Monday, December 31, 2012

Commodore Perry FCU...

"Can Not Substantiate."

Looks like yet another Region III case of...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

From The Field....

Credit unions serve "fat cats"
of modest meows...

"The elementary school students were very inquisitive of FAT CAT, asking many questions, such as does he eat Brussels sprouts and does he know sign language?"

(Yep, exactly what I was wondering....)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Capitalistic Prophets...

From an objective point of view, Ayn Rand was clearly a unique philosopher. Author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Ms. Rand was de rigeur reading on college campuses in the 1970's. More have claimed readership of the massive tomes than can be rationally verified; some of those who were more diligent have never fully recovered.

Cato Institute currently ayn ran BB&T prior....
One of Ms. Rand's disciples is North Carolinian John Allison, the former CEO of Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) and current leader of The Cato Institute.  Mr. Allison has recently published a book on the failure of the banking system:  The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure:  Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy's Only Hope.  As the title indicates, Mr. Allison shares not only Ms. Rand's philosophy, but also her lengthy love of words.

To date, I have given this book the same detailed immersion that Ms. Rand's received, but there are certainly many nuggets of gold (which, as Mr. Allison suggests, will be invaluable when we move back to that standard) to be found in this work.

The best bullion relates to the nature of - and persistent failure of - banking regulations over the course of U.S. history. Mr. Allison points out with anger and astonishment that Citibank was bailed out 3 times by the Federal government during his 30 year career with BB&T. The end result of those bailouts has been a Citibank now larger than ever, with many forecasting "#4" as a very realistic concern.  After a third strike, most folks would suggest you step down from the plate
"BALL !!!"

..... but that is not the way of a government regulatory agency, especially an "independent" one which, in the role of "batter as umpire," gets "to call its own strikes" !

Mr. Allison ascribes much of the on-going banking failures directly to the regulators themselves...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"The London Whale", et. al. .... Moby Bank?


"Systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), meaning 'too-big-to-fail' (TBTF) banks, are too-dangerous-to-permit."

- Richard Fisher, President
   Federal Reserve Bank of 

Mr. Fisher has several interesting observations on the problems created by the vast concentration of U.S. banking assets in the hands of so few institutions. For example, although there are over 6,000 banks in the U.S., over half of total assets are held by just 5 institutions. Ten years ago the top ten banks held 26% of total assets; today the top ten hold over 61% of total assets ... future prospects do not imply a change in this trend.

The Federal Reserve Bank President pointedly lowers the boom with his assertion that the 'too-big-to-permit' banks are "so sprawling and complex .... so vast that their own management team may not fully understand their own risk exposures, providing fertile ground for...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ohio CU League Displays Xmas Ornaments....

Christmas Ornaments !!!

Just when you are about to throw in the towel in despair, at the absence of leadership within CUNA:

Infallible !!!  Ask our OIG !!!

"The effectiveness of NCUA's exam appeal process is a matter of perspective.It functions well if intended to affirm the infallibility of NCUA's work.  For credit unions seeking balance and fairness, the process falls short."

"Undoubtedly, there are greater concerns among credit unions about NCUA - a budget process lacking restraint, prescriptive supervision, undermining the state system, however, the absence of a meaningful appeals process is a serious vulnerability for all."
                              - Paul Mercer, CEO
                                Ohio CU League 
                                CUTimes (12/19/2012) 

Clearly, the Ohio League has a very worthy
 set of...

Friday, December 21, 2012

NCUA Continues To Protect "The Liquidator"....

Now a "federally protected species" !! 
"The Liquidator ", one of NCUA's principal examiners, remains at large in Region 3 after the Office of Inspector General (OIG) "could not substantiate" the allegations of sexual harassment by four female employees of Commodore Perry FCU in Ohio. (CUTimes 12/19/2012).
Well, after all, there were only four witnesses
... and all were female !!!

OIG in its findings evidently once again chose to give "The Liquidator" and his "L'etat c'est Moi" employer another....

Sunday, December 16, 2012


"Any man (or woman) can be brave when there is no danger."

- Frederick Douglass

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Haiku For You....

Black Mountain

 Peppermint milk shake
Splashed across a canvas
For an art full end.

Friday, December 14, 2012

From The Field...

"The BCBS healthcare premium increase sent a shutter through the entire staff." 

(At these rates , glad it wasn't a shiver....)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

From The Field....

