Saturday, May 30, 2015
Sunday, May 24, 2015
An excellent history of Memorial Day
Memorial Day – For most it is a three-day weekend, filled with bar-b-que’s and picnics . . . A time to get away from the normal humdrum of the week. For other’s it’s the beginning of summer, a time to look towards the long lazy days and a time to plan your summer get-a-ways. Though for some, Memorial Day holds a special significance.
On May 5, 1868, an order issued by General John Logan established a day of remembrance for those soldiers who died during the Civil War. May 30, 1868, was the day designated for this observance and flowers were placed on the graves of the fallen soldiers of both the Union and Confederate Armies. New York was the first state to officially recognize this observance in 1873 and in 1971 with the passage of the National Holiday Act; Memorial Day was designated as the last Monday of May.
Now for many of us, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War are ancient history. The Vietnam War a fading memory. But with the recent Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom we, the American people have once again been thrust into a position of remembering those who are fighting and dying today.
I, like my grandfathers, father, uncles and aunt before me, am a veteran. I am and was proud of serving in the Armed Forces. I served in the Army from 1985 to 1994. I was in Operation Desert Storm/Shield. I know what Memorial Day is about.
I have two brothers who are currently serving. One brother is serving in the Navy in Italy. My youngest brother, who is currently serving in the Army, is right now in Iraq supporting and defending his fellow soldiers. I know what Memorial Day is about.
Memorial Day for all soldiers is embodied in the words of the oath that you first take when you enlist into the service of the country:
I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC; THAT I WILL BEAR TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE TO THE SAME; AND THAT I WILL OBEY THE ORDERS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE ORDERS OF THE OFFICERS APPOINTED OVER ME, ACCORDING TO REGULATIONS AND THE UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE. SO HELP ME GOD.
This oath taken by each and every soldier exemplifies the reason why soldiers do what they do each and every day. Soldiers are defenders of the same principles that made this country great. They stand as Patriots to defend and protect the ideals and sentiments espoused in the Constitution of the United States. Soldiers bear true faith and allegiance to that document and they work, and live, within the Codes of Military Justice. Soldiers also obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Officers appointed over them. These truths are self evident in the everyday lives of soldiers.
Now, as we see our fellow citizens arrive back from a foreign land, we should not forget those words that each and every soldier spoke upon enlistment. Because when we look upon a returning soldier from conflict, a disabled veteran, or a grave marker – those words should ring in your conscience.
- I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . . streaming from the eyes of the returning soldier.
- That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the Officers appointed over me . . . sounding from the stumbling gait of the disabled veteran.
- According to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God . . . blasting from the cold stone face of a grave marker.
Remember those that gave their lives, so that we may continue to live in freedom as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence . . . Lest we forget.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Board of Directors of Houston Texas Fire Fighters FCU has announced that Clint Hartmann is retiring in March 2016 as President/CEO after 12 years of distinguished service.
After graduating with his MBA and working several years in finance and accounting, Hartmann began his credit union career at Tropical Telco FCU (now Tropical Financial CU) in 1983 as Assistant Controller. Over the next 25 years, Hartmann served as President and CEO of credit unions with the Martin Marietta and the University of South Florida, where he learned to respect and appreciate the membership aspect of the credit union philosophy. He was named President and CEO of HTFFFCU in 2004.
Hartmann cites that his biggest challenge as CEO was navigating through the recent recession and collapse of the corporate credit union network, a challenge that hurt many credit unions throughout the country.
“I am proud that we managed to work through these challenges while maintaining positive earnings and capital growth. We also did not reduce any employee benefits or lay off staff.”
Under Hartmann’s exceptional direction, the Credit Union has grown in assets from $165 million in 2004 to over $247 million as of March 2015. Under his leadership, the credit union’s technological potential grew from establishing a new updated website to now accepting mobile deposits—technology that rivals the big banks.
In addition to his time at HTFFFCU, Hartmann has been extremely active in the Credit Union industry, currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Corporate America Credit Union. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Chapter of Credit Unions for 9 years–5 of those years as President. Much of his time with the Houston Chapter centered on fundraising efforts for community charities and political advocacy for the credit union industry in Texas.
