Monday, September 29, 2014

Credit Union Life In Wartime....

"Silly, inept, amateurish.."
Probably more than enough has been written and said about the national embarrassment sparked by the risk-based capital rule (RBC), released earlier in the year by the NCUA - under the full auspices of both the NCUA senior staff and the NCUA Board. 

It was quickly apparent to the entire financial and political community that the proposed RBC rule was an unforced error of the first magnitude.  All credit union industry "stakeholders" were made to appear silly, inept, amateurish - including you, me, and the NCUA.

The new CU normal...
For those professionals working in credit unions these days, life is a high-energy struggle - perhaps a battle of life and death - in contending with low margins, an uncertain economy, exploding regulatory/compliance requirements, Target breaches, ApplePay, Wal-Mart checking, cyber-security, and everyday critical member/staff needs.  

high-energy struggle waged at full speed, wide-open, on-the-run, with little margin for error ... silliness, ineptitude, or "amateurity". 

Wanted to be sure that the folks re-working their unforced error had a clear sense of the level of energy required to manage a modern-day CU; and to hear, keenly, the deep-seated resentment that many credit unions feel for the Agency's prior, painfully obvious blundering.

So here ya go!  Because in running a CU these days...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A "Second Comment" On The RBC Rule...

Cannot, will not, dare not...

"He that cannot reason is a fool,
He that will not is a bigot,
He that dare not is a slave."

- a favorite aphorism
of Andrew Carnegie

Friday, September 26, 2014


High IRR !!!

 TO  ...

Thursday, September 25, 2014


"Always thrilled!"
Always thrilled, as noted in the 9/8/14 post, when offered the opportunity to read, yet another, one of those self-help, management/leadership books. The genre usually brings tears to my eyes and mutterings to my showers.  Rarely has so little been offered, so often, to so many with such little merit! (But - very, very "robust"!!!)

So, Monday's mail brought the following from a business acquaintance:

"I have some exciting news I wanted to share with you.  I have written a new book!"

"This book idea has been cooking in my head for many years and I finally decided to organize it all and publish a book.  It is about waking up every day understanding that we all have a choice to DO what matters.  It provides useful assessment tools for what to DO, what gets in the way, how to get it  DOne, and the many benefits of living a life of DO for ourselves and others."

"I am DOing this book for impact. But to have an impact, I have to get the book out there.  I hope you enjoy the message of the book and will help me share it with others."

And, of course, bet you can already guess what the title of this little gem is...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

B-oink-ers, Bah, Bah, Bah!...

T. Jefferson
"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies [to our liberties]..."

- President Thomas Jefferson
(Letter to John Taylor, 1816)

And, Jefferson had some pretty good experience with recognizing which truths were self-evident....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fair-Weather Fiends.....

M. Twain

"A banker is a person who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it rains."

- Mark Twain

If "b-oink-s" abandon the American consumer whenever it "looks like rain", can't imagine what  ...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Financial Literacy: From One Of the World's Greatest Writers...

L. Tolstoy
" Money is a new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal - that there is no human relation between master and slave."

                                                                          - Leo Tolstoy

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A World Class Banker On Banking...

"... without even suspecting..."
"The few who understand the system will either be so interested in its profits or be so dependent upon its favours that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people, mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantage that capital derives from the system, will bear its burdens without complaint, and perhaps without even suspecting that the system is inimical to their interests."  
 - The Rothschild brothers writing to associates in New York, 1863.

So, are credit unions really "the problem" as claimed by the American Bankers Association (ABA)?...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

New NCUA Division To Serve Small Credit Unions...

"We are pleased to announce the formation of a special new division at your Agency to focus on the special needs of small credit unions.  As you know we, at your Agency, have recently established the Office of National Examination and Supervision (ONES) to  manage the large, risky credit unions with assets greater than $10 billion.  
The ONES: Managing America's 
Large, Risky Credit Unions

Large CUs seem to be highly successful at this point, but the ONES is still in its infancy and we are quite sure that we can engineer a turn-around at these risky credit unions over time. In keeping with our concern for the future of America's large, risky credit unions, your Agency has decided to extend our managerial expertise to America's small, risky credit unions with <$10 billion in assets.

