Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CUNA At The Bat....

Well back to reality; time to get over all those "delusions and circumstances". 

Mighty CUNA...?

Seems some folks think the most important thing going on in the world these days is the little brouhaha developing between NAFCU and CUNA.

NAFCU clearly "loaded the bases" last week with the move to open membership and is looking for a "walk-off grand slam" following CUNA's "America's Credit Union Conference" next week in Denver.  

Odds-makers are betting heavily on NAFCU, after evaluating CUNA's "weak pitching staff" and "lack of bench strength". Some folks believe CUNA "hasn't fielded a viable line-up now for several seasons" and even the coaching has become suspect.

But in fairness "give CUNA that last inning in July" before completing your game card, that one last chance at bat in Denver. 

A miracle is still possible, but...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Finally, At Last A Meeting Of Hearts And Minds....

Well, after three days of lively, boisterous "negotiations", the long wait is finally over.  

The "deal was sealed" on Sunday, June 28th at 3:00 p.m. in a remote, quaint auberge in the scenic woods outside Montreal.  

As usual, after an extended courtship; it ultimately came down to a "put up or shut up", "fish or cut bait" moment of decision. One can never clearly predict how the future will play out on these major decisions, these "moments of truth"; but there are times when you just have to step up... when you just "gotta busta move"! 

Yep, sometimes you just have to choose in life!

And this weekend, the best choice was made...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ottawa Ought-a-go....

Just a short drive from Montreal, up the Ottawa River, is Canada's capital. Ottawa, much like Washington, D.C.  has that "seat of government" feel, in sharp contrast to the old world, cosmopolitan flair of Montreal. The old vs. the new!

Ottawa is a place where "the sausage of compromise" - the contest between opposing forces and views  - gets made by the Canucks! The place where tough choices are discussed and real decisions are made! 

Open, transparent dialogue, between the people - democracy at its best.

Credit Unions have had two strong, prominent trade associations in the past - not so in the future.  

Just one trade? Yep, and would bet heavily that the survivor will be the one which acts [and NAFCU already has] most boldly at the expense of the one which...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Across The River And Into Le Bois...

Easy flight, great weather!


Lots of "new avenues" to explore!



[But really, this could all just be a coincidence... ]

Friday, June 26, 2015

Crossing The Line...????



[ Hey, it could just be coincidental...!!!]

New Choices For Credit Unions...??


"You choose!"



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Decision-making... Making A Choice!

The Bull Moose

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."

-Theodore Roosevelt


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On Giving Credit Unions A Choice...


"This is difficult for us and may take up to three years..."



"NAFCU announces membership open to federally insured, state-chartered credit unions."
One shrewd fox!

"The NAFCU Board made this unanimous decision because our industry is rapidly evolving; and in a changing marketplace, credit unions are seeking more from their advocacy organizations.  We heard that message and are ready to rise to the challenge."

Looks like...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

HR 2769: The Credit Union Risk-Based Capital Study Act Of 2015..



HR 2769 "... is a vital and important step for
Clear, definitive, forthright.
credit unions in the industry's efforts to stop the NCUA's ill-advised and unneeded risk-based capital regime."

"... serves as a meaningful and timely step in ensuring that credit unions will be able to continue to lend and grow to the best of their ability."


Monday, June 22, 2015

Playing Second Fiddle....? Poorly....?

HR 2769 - "The Credit Union Risk-Based Capital Study Act Of 2015"

A simple bill asking that the NCUA document why a risk-based capital (RBC) rule is necessary, if the rule is legal, and what the full impact and consequences of the rule will be on credit unions, their member-owners and the U.S. economy. 
Who could have a problem with that?

Well evidently CUNA does!  Although NAFCU has come out strongly and decisively in support of this "stop and study" proposal, CUNA is dithering, chewing its cud, doing a little wishy-washy....


Sunday, June 21, 2015

From The Field: NCUA , On The Move...

Very interesting idea...!

Read this intriguing statement, in a recent e-mail from an NCUA examiner, about an upcoming exam:

"Which allows me to segway into the next exam..."

Given that unusual thought, started to imagine how he might appear on his next visit...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Millennial Marketing...


"They are marketing a platform for people with short attention spans, and they have a large share of the market for people with short attention spans." - FinTimes [6/11/2015]

Well that's a win,
I guess... right??

... "a large share of the market for people with short attention spans"??!!??

Friday, June 19, 2015

And Just To End The Week On A Positive Note: Me Thinks "How Bizarre, How Bizarre..."

"NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz said the
NCUA is contemplating proposing a rule that would require credit unions to encrypt the data provided to examiners in response to the examiner who lost a flash drive..." - CUTIMES

He's right!
George Will is usually right - far right; but is always acute in his Sunday commentaries for the Washington Post. He spoke to the "our fault, but you go to jail" mentality in a column (12/14/2014) titled: "The Plague of Too Many Crimes".  It made me think of the NCUA.

Will's theme was that "Overcriminalization has  become a national plague.  And when more and more behaviors are criminalized, there are more and more occasions for the police, who embody the state's monopoly on legitimate violence, ... to make mistakes."  It made me think of the NCUA. 