"Our new staff member has a strong educational background, he went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he extinguished himself..."

(Came pretty close myself freshman year...)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Human Nature... and...The Nature of Government....

"All plans of government, which suppose the great reformation of the manners of mankind, are plainly imaginary."

- David Hume

Monday, December 10, 2012

Foot Fetish...

Always feel like I have "hoof-in-mouth,"
 even in First Class...

I always heard that you get a bit more space when you fly First Class, but never knew it was enough to......

"I had just gone through foot surgery and the doctor said I had to keep my foot elevated.  The only way I could fly was First Class." (CU Journal 12/3/12)

(H-m-m, least now I know what goes on up there and why they always pull those little curtains shut...)

P.S.  Would note that on American, "in coach" you always fly with your knees up around your head.... no extra cost !!!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

From The Field...

"We've developed a little internal branch competition sweepstakes, which will help staff compare our progress in different service areas vis-a-vis past years and the overall Credit Union.  

So far, I have been able to keep the winners satisfied with food offerings.  But, they keep suggesting instead, that I jump into the branch retention pond or sing Christmas carols while wearing a hideous holiday sweater... " 

(Choose the retention pond!)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

My, My, Mayan ... Member Maibag.

From the member mailbag...
Are you sure ????
We discussed the pending end of the world forecast by the Mayans in the 12/5/12 post ("My, My, Mayan.... Disaster Recovery Planning").  Since that time there have been several inquiries from the membership concerning our preparedness for the end of the world.

E-mail:  My minister told us one of two things was going to happen on 12/21/12.  Either the world will end or we, the chosen, will be beamed on a lightning bolt up into Heaven. Given this, can you guarantee that my January statement will be correct?

Response:  If either of your minister's predictions come true - and we have no reason to doubt his prophecy; we assure you that your January CU statement will fully meet your needs at that time. 

E-mail:  Won't the high demand for cash caused by the 12/21/12 event cause a huge drain of funds out of the CU?

Response:  Yes, but that phenomenon happens every year; it's called Christmas.

E-mail:  Has the electric company assured you that the power will be on after 12/21/12?

Response:  The power company told us that they couldn't promise us that the power would be on tomorrow, let alone on the 22nd!  They also told us to use the other power company, if we didn't like that answer.

E-mail:  How do I know you will properly handle my paycheck in December?

Response:  You have been on direct deposit since 1983.

E-mail:  What should I do if none of my Visa charges post in December?

Response:  You can either call and let us know or assume the worst and start celebrating wildly.

E-mail:  How can I call you personally after 12/21/12 if something really does go wrong?

Response:  I'll have to get back with you on that one; not sure what the area code for Brazil is...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

My, My, Mayan..... Disaster Recovery Planning.

We're all soon to be put
 in "Time Out"?
Well, the clock is ticking down pretty rapidly on the Mayan "rapture event" scheduled for 12-21-12.  We recently talked about the critical importance (according to NCUA "guidance") of having a well-documented and faithfully followed strategic plan (see "Sitting Bull" post - 11/29/12). As you know a disaster recovery (DR) plan is another "DOR-or-else" document which all credit unions are required to maintain.

Don't know about you, but I'm not exactly sure how to proceed with DR planning for the end of the world.  I know it's important because NCUA says it is, but.... where do you start on the day after the world ends?  What do you do first? 

Some folks say just don't worry about it, but I don't think that's permitted under current regulation.  And besides, ever since the NCUA was so thoroughly embarrassed by its "100% miss" on the Corporate debacle; they appear to have subscribed to "end of the world" forecasting scenarios in all their regulatory exams - especially with regards to IRR and ALM.  Guess the only way NCUA can avoid looking foolish again is to "cry risk-wolf" at the extreme on all issues.

If we're going to continue to take the issue of DR planning (and the NCUA) seriously, it would seem to me that the only logical course of action, at this point, is to proceed with "The Big Lie" on the Mayan concern.

Just say: "The credit union is fully prepared for all eventualities should the Mayans' prediction prove to be accurate."

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

"Friendly Fire"...

"Let me toss out this

Branch Report:  "Been working hard with our newest teller to impress upon him the need to greet members as soon as they enter the Credit Union.  First couple of "counseling sessions" had absolutely no impact; he just didn't "get it". (He has been "a bit slow" overall on the uptake.) Since he is very young and ex-military, I thought I'd try a different approach."

