Friday, December 28, 2018

In the 1940's and early 1950, there was a very popular "gather 'round the radio with your family" program called "Firefighters"

The Firefighters radio program had a total of 140 fifteen-minute episodes that aired on early primetime WCPO radio during the late 1940's and ended in 1950.

As you will soon hear, it was a first class radio production heard across the country that was syndicated in over 225 markets in the United States and Canada... and it outranked national network radio shows like Lone Ranger and Sky King in its region.

"Firefighters" dramatized actual case histories of real Fire Departments. It is authentic in every detail, from Fire Department "welcoming" of new members to the ranks, to responses to the "latest" firefighting techniques and equipment.

During its run, the "Firefighters" show followed the heroic adventures of the rookie Firefighter, Tim Collins, who completed firefighter training after returning from World War II. Each episode focused on a particular fire emergency that Tim and his fellow firefighters had to face. At the end of each episode the character, Fire Chief Bob Cody spoke to listeners directly about fire safety.

Thanks to the Cincinnati Fire Museum (a beautiful museum well worth a visit) here is a link to all 140 of the 15 minute episodes, all for your listening enjoyment.

The coming changeover to a new Windows operating system for ATMs is forcing many credit unions to take a hard look at their capital expenditure options this budget season, says Dolphin Debit.

That transition, coupled with aging machines, is driving decisions about whether to choose an expensive software upgrade to Windows 10 or to choose the even more expensive alternative, buying new ATMs, according to Gary Walston, president of Dolphin Debit.
“Like so many things in life, it’s all about the timing,” said Walston. “While the recent EMV upgrades forced credit unions to spend money upgrading their ATMs, the last big event at the ATM was in 2012, when so many credit unions bought new machines in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That was a major event in which a large turnover of old ATMs was a boon for ATM manufacturers. Fast forward almost seven years, and many of those once shiny new ATMs are now in their final lifecycle stage.”
The Cost of Upgrades
For the machines that can be upgraded, the cost of outfitting them with the new Windows 10 operating system will run anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 per ATM, said Walston.
“But many of those older machines simply can’t be upgraded, and that’s going to mean buying new ones that can range from three to five times the price to upgrade, depending on ATM type and functionality,” he explained.
A credit union needs to make those decisions now, Walston emphasized, in order for a credit union to be sure that their upgrade—or their new machine—is in place in time for Jan. 14, 2020.
“That is the official date when Microsoft stops supporting the current Windows 7 operating system and ATMs need to be running on the Windows 10 system,” he said. “There is no real advantage to be gained by delaying a year before making the budget decisions, so the pressure is on.”
A Common Scenario
Walston said Dolphin Debit is seeing a common scenario in its discussions.
“A credit union has five or six ATMs, all right about six to eight years old. There is still some book value left in those machines, as they are being depreciated at seven or 10 years. The credit union’s challenge is to balance the few thousand dollars of book value left in those aging machines against the price of the $6,000 to $12,000 upgrade expense. Does the credit union want to have that much invested—and on the books—in a seven-year-old ATM that is likely on the downhill side of its useful life?”
Walston said that’s when buying new machines starts to look like a better—though far more expensive—option.
Walston Gary
Gary Walston
“But then the likely $200,000-plus capital expense for that fleet of five or six ATMs is a significant hurdle in light of the credit union’s many other 2019 budget priorities,” he said.
Walston suggested an alternative that credit unions are turning to in growing numbers.
The Alternative
“That alternative is outsourcing, turning ownership and operation of the ATM fleet over to a management company,” said Walston, whose company provides such a service. “In the short run, this strategy eliminates the need for a capital budget allocation for 2019. As the management company takes over the machines, it also takes on all the burdens of making sure machines are upgraded in time for 2020 or—if they’re too old or otherwise not upgradable—providing a new one.”
In the long run, outsourcing transfers all the compliance and management responsibilities to the service provider. All the maintenance, repair, network issues, and concerns over future machine upgrades or new ATM regulations are no longer the credit union’s worry, Walston said.
“Every year, more and more credit unions are making the choice to outsource some or  all of their ATMs,” he said. “They find that being free of all the management hassles connected with ATMs is liberating, and allows them to dedicate more resources to other forms of member service. Credit union executives are realizing they don’t want to be in the ATM business when they can outsource to the experts and focus on the credit union’s core competencies.”
Walston added one other benefit of outsourcing.
“And when it comes around to each budget season, the subject of ATMs never needs to come up for them, regardless of any new laws, regulations, compliance issues, or technology advances,” he said.

