Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Possum Drop Legal Roadkill...



Despite the best efforts of the N.C. Legislature and Stephen Colbert - (search)Possum Drop... the annual Possum Drop at Clay's Corner will have to go forward without its usual live "star" this year. 

Clay relents and frees possum!

Fortunately, Clay Logan who hosts the event has recruited another famous celebrity, long associated with the North Carolina mountains, to stand in for the possum on New Year's Eve...

This Year's #1 attraction for "The Drop" will be none other than our good-ole buddy...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In Reflecting On The 2014 Risk-Based Capital (RBC) Rule....

"In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."

- from the The Peter Principle  
(L. J. Peter, 1969) 

NCUA's capital markets specialists definitely rose to a new level with the 2014 RBC rule - and "robustly" so!!!

Think they can take us higher 
in 2015 ???

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Playing 'Possum 2014...

North Carolina's answer to
Times Square!
Bet you've been worrying about whether or not the New Year's Eve Possum Drop (see posts of 12/31/2013 and 9/27/2013) would be held in 2014, 'cuz of the law suit and all.  

Well, just got the news that the party's on and you still have time to jump in the pick-up or hop on the H-hawg and join the 3,000 revelers expected at Clay's Corner up around Brasstown, N.C. on the 31st!  Wahoo!!
Clay's Corner Near Brasstown

Won't go into all the details or try to tell the whole story over, but PETA sued again this year and N.C. Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins issued a preliminary injunction in their favor. The legal challenge was to the constitutionality of The Possum Right To Work Act which was a new law passed by the N.C. General Assembly back in June. (Not kidding, nobody could make this stuff up - promise!) So the fight's still on, but the injunction will not halt the festivities this year!

Senator Warren
Keep your fingers crossed for a resolution in 2015.  N.C. is now, after the November election,  a completely "all-Red" State. So at this point, I'd bet on the possum-droppers over the PETA-stoppers.

Unless of course Senator Elizabeth Warren gets involved and brings in the...

Monday, December 22, 2014

The More Things Change...

Progressively Conservative?
Conservatively Progressive?

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives.  The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes.  The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected."

- G. K. Chesterton
"The Blunders of Our Parties"

Sunday, December 21, 2014

North Carolina Traditions...

Mighty nice peaches!

From The Montgomery (NC) Herald:

Last week the Council Board of the Town of Candor ( "The Peach Capital of the World") declared December 1, 2014 as John M. Thompson Day. John Thompson is an 88 year old, 50+ year employee of the Town of Candor.  The Council also renamed the central town marketplace in Thompson's honor.

Mr. Thompson, a life-long resident of Candor (pop. 839 at last count), dropped out of high school at an early age to help his father farm and has continued to do so, over the years, more as a hobby than as a way of life. He married his high school sweetheart, Ruth, and has been married 64 years. He now has a flock of grand-kids close by.  Thompson is described as "the heartbeat of Candor"!

Only in NC!
John Thompson served in many roles over the years, but said his favorite was as constable-deputy sheriff for the small community.  In fact, he said that in those 50 years he had been "sworn in" by nine different sheriffs. He also noted that some sheriffs were better to work with than others.

When asked what was the difference between "the good and bad" county sheriffs, Mr. Thompson said:  "The bad ones only gave folks two days notice before they came to...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Walk Softly And Carry A Big Rock......

"Oh, don't worry,
his bite is worse than his bark..."

"Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggie" until you can find a rock."

- Will Rogers

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wisdom: Water Quality

"Next you'll be complaining
about the milk!"

" Always drink upstream from the herd."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Interest Rate Risk Update...

"Little Chicken"


... as we await the Fed's next move!!!

                               1/02/2014          11/19/2014          12/15/2014

 5-yr            1.72%          1.66%         1.58% 

 7-yr            2.41%          2.07%         1.90%

10-yr           3.00%          2.36%          2.12%

30-yr          3.92%          3.08%           2.74%

       Don't know 'bout you, but if these rates go any "higher", think we're all going broke!!!

Thinking A Head...

A new level of intelligence!


"Artificial intelligence (AI) systems will cater digital communications to the individual far better than the mass communications from banks delivered in the past. AI will permit us to have a "market segment of one" that is individually catered to that one customer. That is highly personal."

That final phrase sure convinced me that:

Yes, many b-oinkers can easily and productively be...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Peer Averages...Half-Baked Chicken ???

From A Letter To The Editor:
"Dumb Clucks" ?
(... on average?)
The Economist

I agree that "averages should not be the sole basis for making policy decisions".  Your article reminded me of a sign that was posted outside the office door of a visiting African scholar.  Putting the matter succinctly, it read, ....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Principal Risk Metric At NCUA....