“The Houston Chapter has accomplished a great many things while I have been on the Board but there are probably two that I am most proud of,” he stated. “The first is that we won chapter of the year for 4 consecutive years. This demonstrates the overall excellence of the chapter and its many efforts. The second and definitely the one I am most proud of is that the Chapter has donated over $400,000 to Texas Children’s Hospital. In addition, the chapter has a current pledge of $250,000 that will be met next year. Working with the volunteers for the chapter has been a rewarding experience.”
He and his wife will enjoy a pastime they have both looked forward to, seeing the country in their travel trailer.
"Leaving HTFFFCU is bitter sweet,” Hartmann said. “On the one hand I look forward to traveling and spending more time with my grandchildren. On the other I will miss the involvement with the Chapter and my colleagues. I will miss the staff at the credit union, especially the management team. Finally, I will miss the Board of Directors at HTFFFCU. They have been very supportive over the last 12 years. Something I truly appreciate.”
Tim Harrington "Touch, Inspire, Motivate"
Saturday, May 16, 2015
I posted this a year ago and thought I would bring it back to see if any of his predictions came true. Take a look and tell us what you think.
Cheer Up and Change: The Demographic MandateAt a conference I recently attended Monday morning started off with a great session by demographer and futurist Ken Gronbach, who laid out his predictions on where we’re going and what we can expect as demographics change. I was pleasantly surprised that the future isn’t sounding as bleak as the news might have you believe.
Gronbach offered lots of predictions for where our society and our world is headed. His predictions were given with a purpose: To help associations build their vision and plan for the future. As Gronbach stressed, "Wait and see is not a plan."
I’ve decided to arrange this recap into a list of my takeaways rather than a narrative recap. I hope you get as much out of this information as I did!
Things to Expect:
Big Changes in Retail: Gronbach explained that Generation Y, who are now ages 10-29, are a generation that shops primarily online. We can expect to see a shift in retail, especially away from the big box stores of today.
3-D Printing: I’ll be the first to say that this technology blows my mind. I don’t get it, but Gronbach said that I should. He also said manufacturing industries especially need to watch out for this trend.
Remote Everything: From robotic surgery to drone aircraft operated from another continent, Gronbach says this is just the beginning in terms of remote operations. This also applies to education, and colleges are already seeing a declining enrollment, supporting this trend.
Elderly on Steroids: With improving healthcare in our country, Gronbach says in the near future it won’t be unheard of to find people living to 120. Is our society ready to support the needs of this growing group of elderly people? (Gronbach says my home state of Florida should especially be watching out.)
Cars that Drive Themselves: Now, call me cynical but I don’t see this. I was promised flying cars back in kindergarten and those haven’t come to fruition, maybe that’s the root of my cynicism. Gronbach says that these cars aren’t far away, and explained that we can expect them to make us safer on the roads.
Homogenization of Culture: Today 35 percent of the U.S. market is a minority. That statistic paired with the statement by Gronbach that Generation Y seems to be the first that does not see race or color will level the playing field for minorities, leading to a more homogenous culture.
Smaller Housing and Hotels: Walk around your nearest IKEA store and Gronbach says you’ve just seen the future. He says homes will be smaller, more energy efficient and will feature more sophisticated security systems. He also predicted a rise in new home construction as more Gen Y members leave home, get married and start their own families.
Entertainment at Home: Think Netflix and video game culture. Gronbach says fewer of us are leaving our homes for entertainment like movies and even recreation like riding bikes. This may give us a clue as to where the obesity epidemic he also mentioned is stemming from.
Car or Internet: Which would you choose? Perhaps not surprisingly Gronbach says if given this choice most young people today would choose the Internet. In fact, 25 percent of teens who are eligible to get their drivers licenses, don’t. (Interestingly, Gronbach took this opportunity to point out that teen pregnancy today is on a decline.)
Succession Planning: "Baby Boomers can’t just walk out," Gronbach said, pointing to the huge amount of knowledge, both experiential and operational, that this generation is holding on to. Sharing that knowledge with the new generation, is key to the survival of our businesses and industries, he said.
Recruitment Strategies: Interestingly, the goals of Generation Y and the perks that attract them are being able to help others, being a good part, and building a successful marriage. Goals like being rich and famous fall lower on the list. Gronbach also stressed that Gen Y, "will not work for mean people." It’s important to know what this generation is looking for if you’re going to attract the best and the brightest.
Immigration Reform: While many people think Latin America when they think of immigration reform in our country, Gronbach says to look to the east instead. He predicts rising numbers of immigrants from the European Union and Asia. The typical look of these immigrants is different than you might imagine, with many being rich, young entrepreneurs.