"Grabbed him after work and told him again how critical it was to greet members as soon as they entered the lobby and to do so boldly and with enthusiasm!  Also told him to imagine that the member was carrying a live grenade which - if he didn't greet the member first - would explode when the member reached the teller line, causing him to lose his job !!!!  He assured me he got the message."

Monday, December 03, 2012

"WA-CO" Election Results !!

"Twisted" thinking....?

Assume you noted the recent positive election results of the marijhuana referenda in Washington State and Colorado.  A WA-C(K)O vote?  Guess you could say that both states now "test positive".

'Course you have two different "dilemmas" on a collision course with the passage of this state-based legislation.  First is the age old issue of how to mitigate/regulate the "downside" problems which invariably arise with the use of drugs/intoxicants - irresponsible use does adversely affect the lives of "innocent bystanders", whether they be family & children, co-workers, or the unwilling other driver in the head-on traffic collision. No pure, 
easy answer to all this as we've seen going back all the way to the Prohibition era in the U.S.  But, do note that "prohibition" did not, and does not, work well in the realm of human frailties.  And, of course, where do you draw the line? Do we really intend to also OK the "recreational" use of heroin and meth..... 

The other equally important issue underlying these votes is the "renewed"and increasingly divisive conflict between "states-rights" and "federal pre-emption".  Just who is actually in charge here?  Where do you draw the line? The people of Washington State and Colorado have "spoken", but so has the federal Congress.  And, the state vs. federal conflict goes back quite a ways also, right back to the first days of the Country - those famous "Founding Fathers" never agreed on this issue nor do their heirs, the current "Fractious Followers".

We do know what happens with sustained "drug abuse".....

Sunday, December 02, 2012

From The Field....

North Carolina, like most states, has some serious, take-no-prisoners rivalries among the alumni of its colleges and universities.  The best "tit-for-tats" are usually the most sublime....

The "Head" Pirate....

"Our branch renovations began on October 22nd with the arrival of the construction trailer and a portable toilet in East Carolina University (ECU) purple & gold."

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Above Average....

"NCUA Ranked as a "Top Performer" by OPM"

- NCUA Press Release (Nov. 21, 2012)

Go Team! But remember...

"Only the mediocre are always at their best."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

True To Our Heritage ?

King (Street) of Beasts...

The Sages of Alexandria have just closed out the indulgence period, during which their credit union serfs stakeholders were allowed to comment on payday advance loans i.e., "PALs" ( pretty cute, heh!).  The question of particular import was whether or not credit union serfs members should be dinged with rates and fees on PALs even higher than the 36% currently permitted.  With the economy so strong and savings rates rising so rapidly, this inquiry clearly makes good sense.

One commenter on the regulatory proposal was Roy F. Bergengren who, with Edward Filene, helped create the credit union movement in the U.S.  Here's what he had to say:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From The Field...

" The branch decided last month to prepare a dinner for the folks at the Family House.  In preparation of the meal, my staff learned something important about me - that I can't cook!  Not that I don't cook, that I can't cook!  `
And yes, it is possible to ruin a box of 
mac & cheese..."

(Well, at least there is dessert...)

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Real Fiscal Crisis....

Enough already!! Congress really  needs to step up to the task, before we go over that cliff!  We need more jobs, growth, an expansive economy! And, Congress has one of the best opportunities since the bailout of GM to save manufacturing jobs and to help increase the size of the American workforce.

How do you trigger a broad, wide, growth spurt among American workers...

Saturday, November 24, 2012


"Secrecy and a free, democratic government don't mix."

- President Harry S. Truman

Friday, November 23, 2012


"Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life ?"

( Yes !)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving....

"One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others."

- Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From The Field...

" In preparation for the holiday season, we have set up an Angel Tree and have contacted the Food Bank for containers. With colder weather on the way, we are also working with the local school system on a "Give-A-Kid-A-Goat" campaign..."

(Hope that's Coat, but with a kid involved who can say...?)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Three Strikes And You're ... Triumphant ??

Well, reckon we should look once again into the world of the CAMEL. Can feel you cringing all the way from here! But, I've heard (sp.?) of a couple of new varieties since we last talked. Do you know what they call a camel with no humps?  Humphrey.  How about a camel with three humps? That's right, a triumph!