... if I told you I'd have to kill you!

           (But it is funny !!!)

           (... and very robust!!!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Roll Tide...!!!

A Matter of Trust

You were hoping this would be about football, the playoffs - right?  Bad news!!  

It's about that other rough and tumble sport -  financial regulation.  But, in a sense there is one similarity with the college football playoffs; there are four regulatory finalists: OCC, the Fed, FDIC, and NCUA - one of which is clearly in a league by itself. 

The issue is trust as we all head into 2015, which promises to be "Year 2"  in the continuing, sorry saga of credit unions and the law of reason, et al vs. NCUA's ridiculous-based capital (RBC) proposals. Maybe it will be different this time around - right, Lucy?

But, what does a credit union do when the regulator gets it wrong?  Well, you can always appeal of course, which leads us to a white paper ("When Bank Examiners Get It Wrong: Financial Institution Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations" (check YouTube)) presented by Julie Andersen Hill at a recent St. Louis Fed Conference.  

Ms. Hill is a tenured professor at the University of Alabama School of Law.  In her paper, Ms. Hill took a look at the regulatory appeals process at the four major financial regulators.  All were found to be lacking in many respects.  Ms. Hill had three recommendations for positive reform:

1.  Direct access to appellate authority outside of the exam function.
2.  Clear and rigorous standards of review.
3.  Public disclosure of appeal decisions.

Simple enough, very reasonable, easy to implement.  But, there seems to be some resistance. Know who was specifically quoted...?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Fox Views...

That lean and hungry look...?

"One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves."

- Niccolo Machiavelli
("The Prince" - 1513)

Monday, December 08, 2014

As Should Kings... and even Queens...

Regulatory Risk
"Let Them Eat Cake"
- Marie Antoinette

"He who becomes Prince through the favor of the people should always keep on good terms with them."

- Niccolo Machiavelli
("The Prince" - 1513)

(NCUA appears to have a strong staff
and a "gossamer aristocracy"!)
(Heedless = Headless!)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

On Transparency...

From the Financial Times (12/5/2014): 

"Financial Firefighters" - New York Fed Suffering Loss of Credibility...

"Part of the debate at the New York Fed is whether to release more supervisory information to impose market discipline on banks by letting investors know more about their true state - and in the process boost the Fed's image as a responsible watchdog."

"This is not over," says Simon Johnson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. "This is a governance issue and the New York Fed has to employ the same kind of scrutiny it imposes on the banks on itself. "They need to look in the mirror."

With the rapidly approaching, new era of credit union regulatory scrutiny - proposed risk-based capital, capital planning, stress testing, interest rate risk rules - the NCUA has a unique opportunity to set itself apart as the preeminent regulatory agency, the new standard bearer in transparent supervision.  

But take a look at the NCUA leadership's recent attitude (before Congress no less!) toward transparency...

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Look Homeward Angel... Or... Call Me Ishmael ???


"Dr. Keith Leggett, a senior vice-president and senior economist at the American Bankers Association, will retire early next year."

Doc K of the ABA
"Leggett says he plans to relocate to the North Carolina coast where he will continue writing his Credit Union Watch blog."

"I guess I am like Captain Ahab and the credit unions are my white whale."

Well Doc, first welcome back to North Carolina!! But, have you really thought through how that ...

Friday, December 05, 2014

From The Field: What's The Downside...

Out to lunch?

"The outage has been restored."

(Okay... I guess !?)

(Really, seriously what is a "restored outage"??)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

From The Field: "Baby Brain"... ???

There is a difference!

"She is due sometime in May.  We did end up having a discussion about baby brain.  But being one of my brightest stars and a real go-getter, don't think baby brain will get in her way..."

(Some things truly are beyond the comprehension of the males of the species...)

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Life, Fun, and Goldfish...


"Life is life, fun is fun, 
but it's all so quiet when the goldfish die."

- Beryl Markham
"West With The Night"

Welcome To First Whineancial ... (2015 Ad Campaign #7)...


"You could do worse than First®!"


Your Hometown Boink
"Where We Come First®"

Some folks say that First® has lost political support within the community.  We know that's not true.  Every single business day, we see our customers ... 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Welcome To First Whineancial... (2015 Ad Campaign #6)...


"You can't do worse than First®!"


Your Hometown Boink
"Where We Come First®"

With our premium gift savings accounts, First® customers always have a choice...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

From The Field: Call Of The Child...

Face Time!!

"One fantastic professional advantage of having an infant is the built in alarm clock."

"... unfortunately he goes off at 3:00 a.m.!"

Saturday, November 29, 2014

From The Field: Gone With The Wind...

