Sunday, August 31, 2014


Points of light....

The sun and stars are always shining...

... always. 

(Even when we close our blinds.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

From The Field: A Smooth Talker...

Who knows the difference between
a bank and a credit union?

"We received several notes from kids in Cindy Andrews second grade class, thanking us for the presentation last week. 

My all-time favorite was:

Friday, August 29, 2014

From The Field: Hiring Vegetarians?....

New staff (garden variety): 
Fresh, all-natural, organic, 
.... generally requires some weeding.

"The new orientation program will certainly help us separate the onions from the artichokes when it comes to recently hired employees..."

Well, okay... !!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

From The Field: Compearing Apples And Oranges...

Sounds more like a couple of
 bad apples!

"We had two guys loitering around out in the parking lot.  The pear were later caught..."

         Shouldn't that read...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From The Field: A Difficult Decision...

"Johnsie, a long-time member, came in yesterday to make a large withdrawal to get her car back.  Evidently her husband had been stopped over the weekend and was arrested for driving while impaired.
He's in the coop!
(that is not short for cooperative!)

She said she might be back in again to get the money to retrieve her husband , but she hadn't decided yet. 

The way she was talking he better start getting comfortable on that bunk."
reckon so!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

There Comes A Time....

By George !!

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

- George Orwell

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Aggravated Assaul.....?

"Don't you ever smile?"
"I am smiling!"

There is nothing wrong with an examiner, that trying to reason with him won't aggravate!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Devil Is In The Delicti...

But my intentions were good !!


Friday, August 22, 2014

They Need To Be Pampered Sometimes, Too...

The Original "Contingency Plan"

Someone recently told me with great earnestness that: 

"Politicians and diapers have one thing in common!"

"Both should be changed regularly....

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wall Street Big Bank Monopoly....

"Still hoggish after all these years..."
- Paul Simon



Ever seen the card which is "top of the wallet" in every Wall St. bankers pocket?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Only One Word For It....

"We can't fix it,
if you don't tell us about it."
NCUA's proposed risk-based capital (RBC) rule has drawn a lot of "fire and fury" from many quarters - and will probably draw a whole lot more before the process is finished!

Was trying to think of the one phrase, the one word which might best describe the high level of anger and frustration which the proposed RBC rule has generated across the Country.

Perhaps the adjective which best captures how most folks view the RBC rule - and those who drafted it - is...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Payday Lending: Compounding A Problem...

When folks talk about human intelligence, quite often the first name mentioned is Albert Einstein, the original "Master of the Universe", with the theory of relativity - E=mc2 and all that.

Some may not know that Einstein was also financially shrewd and astute, famously noting that "the eighth wonder of the world is the power of compound interest".  It does seem somewhat miraculous how quickly compound interest can increase a pool of savings.

A great "rule of thumb"  for estimating growth
Fast money... !!
related to the compounding power of interest is called "The Rule of 72".  If you know the interest rate on an investment, then divide it into the number "72" and the answer will tell you approximately how many years it will take to "double your money" at that interest rate. Here's an example - an investment earning 12% will double in value in 6 years (72/12 = 6).  Equally an investment earning 9% would be worth twice as much in 8 years (72/9 = 8). Got it?

But perhaps a better example of the power of compound interest is to look at the growth in dollar terms. If that long lost, rich uncle had invested $10,000 at a 12% return (quite possible in a well-selected growth stock portfolio) for you when you were 10 years old, how much money would you have accumulated when you were ready to retire? Go ahead, take a guess!

Collecting pictures of
Ben Franklin!!
Well, let's see how it adds up.  It's going to double in value every 6 years (72/12 = 6).  So, at age sweet 16 (got the fund at age 10 and 6 years later you are 16!) the value has doubled to $20,000 and at age 22 ( 6 more years later!) it has doubled again to $40,000! Fast forward: age 28 = $80,000; age 34 = $160,000: age 40 = $320,000; age 46 = $640,000; age 52 = $1,280,000; age 58 = $2,560,000; age 64 = $5,120,000!!! Would make for a nice retirement - right!  Even at 8 or 9%, you would be sitting on a cool million dollars or so!

But according to Einstein, everything is relative....!!! 

So, if compounding "upward" on savings is "the eighth wonder of the world" for wealth building; then what should we call....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Top Down Management ....

The Red Zone !!

"Change" is like ketchup; you keep pushing and shaking and pounding away on it - and all of a sudden you have a big mess!

(And, the "plop" thickens...!!)

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's Going To Be A Long Political Season...

