Friday, July 31, 2015

In Denial....The Other "Donald"?


A: Because those League Execs will probably end up continuing to avoid some important, difficult decisions about their trade associations, credit unions, and CUNA.

Oregon is a good place to evade, skirt, hedge, dodge, sidestep, and bypass critical decisions; because it's already known as The Land Of The...

Thursday, July 30, 2015


The American Association of Credit Union League Executives (AACULE) is meeting today in Oregon...





Perhaps having trouble thinking...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Naming Rights....


Wanted to get the word to you first.  Before Keith Leggett at Credit Union Watch  got hold of this and started grousing about misspent tax exemptions, overwrought egos, and yada, yada, yada.  Dr. Leggett has persistently harped, over the years, about credit unions branding their names on college and professional athletic venues. You know the yap! 

Word on the street has it that a large U.S. credit union, under the guidance of South Carolina marketing guru Sundeep Kapur [www. emailyogi .com], is close to finalizing a major, big-time naming rights agreement. 

Kapur had challenged the credit union to "Dream Big" when seeking out a world-class branding opportunity and this blockbuster deal could be announced within days, setting a whole new standard of performance in the naming rights arena. 

A leaked photo of Kapur at the naming rights site has been circulating on the internet recently...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mark Twain On Regulatory Arrogance....

"If the woman ** doesn't believe as we do, we say she is a xxxxxx **, and that settles it.  I mean, it does nowadays, because we can no longer burn her as a witch."
** [Redacted by NCUA OGC]

                                        - Mark Twain,
                  Following The Equator

Monday, July 27, 2015

Consumer Banking Survey 2015....

The ABA's "Junk-yard Dog"
is yapping again!
"Frank Keating ** of the American Bankers' Association would do well to clean up his own backyard before casting aspersions on Credit Unions."

[** "keating" - rhymes with bleating - to make the natural cry of a sheep or goat; syn. whimpering, blathering.]

- Dan Berger, CEO of NAFCU, 7/24/2015.

Please use a "pen".



Q: "My bank is full of _______?"

                 A:  a).   Cheap pens on cords.
                      b).   Red velvet "herd lines".
                      c).   Inexperienced Tellers 
                      d).   Unhappy people waiting.
                      e).   Un-indicted men in suits.

[And, of course, most people think their bank is full of...]

Sunday, July 26, 2015

TAO: Part 7 - Times Up...

Post Congressional Hearing Post-Mortem...


NCUA's Kodak Moment ?

Transparency - Accountability - Oversight


Saturday, July 25, 2015

TAO: Part 6 - I'm Sorry...Yes, We Believe You.

As we've just seen...

"Negative takes a whole lot less talent than positive."

Transparency - Accountability - Oversight

Friday, July 24, 2015

TAO: Part 5 - Another Award Winning Performance!

Congressional Testimony On The NCUA Budget [Under Oath]:

Never heard
questions ?

"Now that the trades have cooked this up as an issue, you might be hearing about it, but I never had any questions asked."

- Debbie Matz, NCUA Chair

This performance has qualified for top honors in the 2015 "F-I-M" Awards competition.... 

The NCUA !!!!
First Place/2015 Grand Champion

The NCUA Robusterians* !!!
Second Place/Dishonorable Mention

* robusterian, n., English, derived from the adjective "robust"; meaning an advocate for rubbish "written by an idiot".

Transparency - Accountability - Oversight

TAO: Part 4 ...Oversight.

Congressional Subcommittee Testimony [Under Oath]:

"I don't believe that credit unions necessarily represent their members, and if they did, they wouldn't be asking us to cut our budget."

- Debbie Matz, Chair NCUA
before Congress - 7/23/2015


 The President:  "Not Again !!!"  

WH Aide:  Mr. President, if this keeps on, we're  going to have all 100 million CU members voting "red" in 2016  !!!

The President:  "*X!#X8!!*^X"

Transparency - Accountability - Oversight

TAO: Part 3... Transparency.

CUJournal:  Matz Comments On Capitol Hill Spark Furor

Another "Matzotov" Cocktail
Hurled In Congress
"Matz told lawmakers that NCUA is more transparent than any of the other financial regulatory agencies, but she was forced to admit that NCUA posted a redacted version of a 2011 report from consultant Price Waterhouse Coopers on the effectiveness of the overhead transfer rate it charges credit unions to fund the share insurance fund.

Among the sections it cut was one advising the Agency to be more open with credit unions about the mechanism it used to determine the overhead transfer payments. "The Congressman asked Chair Debbie Matz whether "she recognized the irony of redacting a section [of the PWC report] that says you should be more transparent?"