Joe Woods
SVP, Director of Sales
M-Phone 614-378-0367

Monday, December 24, 2018

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We wish you peace and joy in this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

On behalf of our nationwide board of directors and staff, we would like you to consider supporting 
the National Council of Firefighter Credit Unions Inc representing over 800,000 firefighters, first responders and their families. 
Please save the date and consider joining us in Clearwater Beach, Fl - October 1-4, 2019
Grant Sheehan CEO

National Council of Firefighter Credit Unions Inc.
Office: 305-951-3306,  Address: 3741 De Garmo Lane Miami, FL 33133

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the target range for federal funds

WASHINGTON–Although debate has increased recently over whether it should do so, as expected, the Fed has moved to raise interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2%-2.25% to 2.25%-2.50%.
“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in November indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a strong rate,” said the FOMC in a statement following today’s meeting. “Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Household spending has continued to grow strongly, while growth of business fixed investment has moderated from its rapid pace earlier in the year. On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy remain near 2%. Indicators of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.”
Fed watchers have been particularly interested in what the FOMC would signal regarding future interest rates, with many analysts predicting it will raise rates twice in 2019, but President Trump criticizing the Fed for any rate increases, saying they are slowing economic growth. 
In today’s statement, the Fed offered no new tea leaves to read, issuing a statement it has in the past that “In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2 percent inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.”
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Jerome H. Powell, Chairman; John C. Williams, Vice Chairman; Thomas I. Barkin; Raphael W. Bostic; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; Richard H. Clarida; Mary C. Daly; Loretta J. Mester; and Randal K. Quarles.

Friday, December 14, 2018

I must watch video of a backdraft in New York this week.

Here you will see FDNY members experience a major backdraft during a 5th alarm fire in a row of stores in the Sunnyside area of queens. (to the best of my knowledge no FDNY members were hurt during this backdraft. 

Here is the link to the video that highlights the smoke explosion: 


Friday, December 7, 2018

The CECL implementation approach should be broken into four phases.