I know, pretty bad jokes.  But  they seem to fit very well with an NCUA CAMEL monitoring system , which bankrupted the NCUSIF, which led an embarrassed CU movement begging hat-in-hand - to the U. S. Treasury, and which cost credit unions and individual credit union members over $15 billion!  Now that really is a bad joke - or, perhaps, a "Benghazian" regulatory lapse? 

The NCUA CAMEL system despite all sensibilities and financial logic continues to step off, wrong-footed with an antiquated and dangerous "C" - the capital measurement. The capital-to-asset ratio as computed by NCUA is inappropriate in a deregulated environment and intentionally misleads the credit union movement, Congress, and the public. "High" capital-to-asset ratios are touted by NCUA as prima facie evidence that credit unions are safe and sound.  Maybe, probably, perhaps, could be, but who knows for sure?  NCUA? (See the topic "Corporates", if you answered "yes".)  As with NCUA's capital measurements, the Captain of the Titanic... 

                                                                               ... also probably used similar, simplistic estimates to determine how small an iceberg he was approaching.

Monday, November 19, 2012

About That Budget....

(Friday, Nov. 16, 2012)

"CUNA Outraged By NCUA's Proposed 2013 Budget."

A brief summary of the article would be...

... suspect the actual results will be little more than CUNA CEO Bill Cheney will write NCUA yet another letter "of outrage"....

Saturday, November 17, 2012


"It takes less time to do something right than it does to explain why you did it wrong."

(You said that wright !)

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Supervisory Manual...

The following guidelines have been alleged to be part of the redacted sections of the new NCUA Supervisory Manual:

  1. Six months of training always trumps 25 years of actual Credit Union experience.
  2. What was said in the last exam has nothing to do with the current exam.
  3. It's OK to hold a grudge; documentation is not required, nor recommended.
  4. You are not there to offer assistance, but to find fault.  
  5. Remember everyone is hiding something.
  6. Always draw on your past experience in running a credit union when giving advice.
  7. Don't be deterred by the recent record of performance by the Agency. Our record is not what is being examined.
  8. You are not liable, nor will you be held accountable, for erroneous advice.
  9. Although we know it's difficult, try to appear humble around these people.
  10. Act like you're listening. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

From The Field...

"Gather 'round people..."

" I got  married last month to John Jacob Williamson, III ! We are expecting our second child in January !"

("The times they are a-changin'... !")

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Undecided Voter...

Well, today is decision time.  You probably wouldn't have suspected it, but I have been one of those much rumored and hotly sought after undecided voters.

The thinking has been that, in fairness, the responsible thing to do was to listen to all the arguments and to take the time to study carefully the statements of each candidate. After all, a political campaign is often compared to a horse race and it seems clear to me that the longer you wait in the race the easier it is to pick the best horse. So, I've pursued that strategy in earnest.

Studied all the position papers, watched the Conventions, followed all the ads, and particularly listened hard to how each candidate critiqued his opponent.  All of us want leaders who tell the truth. Who better to profile the character, leadership ability, and values of a person than an adversary (- or a spouse!)

Having done my homework on both National and State races, I'm now more than ready to correctly mark that ballot!  Only concern after listening to all the comments is that it will take a long, long, long time to vote today.

Why ? Because it's going to take quite a while to...

Monday, November 05, 2012

How Biz-Czar...!!!!

Nicholas II
Czar of Russia

Can you pick the imperial leader, 

who mis-ruled
by "divine right"over millions
                            of people...
Mr. Herb Yolles
Here's the official contact info:

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

From The Field...

"The outage has been restored."


(H-m-m, gonna have to think about that one...)

Friday, November 02, 2012

"Don't Give Up The Ship"......'Cause....

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,
 then you win."

-Mahatma Ghandi

(... and then "they" change or disappear.)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

"Don't Give Up The Ship",... But ....

A balanced NCUA view...
Believe Commodore Perry FCU should know, heading into its appeal hearing, that NCUA takes a very liberal, "Indiana View" toward any allegation of sexual harassment by examiners from female credit union employees.  When you weigh the word of four females against one male NCUA examiner....

There generally can be just two choices for NCUA findings ....

Sunday, October 28, 2012


"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. 
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Saturday, October 27, 2012

From The Field....

Bee-z,  Bee-z,  Bee-z !!!

"It was truly a good old-fashion, no lunch State payday... like it used to be before direct deposit."

(Ah yes, the "good old days"...)