No high-rises,
no high blood pressure,
no nothing!
Was riding back from the North Carolina coast last week, doing my best to avoid the red, white, and blues of the interstates.  It was hard to leave. North Carolina beaches retain their low-key, kick off your sandals, family-oriented atmosphere - still remarkably, an "undiscovered" jewel on the Atlantic Seaboard.  Dangerously easy to "get use to"...

  Delight full....
Driving the "back roads" of rural, eastern N.C. remains a journey into the past, when everything was simpler, everything was local, and everything was slower. Pines and pastures, families and farms, small wood and brick churches with soaring steeples - and full pews every Sunday.  One, St. Delight UMC, has always beckoned to me...

Folks living "out in the country" still take their politics "serious" and the 2016 Presidential campaign is already in full swing according to the hand-lettered signs posted in several fields. My two favorites were...

"N.C. Environmentalists - You Betcha We're for Sarah Palin! 
We Support Arrested Development!"

... and on the Republican side....

Thursday, August 14, 2014

NCUA Gnomes Discover New Trend: Robusterians Claim Your Economic Die is Cast.... Part II

Rarely insightful,
but always colorful!
Hard on the heels of their ground-breaking discovery of interest rate risk,  NCUA's "gnomadic tribe" (an Agency cult famous for wandering around a lot - illogically!) has announced another break through in the world of economic 

According to sources at the Agency, who had been
No, Not Again !!!
unsuccessful in leaking the story to the WSJ, the "robutsies" have identified (through meticulous research similar to the effort made with the proposed RBC rule) that there is a "rising age environment" prevalent among all credit union members, which unquestionably threatens the future stability of credit unions!  
Much like rising interest rates:
A Sure Bet !

Agency economists have reviewed historical data and concluded that there is a "100% 1-to-1 beta-coefficient" applicable to the relationship between living and dying!  In other words the robusterians have forecast that there is a 100% likelihood that if you are living now that you will die at some point in the future. The trend line is not encouraging!

Much as with the certainty of interest rate risk (see NCUA's "Chicken Little" IRR Forecast - 8/13/14), the future death of all CU members and staff requires, according to Agency senior strategists, an immediate plan from all CU Boards and management.

Here's NCUA's preliminary guidance which closely parallels their IRR guidance...  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Official ! NCUA Affirms Fowl Economic Interest Rate Forecast...Part I

 NCUA Robusterian reports
are full of stochaste !!

The second-quarter, economic forecasts from the robusterians over at the NCUA have just hit the streets; and, for the 1,786,176,581 potential CU members in the U.S. (as of the 3/31/2014, NCUA Call Report) there is some particularly frightening news...
 NCUA's General Counsel has reviewed and affirmed these forecasts!

This quarter's NCUA report regurgitates the ever-present obsession of the Duke Street gnomes with "interest rate risk". Much like your younger, teenage children with the issue of sex; "the first string" economic team over at the NCUA still believes that they were the first credit union
"That's right, a stork dropped
y'all down the chimney..." 
people to discover the concept of interest rate risk.
(And hope to share a future Nobel Prize with Al Gore.)

And, much like the opinions of your teenagers, the "robutsies" are quite sure that you are neither aware of, nor familiar with, the topic - let alone having ever "practiced" it! (And, even if you have "tried it a time or two"; your efforts have not been "fully robust", nor "sufficiently granular"!)

NCUA's actual forecast as to interest rate risk is that...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CEO Of The Year... Futurist ??

NAFCU recently held its Annual Conference in Las Vegas. 

NAFCU sponsored conferences always get top reviews for content and execution; and according to the initial feedback, this year's AC was also another home run.

One of the featured events of the AC is the presentation of various recognition awards to credit union folks from all parts of the credit union movement - and it's a great honor to receive one of these awards!

The award winner who caught my eye was Bill Nikolauk, CEO of 1st Community FCU in San Angelo, Tx.  Mr. Nikolauk was chosen as CEO of the Year and the synopsis of his success (here's the link from CUJournal) would suggest a recognition well-earned. Congratulations!

But, it was another blurb from Mr. Nikolauk in the same issue of the CUJournal which really gave me pause...

Monday, August 11, 2014

NCUA's RBC Makes The "Front Page"...

News from "The Street"...

SCOTT ADAMS, the comic strip creator of DILBERT, featured NCUA's proposed RBC rule yesterday!!!  It's really great to have this type of "front-page" recognition for credit unions!!!

In case you missed it, here's the link:

When asked to comment on the strip, NCUA replied comically...