The year 2022 may sound like it’s far off, but it’s anything but when it comes to preparing to comply with the new CECL accounting standard, according to one credit union CFO.
That date is two years after banks need to be compliant (Jan. 1, 2020), and Wright noted the bank examiners are  struggling with small institutions, where data validity and model validity are issues, as is balancing reasonable expectations and resource constraints. NCUA grappling with the same issues, said Wright.While the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) continues to refine some of the issues around the new Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL) standard, Doug Wright, CFO with San Diego-based Mission FCU, noted credit unions need to have a fully CECL-compliant model in place by Jan. 1, 2022.
“One recommendation I would make is to not just look at what NCUA is doing with education, but also to look to the FDIC, the OCC and the Federal Reserve to see what they are doing,” Wright told the NAFCU CFO Conference.
Four Phases
The CECL implementation approach should be broken into four phases, according to Wright.
  • Phase One: Road Map. This is the assembly of the implementation team and getting people somewhat up to speed on what CECL Is, as well as beginning to gather data. “I’d say most credit unions are in phase 1 or entering Phase II.”
  • Phase 2: Modeling and scenarios. “This is buy vs. build.”
  • Phase 3: Final model and validation.
  • Phase 4: Post implementation.
At this point, the CU should be to the point of methodology/model evaluation, according to Wright, who added that by 2021, credit unions should be at the point of a final refining of their respective models.
Data Collection
Noting there has been some “alarmist” messages to date on the amount and history of data a credit union should have collected in order to be CECL compliant, Wright said most of those messages aren’t true. “The data that is required is dependent on the methodologies you need to do,” he said, pointing to roll rate, vintage, PD/LGD, and discounted cash flow.
Many of those segments, Wright acknowledged, may lack statistically valid sample sizes. To address that, he said a CU should reduce the sample size by more statistically precise techniques, such as multi-variate regression. In addition, a sample size/lack of data can also be tackled with industry data, he said.
Meanwhile, Wright said the economic cycle “expectation: component of CECL presents some interesting questions, such as having valid data all the way back to pre-2007. “It’s likely that additional refinements will be required regarding data for the first two to three years after implementation,” said Wright.
Data Collection Recommendations
Wright offered these recommendations when it comes to collecting data:
  • Identify the methodologies you are most likely to use
  • Identify critical inputs required (loan specific info,  environmental and economic info)
  • Do your best with historical data, but develop capabilities to retain and evaluate required data on a go-forward basis
  • Collect as much “useable” info as possible on a loan-specific level
  • ID how you are going to overcome small sample sizes
According to Wright, FASB is committed to allowing flexibility, but it has been largely “uninvolved” post-implementation. “This is my speculation, but I believe the industry over a period of time will start to converge down to a fewer number of acceptable methodologies and models, rather than a larger number.”
Wright further forecast:
  • Regulators profess flexibility, but may gravitate to more common approaches (field examiner knowledge, institution comparability, vendor concentrations)
  • Different methodologies may yield “better” results from different segments
Buying Vs. Building
If a credit union is considering either buying or building a platform, the model platform should include areas to input and describe, Wright said, including:
  • Historical basis
  • Current adjustments (qualitative and environmental)
  • Reasonable economic forecasts
  • Reversion to historical
  • Other key assumptions (prepayments, contractual lives, extensions)
The model platform should be built with the future in mind, said Wright, and a credit union must ask itself how the program is going to be maintained and updated. In addition, the credit union must also consider discounted cash-flow specifics.
Modeling & Methodology Recommendations
When it comes to modeling and methodology, Wright offered these recommendations:
  • Explore industry white papers/webinars on specific methodologies
  • Engage with several vendors to view approaches
  • If building internally, consider platform requirements, ongoing maintenance from quarter to quarter, validity/backtesting/auditability, and regulatory “defense”
  • Applicability for other uses
Wright urged CUs to beware of “CECL compliant” claims and to look closely at validation/explanation capabilities. He further urged CUs to consider cost vs. “performance” trade-offs” and to not rush into a decision.
Wright said credit unions that have subprime concentrations, longer-lived assets or are operating relatively close to regulatory net worth/asset minimum (9% or below) should move sooner rather than later to begin complying with CECL.

See you in Clearwater Beach, FL 10/1-4/2019

Monday, December 3, 2018

Bernie Winne interim CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union

MARLBOROUGH, Mass.– Bernie Winne, president and CEO of Firefighters Credit Union in Boston, has agreed to become interim CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union
    Bernie Winne
Association, in addition to overseeing his credit union.
Winne fills the void created when Sarah Vega, chief of staff to NCUA Chairman J. Mark McWatters, initially accepted the position and then changed her mind. The vacancy in the position was originally created by the departure of former CEO Paul Gentile, who left to become president/CEO of Merck Employees FCU in Rahway, N.J.
Winne, who has 35 years’ experience in credit union and is a CCUA board member, was appointed to the interim position by the association’s board at a recent  executive meeting, the CCUA said.
"Bernie's leadership ensures the smooth continuity of all the programs and services that the Association delivers to its members each and every day," said CCUA Board Chair Ellen Ford in a statement published by the CCUA. "The board is grateful to Bernie for agreeing to devote his time and expertise to support the Association, its members and staff as interim CEO."
In the same statement, Winne said, "I'm both thrilled and honored to support the team at CCUA in their ongoing commitment to deliver both value and service to the Association's many members. I'm also grateful to the board of directors at BFCU and my management team for supporting me as I endeavor to give my best efforts to both organizations that I greatly value."
A new search has been launched by the Cooperative CU Association and is being led by Mark Sievewright.

See you in Clearwater Beach, FL 10/1-4/2019