I’ve thrown a lot at you here but I thought they were all interesting points. Which one jumped out at you most? I’d love to hear what you think about these future predictions.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Firefighters First Credit Union, “Fire Family Foundation”, Presents the 2nd Annual Fire Boot Classic “Chips & Tequila” | Pasadena California,
The evening consists of a high stakes poker classic, bingo, cigars, tequila tasting, silent auction, food/drink, and a fun photo booth by the students of Room 13 of Eliot Middle School in Pasadena. Adding to this is the equally fun-loving celebrity master of ceremonies Tim Conway Jr. Host of Tim Conway Jr. Show (KFI 640 AM, Actor Roger Mosley calling bingo alongside Pasadena Firefighters. Proceeds benefit the Fire Family Foundation, the charitable hand of Firefighters First Credit Union.
Recent Ways Fire Family Foundation Has Helped:
• Suddenly on Thanksgiving morning, the Fire Captain did not wake up; he left behind 4 devastated kids and a wife to face a changed world; Their December mortgage was paid by the Foundation
• Help with a down-payment for a newer car for a young family with a boy struggling with leukemia, and his granddad worked for LAFD; now the family can get him safely to his therapy
• Matching Red Cross’ donation to bury a 15-year old boy who had just arrived from Bangladesh, but was caught in an apartment fire.
• When a firefighter battled cancer and was unable to work he was about to lose his water service, but at 4 PM on a Friday afternoon the Foundation stepped in to help
• When a young firefighter returned home and died due to smoke in the lungs, the family wanted to come together, but one cousin was thousands of miles away. The Foundation paid to fly her out; she too is a firefighter and she attended her cousin’s funeral on what would have been his 32nd birthday.
• Hardware store gift card for a house fire victim, so she could return to her burnt home and try to clean up.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015, 1:13 AM
Credit unions are thriving. More than 100 million Americans are members - an all-time high. Credit unions are making more loans and holding more savings than ever before. And by competing aggressively with banks, credit unions are saving consumers $10 billion a year on fees, interest rates, and the like.
That may not be the case for much longer.
Regulations aimed at reining in Wall Street are instead walloping credit unions. Meanwhile, 40 percent of the rules prescribed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law have yet to be finalized. So the regulatory choke hold on credit unions will only grow tighter.
Federal officials must ensure that their efforts to ward off another financial crisis do not prevent credit unions from fulfilling their mission of providing affordable financing to Main Street businesses and middle-class families.
Credit unions differ from Wall Street banks because they are member-owned and not-for-profit. Their lack of overhead and focus on people instead of profits helps them offer better rates and cheaper fees than nearly any bank.
Most credit unions are community-based, so they know their members personally. That makes a huge difference when families fall on hard times.
In the wake of the financial crisis, big banks cut back on lending. But credit unions served as a safe harbor for families and small businesses. They continued to lend when others pulled back.
This personal connection explains why "members rate credit unions higher than banks on nearly every aspect of the customer experience," according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.
But credit unions and community banks have been caught in the cross fire as regulators target the predatory and profit-driven practices of Wall Street's mega-banks. Since the beginning of the financial crisis, 15 different federal agencies have subjected financial institutions to more than 190 regulatory changes totaling nearly 6,000 pages of rules.
These regulations aren't aimed at credit unions. Nonetheless, they've saddled them with huge compliance costs. To keep up with the rules, credit unions have had to add staff, change internal policies and controls, design and print new forms, update computer systems, and help their members understand all these changes.
First Heritage Financial, a credit union-owned subsidiary based in Trevose, in Bucks County, reports that it has had to add three full-time employees to keep up with regulatory changes required by Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Fannie Mae. More than 8 percent of the money First Heritage spends on salaries covers pay for folks whose sole job is to ensure that it complies with these new rules.
It's not realistic to ask the average credit union to comply with the same regulations as the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citibank. Almost half of credit unions have five or fewer employees. At some large banks, the compliance department alone is 100 times bigger.
The rules are also raising costs for consumers. First Heritage has seen the costs associated with a typical loan - for things like credit scoring, fraud alerts, data verification, and tax transcripts - increase 250 percent. That translates to an additional $1,000 in charges for a standard loan.