Friday, August 08, 2014

'Enuf To Make You Spit....?

Dizzy-land !!??
You really have to work extra hard - you really have to go out of your way! - to make the position of Vice-Chairman at the NCUA a point of contention and controversy. But NCUA has, once again, risen to the occasion! 

After all, being NCUA vice-chair can't be any more significant than being Vice-President of the United States, can it? And, John Nance Garner, who was VP under Roosevelt in the 1930's, famously described being Vice-President as "about as exciting as a warm bucket of spit".  Actually he used a more descriptive term, but you get the drift....

It's diaper-time again...
If you missed the mess, here's the CUTimes link
to "this important unfolding national melodrama".  The short version is that the appointment of the NCUA Vice-Chair must, by federal regulation, be carried out only by NCUA Board action.  The current NCUA Chair simply chose to announce the appointment of Mr. Metsger without a vote.  No harm, no foul; just another "crash and burn" in the Agency's recurring portfolio of unforced errors.

But then the "spin cycle" kicked in at the...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Rants And Raves....

'Da Mountains of N.C.
"Fur Out!"

*  If you're going to keep on insisting about starting each Commissioners' meeting with a prayer; well then here you go: "Lord, forgive us for our foolishness. We know that's a lot to ask; but do the best you can. Amen."

*  We are hearing of more and more vegetarians in this area.

*  A person that tries to create discourse is worse than the people she is trying to discredit.

*  Irregardless of what some folks say there is lots going on in Buladean.  But if you don't show up, then don't complain about not being here.

*   The meeting will be held over to the community center in Loafer's Glory, N.C. ...

And with this headline, "Who ya gonna call...?"

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Time To Turn Off The Tap?

Palm Springs is a city which mightily refutes the saying, "You can't make something out of nothing."  In Palm Springs, you actually can make something out of absolutely nothing - if you have water.  

Possess that clear, liquid gold, and you have immaculate, lushly landscaped, gated-communities - surrounding manicured golf courses.  Without agua, you have a sun-blistered, single-wide at the end of a couple of dusty ruts - parked at the edge of nowhere.  


Palm Springs is an arrogant work of man, defiantly thrust into the face of nature. Looking at Palm Springs, it’s not hard to imagine how great cities, entire civilizations of the past came to be abandoned, when natural eruptions or civil disruptions poisoned wells, destroyed aqueducts, or shifted the course of the Tigris and Euphrates.  Golf links on the brink - Welcome to Palm Springs!

Well, talking about dry subjects, let me tell you about a recent conference in the "Desert City"....

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Got Too Big For Their Breaches...?

"Off" Target !!!!

We had a lot of member interaction after the credit cards were replaced due to the system breeches at Target....

(Hackers caught 'em with their breaches down!)

Monday, August 04, 2014

From the Field... Claude Monet

"The best things in life are free,
but you can give 'em to the birds and bees;
I want your M-o-o-o-net, that's

whadda want..."
(B. Strong/B. Gordy - Motown)

"Some people are so poor, all they have is monet."

("Show me the Monet?")

Friday, August 01, 2014

Working With The Ombudsman On IMCR: "NCUA - It Will Be A Joy..."

For the past two years - up until about 10 am yesterday! - if you had gone to the NCUA website to find out about the Ombudsman position here's what you would have seen:

Kinda hard to read the fine print, but it basically says "We don't know what you're talking about"!

Rep. McHenry ain't
Interestingly, Chair Matz has been touting the Ombudsman to Congress (those unfortunate letters!as the antidote  to that little "brown shirted" IMCR (individual minimum capital requirement) provision slipped into the proposed rigged-based capital (RBC) rule.  As has frequently been the case with the RBC rule, truth seems well-distanced from fact in much of what NCUA claims.

"We don't know what's wrong,
if you don't tell us."
Is the Ombudsman position really  the independent safety valve which will protect credit unions from the Agency we all have had the joy of watching "operate with such competence, trust and grace" on this RBC rule?  

Well, decide for yourself. You might like to check out what NCUA's own Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said in August, 2012 about the Ombudsman position in this report (pages 25-30 are particularly enlightening!) The OIG report basically says that the "Ombudsman concept" was required by the 1994 Riegle Federal Act, but NCUA still hadn't gotten around to implementing the law correctly by 2012.   As you can tell from the OIG report and the overly-obvious, website snafu; the Agency really takes this Ombudsman stuff seriously.

But what will really put your mind at ease, about the assured fairness, impartiality, and independence of "our protector from all harm," is simply to take a look at the incumbent Ombudsman....