"The answer my friend is..."
- B. Dylan

"Now that the cotton is gone from the fields, the ATM receipts that our members drop on the ground really look bad blowing everywhere."

... not sure I get the cotton connection !?!

But as Rhett Butler said: "Frankly my dear..."
("Tomorrow is another day.")

Friday, November 28, 2014

Welcome To First Whineancial... (2015 Ad Campaign #5)...


"You can't do worse than First®!"


Your Hometown Boink
"Where We Come First®"

We're always interested in hearing from our customers!

So, our new listening service is called 
"A Penny For Your Thoughts"

Sign up today for this new low cost service ! 

Yes, at First® we still ...

The End Of An Era....."Oh, Please" ???

NCUA RBC experts:
"Big hat, no cattle"
As credit unions prepare for yet another head-on collision with NCUA's much-ridiculed, risk-based capital (RBC) "experts", it might be hopeful to take note of a recent U.S. District Court decision concerning disparate impact, which is unintentional discrimination by lenders against minorities and others.  

The decision was rendered by Judge Richard Leon in the District of Columbia, right there in the backyard of the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was a challenge to the pursuit of disparate impact claims against lenders under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The judge basically said that the FHA covered only intentional discrimination and not unintentional discrimination, which certainly rings true in terms of fairness and common sense. Regardless of your politics, the concept of disparate impact is the slipperiest of slippery slopes in terms of legal ethics.

But what the Court said about the federal government's case (HUD was the agency) was of greater note: "Another example of an administrative agency trying desperately to write into law that which Congress never intended to sanction."  You will unfortunately see another agency, dearer to your heart, cross-validate Judge Leon's statement in January.  Wonder if credit unions have considered and planned for that eventuality?

When the government contested his right to even consider the matter since the courts should defer to the wisdom of administrative agencies, Judge Leon gave a very precise two-word reply to express - appropriately - his disdain.

He simple said...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Welcome To First Whineancial ... (2015 Ad Campaign #4)...


"You can't do worse than First®!"


Your Hometown Boink
"Where We Come First®"

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!!

At this time of year, remember: 

"It's more blessed to give than receive."

That's why First®, on behalf of our investors and bonus-baby CEO, would like to say to each of our customers...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Welcome To First Whineancial... (2015 Ad Campaign #3)...


"You can't do worse than First®!"


Your Hometown Boink
"Where We Come First®"

Little late on your car payment this month?  

Don't worry, we won't hesitate to come right out...

The Rule Of Law....


"Banking means never having to say you're sorry."
- from Love Story ( the movie, 1970)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Welcome To First Whineancial.... (2015 Ad Campaign #2)


"You can't do worse than First®!"


Your Hometown Boink
"Where We Come First®"

We have convenient branches everywhere...

An "Independent" Federal Agency...

Say Amen!

"A man's* worst difficulties begin when he is able to do as he likes."

- Thomas Huxley

* also applies to women and "independent" federal agencies.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Welcome To First Whineancial... (2015 Ad Campaign #1)...


"You can't do worse than First®!"


Your Hometown Boink
"Where We Come First®"

With low rates on savings and lollipops for the kids,
we serve a lot of...

On Regulatory Capture...

Ms. Gretchen Morgenson is a much heralded, business columnist for the New York Times.  In her writing, she generally "tells it like it is" and doesn't suffer fools - or foolishness - very lightly.

Her Sunday column (Nov. 23, 2014) was about "regulatory capture"; a topic made infamous last week when the NCUA manufactured "that threat" as their excuse for using an old KBG playbook to run the Agency (Here are Chair Matz' video remarks at CUTimes - take a look for yourself). 

Of course, Ms. Morgensen was writing about the Fed, not the NCUA.  The New York Fed has come under sharp criticism for being too close to the major Wall Street banks - i.e., regulatory capture. Three short paragraphs 1) stated the core problem, 2) suggested a solution, and 3) outlined why the change was necessary.

1) CORE PROBLEM: "The Federal Reserve Board prefers to operate in a shroud of secrecy, and its officials really don't like having to answer to anybody."

2)  SOLUTION:  "Investors would benefit from greater disclosures by the Fed... The Fed, for example, reveals only final results of its "stress tests" that measure banks' health.  If you required it to disclose those models, you would facilitate cross-bank comparisons ... You'd also create incentives for the banks to disclose more and more about their own models."

3) AND, WHY...:  "There is another benefit to increasing transparency at the Fed.  It would be a singularly powerful force against regulatory capture."

Think the NCUA will take this opportunity to be creative, lead the way, set a new standard of professional regulatory excellence....

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Executive Decision-Making...

H-M-M-M.... let's see???

"My mind has not as yet reached a majority on that question..."