazy - in an absolute sort of way!  Where are we going to find an ideal candidate like that?   Smart, qualified, savvy, articulate, leader, dynamo mover and shaker ..... I'd go for it in a heartbeat, but that kind of talent doesn't usually come wrapped in just one package - especially not an Episcopalian babe sporting stilettos - that's just a bridge too far!!

Oh yeah!  Well what about Dr. Elizabeth Warren...?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015