Regulators seem oblivious to the effects of these rules. Not a single agency has calculated the burden that federal regulations are imposing on credit unions. That's why the Credit Union National Association - the organization I lead - has begun quantifying regulatory costs. Our research will demonstrate how excessively broad rules negatively affect community lenders.
Fortunately, relief may be on the way. The Senate Banking Committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), and the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), recognize that laws intended to police Wall Street must not smother Main Street lenders under a one-size-fits-all regulatory blanket.
At the top of their agenda should be reform of the Federal Credit Union Act to allow credit unions to make more loans, especially to small businesses. Credit unions have been subject to arbitrary lending caps since 1998. Those caps need to go. That would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
For more than a century, credit unions have partnered with Americans to finance home purchases, start businesses, and secure their financial futures. Congress must free these community lenders from unnecessary and harmful regulations so they can continue ensuring America's economic prosperity.
Jim Nussle is president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
By Roy Urrico CU Times May 06, 2015
Apple announced 24 new participating Apple Pay issuers, including 22 credit unions. More than 155 credit unions out of less than 250 issuers offer the service.
Among the new credit union issuers are the $415 million Bellwether Community Credit Union in Manchester, N.H.; the $243 million Benchmark Federal Credit Union, in West Chester, Penn; the $15 million Blackhawk Community Credit Union in Beaver Falls, Penn.; the $2 billion CommunityAmerica CU in Kansas City, Mo.; the $2 billion Community First CU in Appleton, Wis.; the $143 million Connections CU in Pocatello, Idaho, the $164 million cPort CU in Portland, Maine; the $140 million Denver Fire Department FCU; the $148 million Electro Savings CU in St. Louis; the $1.1 billion Elements Financial FCU in Indianapolis; the $448 million First Financial CU in Albuquerque, N.M.; the $541 million Greater Nevada CU in Carson City, Nev.; the $485 million Harvard University Employees CU in Cambridge, Mass.; the $665 million Interra CU IN Goshen Ind.; the $1.3 billion Kern Schools FCU in Bakersfield, Calif.; the $1.6 billion Nusenda CU in Albuquerque, N.M.; the $533 million People's Trust FCU in Houston; the $1.7 billion Premier America CU in Chatsworth, Calif.; the $505 million Premier Members FCU in Boulder, Colo.; the $2.2 billion SAFE Credit Union in Folsom, Calif.; the $248 million Scient FCU in Groton, Conn.; and the $358 million Tucson FCU in Tucson, Ariz.
Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service by Apple Inc. that lets users make payments using the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch-compatible devices (iPhone 5 and later models), iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Apple Pay does not require Apple-specific contactless payment terminals and works with Visa's PayWave, MasterCard's PayPass and American Express's ExpressPay terminals.
When members add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device or on Apple servers. Instead, each transaction receives its own unique device account number. The device then encrypts and securely stores the number. Each transaction receives a one-time, unique, dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of the card.
Discover Financial Services signed an agreement with Apple that will allow Discover cardholders in the U.S. to set up contactless payments in stores with NFC-enabled payment terminals using Apple Pay.
On the merchant side, Apple most recently announced support from 10 retailers including GameStop and T-Mobile. Home Depot said it has plans to officially adopt Apple's service for in-store payments.
For the next version, Apple Pay 2.0, reports indicate that the Apple Pay software will fine-tune the platform, to include new features such as browser based payment methods and will enable users to pay through international merchants.
Friday, May 1, 2015
Myra Toeppe NCUA Director, Region 3 National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. - 2015 Conference
Myra Toeppe NCUA Director, Region 3
As Regional Director, Ms. Toeppe is responsible for oversight of the chartering program for federal credit unions and the examination and supervision programs for all federally insured credit unions in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Virgin Islands.
Ms. Toeppe joined NCUA in April 2011 as an Associate Regional Director, Operations after an almost 25 year banking regulatory career at the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and its predecessor agency. Ms. Toeppe began her financial institution regulatory career in 1986 as an examiner with the FHLB–Atlanta and later became an examiner/commercial loan specialist for OTS.
In 2005, Ms. Toeppe was promoted to Field Manager responsible for the examination of thrift institutions primarily located in Georgia and Alabama. In 2008, Ms. Toeppe was promoted to Assistant Regional Director for Operations responsible for the examination and supervision of thrift institutions in Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.
Ms. Toeppe earned her B.S.B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Central Florida. She also is a 2011 graduate of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking.