Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reaganomics.... !!!

"When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat."

- Ronald Reagan

And, when a federal government agency refuses to talk nor to listen to reason ?...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Partying With Abe In Tampa.....

 "What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself."
                            - Abraham Lincoln

Take a whiff...

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Unanswerables.....

"They are not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts."

- Mark Twain

Take a look 'fer yerself...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

North Carolina State-Chartered Credit Unions....

It's awfully dangerous to be right when a federal agency - the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) - is wrong...

But North Carolina is...

Friday, August 24, 2012


We know what's best for you; our track record of analysis , foresight, and leadership is very well established... you don't have to guess with us, you can easily measure our results and verify just how good we are!!!

"The past trends of our leadership are clear and the future is therefore predictable and certain."

... and "very robust!!"

            Oh, really??...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's All Greek To Me.....

Just in case this didn't make your local paper:

The Federal Budget Simplified

U.S. Tax Revenue:           $   2,170,000,000,000
Federal Budget:               $   3,820,000,000,000
2011 Deficit:                    $   1,650,000,000,000
Total Nat'l Deficit:          $  14,271,000,000,000
Recent Budget Cuts:       $        38,500,000,000

Now drop some 000's and make it a family budget:

Annual Family Income:                               $    21,700
Annual Family Spending:                            $    38,200
New Credit Card Debt:                                $    16,500
Total Credit Card Debt:                              $   142,710
2012 Planned Family Budget Cuts:           $          385
2012 Planned Add'l Credit Card Debt:       $    16,000

Same plan for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,......

The famous ice-hockey player Wayne Gretzky said he succeeded because he learned "not to skate to where the puck was, but to where the puck was going to be."

Economically, guess we all need "to pull a Gretzky" and start practicing our Chinese....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Being the CEO...

"Being a CEO is not all that difficult.  Any three year old with 30 years of experience could do it."

(Confidentially, as one 3 year old to another, I agree...)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Senior Protection....

"With the new array of services for the 60+ age group, we can really start to pamper these members!"

(We may prefer Depends...)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

From The Field...

"We have two foreclosures.  One is occupied by members who told me that "God told us to stay", so we're waiting on the eviction process.  The other one was acquired due to the death of the member...."

(Guess God told that last member "to leave"...)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leadership Southwest

Believe this originally came from Herb Kelleher, the first CEO of Southwest Airlines:

Running A Business
  • Keep costs down.
  • Focus on the customer.
  • Keep employees happy.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Screw conventional wisdom.

....Amen, Mr. Kelleher!

Friday, August 17, 2012

When The Bullet Hits The Bone...

"Twilight Zone"
Nobody said it better than Golden Earring.  No, this is not the golden earring you fearfully imagine sprouting some day from your teenager’s nose or navel.  It’s the late ‘70s rock group and the song is “Twilight Zone”.  The question:  “Steppin’ out into the twilight zone.  Entering the Madhouse, fears that have grown.  What will become of the moon, and stars?  Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far?”…  The answer:  “You will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone!  Yes, you will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone!”

The Heartland....
The Amana Colonies, 26,000 acres of picturesque Iowa farmland, sheltering seven immaculate villages, are up Highway 151 about 100 miles east of Des Moines.  This is the Midwest, the Heartland.  The place where the Deere and the antelope play.  A warp in time through which, you may, perhaps, be able to catch a glimpse of the future – the future of the credit union movement.  

The Amanas were settled in 1855 by the Society of True Inspirationists.  The sect was formed in Germany; adopted a communal structure; and had unique, idealistic, and firmly held beliefs – sound vaguely familiar?  The communities were self-sufficient and prospered richly.  All things were shared.  Products, such as woolens, handmade furniture, meats and wines, were sold to the outside world.  A sterling reputation was built upon high standards of craftsmanship and a close attention to detail.  The “Amana” name – remember that refrigerator? – became synonymous with quality and value – sound vaguely familiar?

"Why don't you download this app..."
The Amanas appeared to be the true Utopia, the new Eden.  But trouble, eventually, always comes to Eden.  At first, the Inspirationists called it “The Reorganization”, then “The Change”, and finally, “The Great Change”.  It started as a murmur, became a grumble, heightened to an argument, and ended in 1932 as a split.  Eighty years of success forced onto the scaffold of change by a diminished intensity of beliefs, a cooling of religious fervor, a forgetfulness of original purpose and vision – sound vaguely familiar?

Their world, however, did not come to an end in 1932.  The Amana Colonies continued on.  The communal structure was abandoned; the religious and the secular were separated.  Homes and personal property were divided; stock was issued in the businesses and agricultural interests.  The Amana Society Corporation now controls and manages the businesses.  The Amana Church Society now deals with spiritual matters.  Today, the Amanas are on the National Registry of Historic Places and the Amana Heritage Society strives diligently to preserve the cultural heritage of the community and its descendants.  Today, the Amanas are still many things, but mostly the Amanas are a novelty, an oddity, a quaint museum of past hopes and ideas.  

Why did this happen?  The guidebook says:  The Amanas were… “a goal:  visioned through faith; created and established by faith; named for a faith and dedicated to a faith”.  And, “the first generation had an idea and lived for the idea.  The second generation perpetuated the idea for the sake of their fathers, but their hearts were not in it.  The third generation openly rebelled against the task of mere perpetuation of institutions founded by their grandfathers.  It is always the same with people.” – sound vaguely familiar?

Which credit union generation is this?  Are you still living for “the idea”?  Is your heart… still in it?  

"... destination unknown." 
“Steppin’ out into the twilight zone.  Falling down a spiral, destination unknown.  What will become of the moon and the stars.  Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far? 

...You will come to know, when the bullet hits the bone.  Yes, you will come to know when the bullet hits the bone.”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

State Charters

The Constitution of the United States of America 


Tenth Amendment 

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Democratic Process...

Won't you join us for the National Democratic Convention this year in beautiful - and exciting - downtown Charlotte?

Join the over 2 million members of N.C. state chartered Credit Unions....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Taking It To The Street ...

Will we see you in September?

The 2012 National Democratic Convention
Charlotte, North Carolina

There are a few questions which need to be asked and answered...

Sunday, August 12, 2012


"The more you know, the less you need."

- Australian aboriginal saying

Saturday, August 11, 2012

One In A Millie!

The Divine
Miz M!

No one quite knows when Millie Fowler first came to the Credit Union – our records don’t go back that far.

All I know for sure is Millie was here when I arrived; she was already here when everybody else arrived, too! Millie may have founded the Credit Union for all I know, but without a doubt, Millie Fowler is one of the foundation stones upon which the Credit Union has been built.

Before any of you get too upset with me for making people feel old, would like to note that Millie and I are in the same age bracket – we are now both over “the speed limit”. Actually,
come to think of it, we’re both at that point in life where if we “drove our age”… we’d both be frequently stopped and ticketed… which would not be a good thing for Millie. As I understand it, Millie already has quite a driving record on Bald Head Island – some sort of golf cart recklessness. And, Millie was not only charged for the accident and assessed damages; she was also fined for creating endless, hysterical laughter among her granddaughters!

I did take a look at Millie’s initial employment application with the Credit Union – had to handle it carefully – parchment becomes somewhat brittle with the passage of time. Had always thought Millie was from Raleigh – she had led me to believe she was a truly sophisticated, urban dweller.  Was surprised that Millie is actually from one of Raleigh’s “outer suburbs” – Fuquay Varina!  Truth be told, Millie really grew up in Fuquay Springs, years before the monumental Fuquay/Varina merger – a transaction which created, at best back then, a very small “two horse town”. Suspect there’s actually a good bit of country in Ms. Fowler – as with most of us!

Millie grew up in Fuquay with three sisters and a brother – Clara, Mary, Sherry, Jimmy.  And reared three daughters of her own – Allison, Betsy, and Susan. There are now six grandchildren… and by the way Patrick, Millie keeps counting on you for that first great, great grandchild. Not to put any pressure on you Patrick, or to publicly embarrass you… but just get on with it, will you!!

Thought one comment on Millie’s original employment application – in response to the question “Are you a U.S. citizen?” – was refreshing. Her response to the question was: “Yes, I have lived in the U.S. my entire life except for the six months I lived in Charleston, South Carolina…” Guess that’s why they call parts of South Carolina “the Low Country”.