"Matz said she did, adding the Agency planned to publish the entire report on its website soon." [Chair Matz apparently didn't comment on why she has waited four years to finally come clean and publish the report!] 

Evidently the transparency rule at NCUA is:

"Publish Only When Caught"

Transparency - Accountability - Oversight

TAO: Part 2.... Accountability.

Yesterday's House Finance Subcommittee Testimony

To paraphrase the Chair: 

The Spin Cycle
at the Laundromatz!

"These are my conclusions for which the supporting facts have been created." 

[Click here if you'd like to read the whole "load"]

Another "Full Load" !!!

Transparency - Accountability - Oversight

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Way And The Path To A Congressional Hearing...

"The Tao" is the way and the path, the yin-yang of wholeness and completeness, the natural order of the universe.

"I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.  These three are your greatest treasures."
- Lao Tzu

The Agency is being hauled up before a Congressional committee because NCUA lacks tao in its conduct, leadership, and trust.

How can Congress restore tao at the NCUA? By restoring...

- Transparency

- Accountability

- Oversight

... should be an interesting afternoon at the hearing today !!!!


[expect some bow-wow !]

Transparency - Accountability - Oversight

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Time To "T-Off"? A T-Party Deflowered?

In trying to evaluate that CUNA/NAFCU best value equation, still have six or eight different topics to consider.

Several great points have been raised by commenters on the blog.  So, hang with this a bit as we work through it - OK?. You've still got a little bit of time to study "the problem" before you have to write next year's dues check - right?

Comparing the two trade associations has been a difficult slog though, since the folks at "No Comment CUNA" haven't been very helpful in clarifying their value proposition; and, even NAFCU has grown deathly quiet, after so grandly tossing out that "Welcome State Membership" grenade in Montreal!
A dud ?!?

One kinda has to wonder if NAFCU folks have found out that no one is much interested in accepting their invitation to the "Open House" party?!?  Always kind of embarrassing when you throw a party and no one shows up! 

Please don't tell anybody I joined!
Evidently not many dues checks have cleared yet on all those new "state members" joining up at NAFCU! Wouldn't think that any credit union would be embarrassed or ashamed to admit that they had newly joined up at NAFCU, would you?  

And, NAFCU sure didn't appear too shy about tooting its own french horn in Quebec in June...

Despite NAFCU's grand ambitions is the... 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

About Time To "T-Off"......

Guess we're going to have to get back to work on that CUNA/NAFCU analysis before too much longer.  Since the discussion has to do with the trade associations, been thinking about calling it the "Trade-Off series" - or "T-Off" for short.

Been kinda waiting around, not really doing anything [known as the "T-off position"], hoping for some sort of major "CUNA Action News" announcement coming out of the big Denver Rah-Rah, but... well, so far all I can say is "No Comment"!

Anyway, from all reports it seemed to have primarily been a "selfie" convention... self-absorbed, self-centered, self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, a trifle self-important ?!? 

Perhaps a reflection...  a "self-portrait" of the current state of affairs at CUNA and its leagues?

The default of "leadership", when confronted with a difficult, potential crisis, is not an uncommon occurrence. So, no reason to be too surprised if our trade association "leaders" choose "to duck" or "take a walk", rather than make some tough decisions - 'cause that could be "self-destructive" for them personally.

But, let's refresh our memories with two brief charts on why the future will not tolerate our credit union leadership's "self-interest" driven, diddle-daddle for too much longer...

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Disaster "Discovery" Plan....???

Bashing Congress is part of the American psyche.  With the Congress - and the Country! - so closely divided these days, on seemingly every major political issue; the political brawls are now pretty vicious, take-no-prisoners affairs. Courtesy, civility, and mercy in these contests are no longer expected - and are rarely offered.

Congress is now confronted with a political climate in which 50% of us are routinely outraged with any legislative action passed by our law-makers.  The difficulty - and hilarity! - of this situation is magnified when we admit that - even worse! - 100% of us are routinely outraged when our law-makers fail to act [Think we may have that backasswards???]! What's a "try-to-please-'em" politician suppose to do?!?

One political pressure-valve outlet for all sides has been the Congressional committee hearing process.  At times both Congress and the Country become so outraged by the failure of a government agency, that a Congressional committee hearing is called to review, address, and resolve the egregious behavior of a governmental bureaucracy. The issues get publicly aired, Congress fulfills its duty of oversight, and everybody gets a shot at compelling the leader to explain his or her actions under oath !!!!