We are therefore delighted to announce your Agency's new small credit union division

Focused on your future...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

As Chair Matz And Board Member Matzger Have Explained RBC Proposals...


As developed by NCUA senior staff and
 NCUA Board approved originally.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Coffee Break...

A Magic Wand Regulatory Exam !!
After a certain age, your doctor starts to suggest, in a persistent sort of way, that you schedule a procedure that many euphemistically describe as "an internal audit".  Personally, the more intrusive "regulatory exam" phrase seems a better analogy and a lot closer to the truth.

My time was at hand recently. "Prepping" for the
A "no-no"!!
procedure requires drinking a foul-tasting liquid which creates, shall we say, a liberating experience and you are required to stop eating. On the way to the appointment, early a.m.-next day, stopped for a cup of coffee to steady my nerves. 

At the scheduled time, a cheerful nurse was working through "20 questions" with me, when she asked if I had had anything to drink.  Told her I had considered it, but had just settled for a cup of coffee instead. She promptly informed me that food and liquids were prohibited on the day of the exam; and therefore, that cup of java meant a two hour delay.

She gave me that "you can try to argue with me, but you and I know it ain't gonna work look" (see just like a reg exam!); but, did offer to reschedule me for another day, which would, of course, require "re-prepping". Pondered that a couple of seconds, made a masterful, executive decision and graciously agreed to wait.

About three hours later, the nurse popped back out to say they were ready. As we walked to the back, she apologized for the unexpected extra delay. I said it wasn't a problem, because to pass the time I had just stepped out and around the corner to...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Needs No Second Comment...

F. Douglass

"The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands and soon commenced its infernal work."

- Frederick Douglass
"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,
An American Slave"

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rants And Raves...

The Mitchell News-Journal
Better'n S.C. - promise!
*  Anyone know of a "self-help guide" to common sense?  I sure know quite a few local folks who could use a copy.

*  On T.V. a South Carolina politician said that people are born honest. The Scriptures say otherwise, but not all S.C. politicians can read yet.

*  All girls need to know how to use a chainsaw.

*  President Obama may take a lot of vacations, but don't you wish George Bush had taken a lot more?

*  Buying a smart phone definitely raised her IQ, but not enough.

And, as we head toward November...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rants And Raves...

Mitchell News-Journal Country!
In "them thar hills"... 

*  You can't speak out for the "Right to Life" and be for the death penalty.

*  Why'd you raise our taxes by just 18%? I still got some left! Don't you want it all?

*  You'll never have to worry about making money if you do one of three things:  sell drugs, sell alcohol, or become a preacher.

*  Lost your hearing? Porter's Hearing Aid Center is offering a free clinic - call today for an appointment.

*  None of these psychic mediums have been proven to really talk to the dead.  Don't be naive.

*  Thanks for trimming back the shrubs at the Post Office.  Now I can see who I'm going to hit when I pull out in traffic.

And, this week's answer to all our problems...

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

NCUA: Another Goodyear ?...


What's a 5-letter word for "gasbag"?**

"We believe, having observed the rapidly shrinking number of credit unions year-after-year-after-year (for which we, of course (of course!), accept no responsibility), that switching our budgeting base to "overall credit union assets" will provide for a brighter future for the Agency and for credit unions too, of course (of course!)."

NCUA will begin
using drones !!
"Based upon the forecasts of our Office of the Chief Robustski, an asset-based budget will enable your Agency to continue to grow unchecked, as those larger and larger credit unions become riskier and riskier. The good news is that as those bothersome smaller credit unions continue to expire and our examiner force continues to expand; well, just imagine a credit union as a beehive and our examiners as the bees!!!  We've even come up with new code names for the problem case officers - "the stingers and the zingers !!" Pretty cool, heh? We will really be able to "test their stress" in the future!"

