Brought to you by:


Learn More about My Virtual StrongBox - Click Here


Our Blog Roll

The Financial Brand
Snarketing 2.0
The Filene Blogs
CreditUnions.com
CU Water Cooler
CU Insight
The Members Group

Resources

Meet the Moderator
Keep It Clean
About Guest Authors

2 posts categorized "June 2014"

June 17, 2014

There Are No "Quiet Exits" in the Payment Game

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

By now, you've likely heard the news that the Approved Card, the prepaid financial product promoted by none other than Suze Orman, is shutting down. You probably remember a few years ago when much ruckus was raised over Orman's endorsement of this high-fee product.  Now, Orman is seeking to exit the payment space "quietly", according to the New York Times.

Trouble is, there's no such thing as a "quiet exit" in this space. Who would expect silence after such a loud and hotly-debated entrance? Suze claimed her card would be the beginning of a revolution. 

From The Daily Beast

Even so, the Money Navigator flap was a minor blip compared to the storm Orman ignited in January 2012. That’s when, declaring a “financial revolution,” she launched the Approved Card, a prepaid debit card backed by the Bancorp Bank, the top issuer of prepaid cards in the U.S. “You can always bank on me,” Orman announced during the accompanying promotional blitz.

Well, it would appear the revolution has come to a bitter end. And as far as "always banking" on Orman? That's officially false as of July 1, when the cards will stop working. As for all the critics Suze called "idiots" and publicly shamed for questioning her judgement, I imagine they feel vindicated when they read these words in the New York Times

It is unclear exactly why Ms. Orman’s venture is ending. A spokesman for Bancorp Bank, which ran the back-end systems for Approved, declined to comment, citing a policy of not making statements about its partners. Ms. Orman could not be reached for comment. The website for the card does not appear to have been updated recently, and as of Monday night, had no mention of the card’s status.

If that wasn't enough, my attempts at reaching the Approved Card website turned up an error page. Seems as though someone doesn't want to say anything...which says a lot.

I'm not trying to diminish Ms. Orman's record as a financial adviser; many people adore her and trust her advice implicitly. But I imagine she's going to have a heck of a time explaining what went wrong with the Approved Card to its now-unbanked users...if she bothers explaining at all.

There are no "quiet exits" in the game of payment and finance. If you don't want to do the talking, don't worry - the consumers will do it for you. 

June 09, 2014

Hole in Boat, Version 1.30.19 (Beta)

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

I'm no Brother Grimm or Mother Goose or any other storyteller by trade, but I do have a little fable I'd love to share. It's about a group of bankers (or "credit-unioneers", in this case) that were sailing a large boat down a river.

The crew all worked very well together, but one day the first mate noticed something was out of the ordinary. For some reason, the ship was lower in the water than it had been the day before. The first mate called the rest of the crew together.

"We've got a problem," he said. "For some reason, the ship is lower in the water than it was a day ago..."

"Nonsense!" cried the helmsman. "This ship is sailing as high and fast as it ever was."

"I don't know...I think we should check for any holes in the boat."

After several hours of deliberation, the crew split up, searched the ship and found the hole. They reconvened on the deck. 

"Well, we need to plug the hole," said the first mate.

"Now, now, let's not get in a big hurry here...that's going to take a lot of time and energy. Do we have what it takes?" said the watchman.

"Yeah, and who's going to pay for all this?" said the helmsman.

"You know, I'm not entirely convinced this is that big of a problem. That hole's been there, what, one whole day and we still haven't sunk?" said the Captain.

The first mate was frustrated. He stomped his feet and huffed and puffed, insisting they had to act on the problem immediately. Finally, he got the crew to (reluctantly) agree to work on the issue. After a few hours of cobbling, they came up with a giant wad of chewing gum. When the gum gave way, they put their heads together yet again and came up with a big bag of corks to plug the hole. When the corks proved too loose, they settled on a broken barrel. They patched up the hole with several planks from the barrel which stopped the water from coming in and grew and shrunk with the other wood on the boat. 

As the crew observed their handy-work and congratulated themselves on a job well done, they noticed something very strange was happening. The sound of loud, rushing water echoed inside the hull. The crew cautiously peeked out of the porthole window and saw a large, rushing waterfall - and noticed they were only seconds away from the edge. With everyone's resources devoted to fixing the hole, there was no navigation, no steering, no planning, no nothing...

And then the ship went over the waterfall.

The End

I 'm pretty sure you get the point. Plugging one "hole" with any given technology only solves that problem. If there's no strategy for electronic users and mobile members, you're going over the falls. Arguing internally about whether or not technological steps forward can be taken or should be taken? That's quibbling. The question that should always be asked: "will this step forward be a step forward for members, too?"

I'll be conducting a webinar on Wednesday, June 11 at 2pm ET in conjunction with CUES. It's called:

Is Your Largest Branch Open for Business?
“eStrategy” for Today’s Financial Institutions

Won't you join us? We'll be talking about all the ways credit unions can enhance their electronic strategy and keep the ship sailing for years to come. Sign up today as a CUES member or register as a guest - the webinar is open to all. I hope to see you there.