Here are some recent examples:

Katherine Archuleta, Director of Office of Personal Management. 
Massive data breach - resigned.

Melvin Carraway, Director TSA.  Massive failures of airport security - resigned.

Eric Shinseki, Director, Office of Veteran Affairs.  Unethical, inefficient operations at VA Hospitals - resigned.

Lois Lerner, IRS Director, Exempt Organizations. Politically motivated screening of exemption requests - resigned.

Julia Pierson, Director of Secret Service. Repeated failures of White House security - resigned.

As you probably know, there is a House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit meeting scheduled for Friday, July 24th at 9:15 a.m in Room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  

The federal agency leader scheduled to give testimony is ....

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Not-For-Profit Boinks...

Credit Union:
A "not-for-pig" institution...
Always chuckle at those "You're nothing more than a non-profit bank" type insults that are so frequently hurled at Credit Unions by folks such as the American Boinkers Association.

Oxymorons are always great fun - like: fiscally responsible Democrat, compassionate Republican, Congressional compromise, balanced federal budget, or just shorten that to "federal budget" since its been awhile since the Country actually had a budget - balanced or otherwise! We all perhaps should consider a little more deeply the import of an "unbalanced" federal budget!  Because, what's going on now with federal spending definitely appears a step beyond fiscal insanity...

But, back to the basics; banks are in business to make money, to make a profit; so the idea that there might exist an organization called a "not-for-profit bank" certainly stretches the imagination, rationality, simple logic... and perhaps even the truth.

After all, a credit union operates on a "not-for-profit" basis on purpose and by choice. 

If a bank operates on a "not-for-profit" basis it's always by accident (or fraud)!

The first step in creating another financial train wreck with the taxpayer once again required to step-up to bail out  our Wall St. "not-for-profit banks"?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Third Party Vendors .... Due Diligence.

Much ado has been made of late, within the credit union regulatory world, about the need for you to perform "due diligence reviews" of third party providers of services to your credit union.  Such advice, within reason, appears to be sound and finds little objection among the credit union community.  

Still, even sound regulatory "guidance" continues
At "NCUA Disney":
"It's a Small World After All"
to be delivered in letters, findings, and DORs laced with strong traces of "arsenic intimidation" and lightly veiled threats of fiduciary irresponsibility for your slightest failure to conform.  

Z-z-z-tam !!!
Evidently "The Agency Attitude" (despite that repeated annual "Disney" training) remains entrenched: "We know you're a criminal; we just haven't caught you yet... but we will."  Guilty until proven innocent remains "best practices" out in the regional provinces and along the banks of the Alexandrine Potomac.

In performing third party due diligence, it is quite logical to rank providers by the degree of risk they pose to your credit union. Clearly, attention and review should be focused first on those providers which have or may cause your credit union the greatest loss.

"And, now for the $15 billion answer..."

Q:  Which third party provider has caused your credit union the largest unexpected loss over the last five years?

That's right by far it's ...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Financial Literacy: Changing The Status Quo...

Couple of MIT professors, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, have an interesting book out called "Poor Economics".  They verify that there are no magic bullets, no "cure alls" to eradicate poverty; but they do put forward five points on how to improve the lot of those who are struggling.

Since you and I are never going to read the whole book, here are those key points:

  1. The poor often lack critical pieces of information needed to make financial choices and end up making the wrong decision - often with drastic results.
  2. The poor bear responsibility for too many aspects of their lives; help on which is provided free to the more affluent by others, in the normal course of life.
  3. The poor face unfavorable pricing in almost all economic markets; transaction costs are invariably higher; savings rates "paid" are often negative and loan rates exorbitant.
  4. The poor have little, if any, voice in "the system" and are "penalized" for that ignorance, inertia, or indifference.
  5. The poor often suffer from low expectations of themselves and their opportunities, which become self-fulfilling prophecies. 

Here's an idea on a possible solution...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Counting The # Of Angels On The Head of A Pin...

Without doubt wonks and quants are like any other group of narrow-minded dogmatists; they most like - more than all else - to catch a frequent glimpse of themselves in the media or mirror. 

Exposure - much like the fluff of heated popcorn - permits them to become expansive on their "specialized" knowledge. All puffed-up and power-pointed! Vanity vying with vacuity! But always "robust"!

The risk posed by these "error heads" to CUs - who must listen in straight-faced incredulity to their Zephyrous prepostications - is that as these boys "mature in their wisdom"; they have a predictable tendency to learn more and more about less and less, until they know everything about nothing.

 But, give them their due; they are very, very good at that!