Again, this view from a "right-sided" observer!  He also noted that "... more than half of the 3,000 federal crimes are found not in the Federal Criminal Code but in numerous other statutes. And, by one estimate, at least 300,000 federal regulations can be enforced by agencies wielding criminal punishments. It made me think of the NCUA.

He continues that "Society needs laws; therefore it needs law enforcement. But today's political system takes "bizarre delight in creating new crimes" for enforcement."  It made me think of the NCUA.

We live "... in a Country with 5% of the world's population but 25% of its prisoners.  In 2012, 1 in every 108 American adults was behind bars...." The scandal of mass incarcerations partly produced by the frivolity of the political class... is evidence that American government is increasingly characterized by an ugly and sometimes lethal irresponsibility.  It made me think of the NCUA.

As we head into the next release of NCUA's "no-need-for-Congress", "we-answer-to-no-one" RBC self-legislation, supported by a built in "enough-of-your-stuff" budget, and a "we-know-what's-best-for-you" internal, non-public appeals process ... 

Hope you too will think about NCUA ...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Retaliation.... "Knock, Knock"! Who's There?

"No Retaliation"

"To protect credit unions from reprisals, NCUA has a zero-tolerance policy against retaliation.  Examiners may not take action against a credit union for using any formal or informal appeal channel.  If a supervisor finds an examiner has retaliated with unreasonable action against a credit union, that examiner will face disciplinary action."

"NCUA is keeping an open-door policy to hear your appeals.  If you think you have a situation in need of review, go ahead an knock!"

                             - Ms. Debbie Matz, Chair, NCUA
                                         June 6, 2012

 From actual experience and with amazed incredulity, many of America's credit unions might simply say....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why Does NCUA Really Resist Transparency ??


[Hey, that's just "Common Sense"!]

Merger Mania...

Cheaper by the dozen...!!
The merger and consolidation of credit unions and other financial institutions is very much in the news of late. Some strong arguments can be made for these trends based on efficiency, personnel skill sets required, economies of scale, and the high costs of technology and regulatory compliance.

With the number of remaining banks and credit unions shrinking so rapidly, it would appear reasonable that the same economic laws of consolidation would apply to our two remaining deposit insurers... 

Why not take the very best qualities of the...

     AND THE

and  combine them into one Agency ?? 

Look what we'd have....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

2016 NCUA Budget Announcement Video....?

What will NCUA do with its 2016 budget?

Here's  a sneak preview of what to expect...... 

Yet Another "Goodyear" At NCUA...

Well, one last word about that
budget at NCUA ....

As you shrink, We Grow !!
Despite the corporates, despite the shrinking number of credit unions, despite the bottom-line margin squeeze, despite the federal government roll-backs and FDIC cuts, despite the recession...

NCUA can always be counted on to budget for  ...

Ronald Reagan On The Proposed NCUA Budget...

Reagan sees red
at NCUA !!

"Government [like the Agency] always finds a need for whatever money it gets."(April 29, 1982)

"Balancing the [Agency] budget is a little like protecting your virtue: You just have to learn how to say "no"."(September 9, 1982)

Monday, June 15, 2015

In Answer To That Question...

The question was asked on the previous post about how NCUA's budget compared to that of the FDIC?

For 2015, Mr. Marty Gruenberg, Chairman of the FDIC, stated: "This is the fifth consecutive reduction in the FDIC's annual operating budget." [link]

So, how does the NCUA's budget record match up?

                 Budget       %Inc. /Prior Yr     #  of CUs 

2009        $177.8 ⬆︎              15%                 7,554

2010        $200.9 ⬆︎              13%                 7,339

2011        $223.4 ⬆︎              12%                 7,094

2012        $236.8 ⬆︎               5%                  6,819

2013        $251.4 ⬆︎                6%                6,554

2014        $268.3 ⬆︎                7%                6,273
                          (up 51%)                                                      (down 17%)

[ from NCUA.gov]

Notice any disturbing trends?
Last one left standing turn out the lights [ and write a big check!]

The Other Financial Regulator's Budget....

NCUA's "Peer Group"
"NCUA's budget process is deliberate and meticulous."

Ms. Debbie Matz

Well okay, let's take a look at how the FDIC - the only other provider of federal deposit insurance - managed its budget for 2015.  

Probably isn't fair to draw any comparisons between the NCUA and the FDIC....  

Credit Union finance class!
After all, the FDIC insures many, much larger institutions, including a couple of banks with individual balance sheets exceeding all the assets of credit unions  combined! And, the complexity level of many FDIC institutions makes even the largest credit unions look like cute, little financial pre-school, kindergarten classes.

Cash flow
at problem banks!
Also,  numerous banks, including the largest and most complex, have created all kinds of problems since the recession; have failed in record numbers; and have been tied up in seemingly endless criminal and civil litigation.  The FDIC has definitely had its work cut out for them in a big way; they've had "a real mess" on their hands!

With all that going on, not too hard to imagine how the 2015 budget for the FDIC  was going to look - right?  Take a look...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Speakin' Southern...

Hot stuff from one of our rural newspeppers:

How to talk good when you're down heh...