"Fifteen years from now, assuming robust growth at credit unions despite our best efforts, we can foresee over 5,000 somewhat qualified examiners harassing, managing, supervising less than 200 large and therefore very, very risky credit unions."
Drones, swarms of busy little bees,
perhaps even a Queen...!!!
(Like the analogy, don't you!

"This was one of the principal reasons we revoked the fixed asset limitation on credit unions; they're definitely going to need a whole lot more office space - for us!"

The official NCUA 2016 budget will be released in the very near future - so stay tuned!

But, you can be "d-sure" of one thing, it will be...

Monday, September 08, 2014

None Of Your Business...

Oh no! Not another book
on "managing change"... !
Y'know, folks who really don't know me well will, quite often, send me a book or something else to read.  "Something else to read" is definitely - for sure - not on my "bucket list" in life.  

But even worse, "the reading stuff" that folks send me, who know me well and who are not - shall we say - "my greatest admirers",  are always the latest, thin and fluffy, "7 Step" guru-guides to leadership and management.  I'd rather change innumerable bad diapers than read one more "b-book" in life - particularly since the content and immediate impact ("two fingers down the throat") are usually very similar.

Which brings me to Dan Berger and Anthony
D.C. Bookmakers!
Demangone, the leadership brain-trust over at NAFCU, who dropped by the other day to visit and to bring me "something else to read". You guessed it ! The reading material was a leadership and management book!!!!  

One which they had written...  !!!!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

RBC: Out Of Their Depth?...



Awaiting the "Second Coming" of RBC!....
(The real "risk wait" ?)

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Credit Unions In Camelot....

Welcome to CAMEL Country!!
There is a lot less to camels than one might first suspect....  

Most know that a camel is a ruminant (chews its cud!) mammal, well-suited for carrying riders and burdens.  Due to a two-toed foot with thickly callused sole and a low capacity for thirst, camels are particularly useful in barren, desert landscapes. At heart, camels are uniformly obstinate, stubborn and downright irritable creatures.
CAMEL cud 1 ?

Regardless of what you've been led to believe, camels come in six varieties not five.  The most famous are the "1's" and "2's" - that's humps not ratings!  The Arabian camel has one hump and is often called a "dromedary". The equally well-known Bactrian camel is a native of Asia and has two humps. The lesser camels are New World creatures, mostly found in South America.  Those four types are the vicuna, alpaca, guanaco, and llama. 

Political junkies will recall that a "gifted" vicuna coat was almost the downfall of President Eisenhower's chief aide, Sherman Adams; and those whose hormones "came in" in the late '60's, might remember when alpaca sweaters - especially in horrid, bright orange - were all the rage.  

Really nothing famous about the other two - the guanaco and the llama.  Except that the Marine base near D.C. is not named after the former; and the best that can be said about the llama is that it rhymes well with "red-hot mama".

You thought this piece was going to be about the NCUA CAMEL rating system, didn't you? Well it is ....

Monday, September 01, 2014

Time For A Bankers Pledge To The American People?.......

Do credit unions cause
b@*ks to be dishonest?


"A couple of years ago Roger McCormick, a law professor at London School of Economics and Political Science, assembled a team of researchers to track the 10 largest western banks, to see how finance was evolving after the 2008 crisis."

"He thought this might be a minor, one-off project. He was wrong.  Last month the project team published its second report on post-crisis penalties, which showed that by late 2013 the top 10 banks had paid an astonishing $160 billion in fines since 2008, for misbehavior such as money laundering, rate-rigging, sanctions-busting and mis-selling subprime mortgages and bonds during the credit bubble."

"When the 2014 data are compiled, the total
Psst! Hey, I'm
endorsed by the ABA.
penalties will probably have risen towards $300 billion.  Just last week BOA announced yet another settlement with regulators over the subprime scandals, worth $16.9 billion. JPMorgan and Citi respectively have recently settled with different US government bodies for mortgage transgressions to the tune of $13 billion and $7 billion."
- Gillian Tett  

There, of course, can be only one cause for this persistent dishonesty by America's b@*ks...