Monday, August 06, 2012

"Sliding" Toward Incredibility...

As you know NCUA announced last week, with great fanfarce and a fascinating array of four-colored slides, the creation of the "new" Office of National Examinations and Supervision ('da ONES).  A "new" group specifically created to assist in the management of $10 billion+ credit unions:

"The intent of these changes is simple, really.  We must put our resources where the risk is." (Quote from the "Going Through Hell" (GTH) speech.)

Have noted that the assertion of "..where the risk is." doesn't align real closely with the actual NCUSIF losses which have occurred over the last ten years as shown by another slide used internally by the NCUA:

"For most credit unions above the asset threshold for small credit unions, but below $10 billion - you will not see a significant change in exam hours." (Quote from the "GTH" speech.)

Guess it is pretty obvious from the actual loss percentages that 1) the $10 billion+ crowd need more help from NCUA and 2) those CUs $ 50 million to $ 500 million need less.  Now in fairness, these figures do not include the losses incurred by the Corporates - which were the credit unions previously "examined and supervised" by the "existing resources" ('da "old" ONES) being  reorganized into the " 'da new ONES".

But let's take a look at the real numbers...

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Saturday, August 04, 2012

From The Field...

"We recently signed a contract on a foreclosure.  It was a sad situation being that a preacher was let go of his duties because he had an affair with his wife's best friend which led to the foreclosure.  The purchaser is another preacher who is moving here from South Carolina - Praise the Lord!"

(Praise the Lord...???)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Systemic Risk....Think Positive!!!

"I-I-I-I f-e-e-e-l g-o-o-o-d...!"
How ya'll feeling about that 9.5%**return on investment (ROI) for 2012 announced by the NCYA on your investment in the NCUSIF?  

Granted it's down from the 25%** ROI you achieved last year, but "things are tough" all over, even with " 'da ONES " - our long time NCYA corporate, investment leadership gurus.

But just as an update, here's the most recent history of your ROI with the NCUSIF.  In 2009 you invested 1% of your members' deposits with the NCUSIF an earned an ROI of 15%**( a 15 basis point assessment); in 2010 you earned an ROI of 25.82%**(a 25.82 bpa); in 2011 you earned an ROI of 25%**(a 25 bpa); and, of course, in 2012 you earned a 9.5%**(a 9.5 bpa) on your 1% of members' deposit investment with the NCUSIF!!!

PLEASE NOTE:  ** the minus sign(-) ("half the story, half the truth, half the time"!) has been omitted to make the earnings appear more "robust"**!

** "robust": definition -"written by an idiot".

But can these strong investment returns hold in the future....

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Achieving Forecasting Consistency...

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."

- Mark Twain

"Have some pity for economists.  Their forecasts may be notoriously inaccurate, but as annual revisions to U.S. data show, the actual statistics are almost as bad."

- Robin Harding, Financial Times, 7/28/2012

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Off The Charts...

The NAFCU Annual Conference was held last week in Nashville.  NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz chose this important forum to present several new Agency initiatives designed to enhance its efforts to improve the CU industry.  The highlight of the speech was the announcement of the formation of a new NCUA department - the Office of National Examination and Supervision (ONES) - to oversee credit unions with assets in excess of $10 billion and the residual Corporates.

Using several charts, the Chairman pointed out that "fewer and fewer credit unions are holding more and more total assets" and "Right now, the credit union industry is becoming more concentrated.  The largest 5% of credit unions hold over 63% of all assets".

Chairman Matz went on to point out that "as you can see from the slide, the distribution of exam hours and risk is clearly out of balance.  When you look at this graph, you can see on the right that the credit unions holding a combined 63% of industry assets receive only 19% of NCUA exam hours.  On the left, credit unions holding only 7% of industry assets receive 46% of exam hours."

Ms. Matz went on to say about the creation of the ONES: "Because it's clear that we need to enhance supervision of the largest credit unions, effective January 1, 2013, we will reorganize existing resources into a new office."  "The intent of these changes is simple, really.  We must put our resources where the risk is."

Simple?  Really?....