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4 posts categorized "Travel"

July 02, 2013

The (Somewhat) Fantastic Four! - 4 Quick Snippets You Can Read Before the 4th

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by Ron Daly

Jack kirby. fantastic four

(Fantastic Four is a trademark of Marvel, Inc. and, by extension, Disney. Via this site.)

Yeah, I know - you're on auto-pilot as you cruise toward the July 4th holiday. But focus on these four quick-hit articles and you'll be informed, engaged and (hopefully) entertained.

(Somewhat) Fantastic Four, assemble!

The Invisible Girl...er, Guy, I mean.

Apparently Edward Snowden, the NSA Leaker and man-on-the-run, has had a little trouble finding asylum in the various countries he's contacted. He's written to multiple countries and embassies, looking for a way to evade the authority of the US. Many have turned him down outright, while others have implied that if Snowden wanted sanctuary in their nation, he may yet find it, but only if he can get to their embassy...which is hard to do from the inside of a Russian airport terminal. Ironic that a man whose movements have been followed so closely can't seem to get anyone to recognize him.

I only bring up Snowden because last month (before this scandal broke), I wrote a post on CU Insight about the "Human Factor" in data security. The article talks about employees who don't follow the company's rules on digital security (intentionally or inadvertently) and gives ideas on how to set up strict guidelines on protecting member information. Give it a read here.

The Ever-Evolvin' Multi-Colored Thing!

Remember those wheels that showed every social network and summed up what each did on a big, colorful wheel? Well, it's gotten much, much bigger in the past five years. The "Conversation Prism" by Brian Solis and JESS3 has grown by leaps and bounds. Compare it to the versions of years gone by - especially the 2008 version. How many of these channels is your credit union using? And how many of those are getting members' attention?

Do you have a Mr. (or Ms., or Mrs.) Fantastic?

Get them their very own trophy. Trophy Buffet will allow you to buy a trophy for your favorite person for whatever reason you like - some ridiculous, some worthwhile, all made with material you can write on and modify. Watch their goofy video and contribute to their Kickstarter if you believe that "everyone gets a trophy" is a good policy.

How to Avoid Becoming the Human Torch

And since this is the 2nd of July, it's a good time to remind everyone out there to be safe with their fireworks and barbecue grills. According to recent figures, firework-related injuries are down, even though there are still significant risks associated with the improper use of fireworks. 

What impressed me about this article? The number of people seriously injured due to barbecue grills every year...almost twice as many as those injured by fireworks. Maybe the family and I should just celebrate with cold foods this year. Chicken salad and popsicles, anyone? 

As we do every year, we wish all our readers and everyone out there a happy, safe Fourth of July. We also wish America a very Happy Birthday. Can you believe it? 237 years young and still going strong!

July 07, 2011

Spend a Little (Less) Time on Me: Why a Self-Service Strategy Means Everything

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by Ron Daly 

I read a good piece on the Profit Stars website titled "The Holy Grail of Banking: Profitable Customers and Members Strategies to Attract and Maintain the Lifeline of Your Financial Institution". Long title, but good content from Dave Foss about what's going to make or break financial institutions in the next few years. 

The whole article's worth the read but I want to focus specifically on the role of technology and innovation in all this. Read this passage from the article: 

3)    View self-service strategies as necessities. Advancements in consumer and small business technology have made self-service strategies a necessity. Banks and credit unions are leveraging solutions for mobile RDC and P2P payments as an acquisition and retention strategy for profitable clients. Javelin reported in its 2011 Mobile Remote Deposit Capture Report that one in every four consumers finds mobile RDC desirable, and 13 percent of those consumers will change their financial institution based on its mobile capabilities. Plus, financial institutions with solid mobile foundations will be well positioned to benefit from mobile payments, a very near reality.

So, what is the goal of technology for financial institutions? Is it to make things easier on the member or the FI? I'd argue both if the technology works well. And then, with any discussion of new technologies for credit unions and banks, we get that old grumble about how important it is to pay attention to the branch. Yes, it is important - and your online branch is a branch, too. It needs attention. And it should be the fastest and most efficient branch. 

Technology should be decreasing the amount of time and worry that people put into their money management. If one corner of your online branch is more complicated than going to a physical location,  that part needs attention. Why are 25% of the people in the above report attracted to remote deposit capture? Because it's one less trip they have to make. Maybe instead of the idea of "service" meaning "being really nice to the people that come in to the branch", we should strive to equate "service" with "how small we can make the amount of time people need to spend face-to-face with us." 

 Tell us your thoughts in the comments section. 

 

February 19, 2009

Did Anyone Check to See if Washington DC is a Junket?

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by Ron Daly
 
Damn, the Governmental Affairs Conference is only a few days away. I’m not sure if anyone checked to see if a conference in Washington, D.C. is considered a junket? I live here, it’s February, there was snow and sleet today, so I’d vote “Heck no” but I don’t think my vote counts for much.

Anybody got the direct phone line for 20/20? Think I’m kidding? If you haven’t heard, our ex-friends over at ABC are running an expose on excessive credit union spending on their show 20/20 on Friday the 20th. Jeffry Pilcher at the Financial Brand can tell you more (link to his story). My take? Please think twice before spending any credit union marketing money on any ABC radio or television affiliate until they tell the real credit union story.

So the GAC, as it is affectionately known in these parts, is going to be a bit different this year. Here are a few new rules for attendees:

Continue reading "Did Anyone Check to See if Washington DC is a Junket?" »

November 11, 2008

Are Credit Union Conferences Becoming Ghost Towns?

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I was looking at my calendar for the upcoming year/the end of this year and I came across my invitation to the BAI conference in Orlando (click here for more information). And another. And one more. Basically, I got a whole inbox worth of invitations to said conference. It's flattering. But I'm not going. Apparently, I'm not the only one. I did a quick count of vendors from this year versus last year, and there's a difference of 83 this year. The recent Harland Connections conference in Orlando and Symitar Users Group Meeting in San Diego this summer had attendance figures down by about one-third compared to 2007 as well. 


I don't think it's irrational to blame this on the financial downturn we've been facing. When unemployment springs up and the net income of Credit Unions (at least in the Washington area) is down 56%, it's not surprising that CUs (and banks, let's face it) are looking to cut costs. It's also not surprising that travel is a juicy bit of tenderloin to trim in times like these, as there are more practical costs to continue incurring.

Before you jump out of your chair yelling at me, this is NOT me speaking out against conventions. This is me being practical and incapable of ignoring these in-the-red figures. BAI is an amazing conference. I've always enjoyed going and the thought of not going this year is kind of disappointing to me (Colin Powell? Tucker Carlson? Anne M. Mulcahy of Xerox? John A. Allison of BB&T? That's one heck of a speaker line-up). I also like the "Grow Show", which is strictly focused on CUs and has a killer line-up of its own (click here). But "return on investment" and bottom-line is important, too, and I'm trying to think ahead here. 

So, with a plethora of conferences to chose from here are the questions: What do you consider the "must go to" conference that, come hell or high water, you'll find a way to get there?