                        Word              Meaning
                   "Fixinto":       Preparing to act.
                   "Jeetyet":      Been to lunch?    
                    "Ya'll":          "You"... singular.

                    "All ya'll":     "You"... plural.
                    "Honey":        First name of "visitors" at             
                                         The Waffle House.
                    "Sugar":         First name of "locals"
                                         at The Waffle House.
                    "Jawlp?":       Question to young kids
                                         before leaving the house.
                    "Hissy fit":     NCUA Chairman's response to ...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Crater Lake

Some places on the planet are naturally spiritual, sharing a stunning presence. Crater Lake in Oregon is just such a place.

Crater Lake lies on a high plateau in the Cascades. You reach it by traveling up the Rogue River, through the Umpqua National Forest, and across the Pumice Desert - just the sound is a lyrical adventure, isn't it! Seventy-seven hundred years ago, Mount Mazama lost its temper and blew its stack. 

The hollow, bowl-shaped cone which remains contains the lake, six miles across and 1,500 feet deep - the deepest lake in America. You've never seen the color blue until you've seen Crater Lake. It's a remarkable shade - deeply intense, almost mystical, unimaginable!

The "look around" tour at Crater Lake is wonderful, because the volcanic rim is over 1,000 feet above the surface of the lake. At 1,000 feet up, there ain't no bad views! But, there's more to see than you might suspect! 

At the edge of the rim on a steep hill up another 1,000 feet - is an abandoned ranger station, "The Watchman" elevation 8,013 feet. The trek up is not too strenuous as the path loops frequently back and forth making the ascent quite manageable. Such paths always make me laugh; they remind me of real life - rarely direct, often demanding great discipline and firm faith. After all, it's truly hard to stay focused on "north" when we spend so much of our time walking east and west. Many get discouraged, some give up. That's a shame.

On top at the Ranger Station was a group of 6 or 8 young people. I could hear them laughing as I climbed upward and eventually they could see me on the path below. As I came in to view, there was a bit of whispered rustle and several varieties of smokeable products were quickly pitched over the edge into oblivion. Guess they mistook me for a parent.   As it happens, I am; but not theirs. There is a difference.

They were a very cheerful group, entirely sociable. "Better hurry up"; they called out, “you’re going to miss it." They had gotten as high as they could to watch the sun go down. And, quite a sight it was - the "Big Orange" dissolving behind several rippled waves of mountains out to the west. The young'uns celebrated and high-fived the sun's departure; gave me the "can you make it back down without a walker" glance; and headed raucously back down the slope into the growing darkness. 

Being slightly bald and growing old brings "rude
awakenings" at times.  It's a point in life when "things are not as they appear," but I forgave them for the case of mistaken identity.  " At face value" is a normal, everyday human mistake.  And, it's as far as some folks are ever willing to go.  Guess a lot of folks think: "If I don't reach out I can protect myself from your need."   Maybe so; probably not.

The blackness of night pressed down hard on the thinning line of orange and red at the horizon. Looked like one of those great ocean-going tankers with an all black hull and a bright red racing stripe at the waterline.   Sunsets take a full hour - no more, no less. The natural world has its own pace.  Not much you can do about it even if you're living on fast-forward.  It took an hour yesterday, it will take an hour today, it will take an hour tomorrow.  Ever questioned whose clock is more important?  And, then there was the growing silence.

Quiet is an interesting sound which you don't hear much anymore.  Darkness is still a frightening thing out in the wilderness.  I guess that's why animals don't talk; not much advantage in letting yourself become a potential meal over some idle chit-chat in the dark. You and I are different; we just reach for the light switch and keep going. When was the last time you willingly sat for a while alone in the dark?  Darkness is still a bit uncomfortable for most.  Ever wonder who we are afraid of?

Darkness took hold.  And, there they were; the stars.  That's what I had come up to see.  They're out there all the time, but so rarely seen these days.  In the darkness at Crater Lake - and, at Crater Lake the darkness is almost absolute, except for one very faint glow off to the south from the jungles of California - there are millions of stars, millions of stars falling out of the Milky Way. They put you in your place.  A raw awake sort of place, fully aware, very vulnerable.  As the cool night chill rose, I backed up close to the heat still radiating from the lava rock benches on the observation deck.  Curling up to that heat reminded me of the other great reason people do not like to sleep alone - to be held.  To hold or be held; not sure that's a choice.

Then there it was...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rants And Raves...

Mitchell News-Journal
... in the heart of the mountains!
*  I am real sick, and my neighbor is, too.  We cannot stand anymore barking.

*  I have nothing against two gay people getting married, but I don't think they should have children.

*  I always loved animals.  In my opinion the wrong species is at the top of the food chain.

*  We look forward to seeing the pampas grass bloom along the highway each year.

*  If they tear down the Courthouse like they say, is my marriage still legal? Not asking for myself.

*  He has delusions of pie in the sky.  In our area the result of the tax change has not even resulted in a cherry with a dollop of whipped cream, let alone a pie.  No sugar,  just crumbs, if you know what I mean. But even if that's just the way the cookie crumbles, I think he's out to lunch.

Kinda makes you hunger for more, doesn't it! But this week's winner is...