Friday, May 4, 2012

Time to move on to other pursuits.

My blog got off my original course and CU Insight changed their policies regarding anonymous posts.

I liked being able to speak out and tell the truth.  I don’t mind people knowing who I am, but I’m not interested in my views reflecting on my credit union.  

Therefore, I’m taking down this blog.   If I start bloging again, it will be under my own name.

With regards to WesCorp... Most people saw through that ruse and didn’t recapitalize them. Now they have arrogant Texan’s to deal with.  Your choice: back office shenanigans or in-your-face arrogance.  I hope the failure also reflected a rejection of that mode of business and the individuals who perpetuated the actions.  I still blame NCUA for the lack of oversight and the failure to bring any substantial punishment to those involved.  REALLY – Banning a retired person?  You might as well disallow a vegan from eating the choice of the day at Chris’s Steak House!  I feel they should have held the board to a higher level of responsibility as well.  These were, remember, the best and brightest the industry had to offer.  NCUA allowed them to walk away with no culpability.  I don’t get that…  In my conversations with the then Board Chair, he stated that each and every investment came in front of the board for approval.  You’re telling me no one saw a trend here of excessive risk, or concentration levels that their own credit union wouldn’t have choked on?  I understand they had extended authority, however, they had no authority to play Russian Roulette with your members monies.   And make no mistake, that’s exactly what they did.  Their charge was to provide a safe harbor for liquid funds.  What part of that includes doubling down on the monies held in safekeeping on the riskiest investments ever conceived by mankind (short of a straight-up Ponzi scheme)?
My error was in not running a similar scam that profited me greatly and cost the industry $Millions or $Trillions.   After all, crime (or criminal neglect of fiduciary duties) does pay, and handsomely at that, in CU-Land.  

These folks were allowed to benefit from the upside of their greed and you have the privilege of continually paying for their errors.  Yet, no one else is saying anything.  Are you all willing to let them get a free ride because you have your own little secrets you don’t want brought into the sunlight?  The Board members still have their jobs, Siravo is still playing golf, and the staff has gone on to other jobs outside the industry (even before they were “banned”).  Dick Johnson is still wringing his hands that it all went badly.  I guess his military bond is stronger than his moral outrage at the actions his military buddy perpetuated.  So, he will sail off into the sunset of oblivion and irrelevance.  Everyone other the Todd Lane is unaffected in any way, shape, or form.   Everyone, that is, except YOUR MEMBERS! 

So what have we learned from this big, long, and expensive exercise?  Absolutely NOTHING (Say it again!).  We blindly go after MBL when there are no restrictions or future guidelines on NCUA in how they will “regulate us”.  The Corporates are already merging for greatness and larger size.  Some idiot in San Diego is touted as being a wiz for achieving 6%+ on his investments when his call reports show a negative Mark-to-market that approached 100% of capital.  His investments of choice?  Privately Issued Securities!  Sound vaguely familiar?  How soon we forget!!!!!!!

See you all at the next CU debacle!!!!  It won't be long in the coming.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Question for Debbie Matz

As reported in CU Journal on February 1,2012 it is the position of NCUA as put forth by David Marquis that NCUA examiner findings are based upon individual judgment and no further regulation or “standards” need to be instituted.  

During the town hall meetings surrounding the failure of WesCorp, we were told that the agency was powerless to stop what they were doing.  You stated that the agency had no jurisdictional reason to curtail WesCorp’s investing practices. 

How do you reconcile these two statements?  Either NCUA had all the power they needed and failed, or they were powerless because there were no standards.   

Yet you argue for no standards.

Please comment.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Big Surprise! No standards are being applied to your NCUA review!

According to a recent post in the CU Journal:  "Marquis noted that examiners’ finding are currently based on individual judgment and sound industry practice and the proposals in the bill would require NCUA and the bank regulators to develop standard measurements and other regulations to provide examiners with sufficient support for their judgments."

In Regulator-talk... that means "We call what's right or wrong, based upon how we see things... and our 20-something year old's with 2 whole weeks of training are eminently qualified to render an opinion as to what's right or wrong."  "Standards?  We don't need no stinking standards!... why that would have prevented WesCorp, US Central, Wescom, Arrowhead... and a whole host of other notable cu failures while we were  busy cashing our paychecks watching over their operations."  "Why, good grief, if there were standards, cu's could tell us to go pound sand when we give them our sage advise."  "Why the whole concept is unthinkable"...   "We are large and in charge, until we appear in court; then we are a small agency represented by an incapable attorney who can't win a case no matter how much of a slam dunk it is!"

What they REALLY are saying is - We don't want to be held accountable!  Good for CU*Answers and their putting forth the petition about CU Rights.

And they wonder why we shake our heads at NCUA?

Risky Business – Sales culture in credit unions

Running an efficient and profitable credit union is likened to running a marathon:  It’s a long haul and your strategy needs to change with the changes in the course.   Some folks have lost sight of the course change.  Question – “Do you think that the go-go-go of the sales culture caused in some larger part, the debacle of 2007?”  Which begs the next question – “Can the practice that caused the problem be used to solve the same problem?”  America over-binged.  Most folks have seen the light of that and have taken steps to correct their wild spending.  And, at these rates, the best return on investment is to reduce debt.  Better to pay off a 8% (or higher) loan than to leave the same monies sitting in an account only paying 25 basis points.   So, now the clash.  Credit unions are to serve the best needs of their members.  What happens when the best needs of the members cause the CEO to lose out on a bonus, because the “numbers” weren’t met for his/her payout?  Unfortunately, as we’ve seen our ranks infiltrated by bankers, the most common answer is to “full steam ahead” “give me my bonus”.   Shame on these people!  Go back to your bank and get the public payout and the just deserved wrath of consumers everywhere.   Being a credit union used to mean something.  It’s time we held folks responsible for their bank-like actions.   Luckily, it’s not necessary to actually have to call these folks. NCUA is at their doorsteps as we speak; asking for a Net  Worth Restoration plan or presenting a letter explaining how XYZ cu will now be running what used to be your shop. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You sure you want to win that award? Anonymous to NAFCU

Hi Fred-
In light of the experiences of a recent NAFCU AWARD WINNER - I would like to recommend not only the prestigious NAFCU Plaque but also a $10,000 legal defense gift card.  The gal in Florida could sure as heck take advantage of such a gift card.  Thinking  outside of the box maybe just a non-descript $10,000 gift card would be more appropriate. I am thinking with Tom Glatt unemployed and another recent NAFCU WINNER - he could probably use such a gift card - at least he does not need it for legal defenses.
I am just thinking with the recognition of these NAFCU Awards - it seems to bring bad luck, too.  In the most unlikely event I am nominated I hereby decline to be inducted into the hall of shame.  Give the recognition and shine the light on Bob Siravo or Bob Burrell.
On that note have a great rest of your day.  

I think the same person sent a similar note to the President regarding the NCUA nomination from the CDCU while having their ATM outages in the high 6 figures. 

TOOOOOOOOOOOOOO funny!!!!!  Let's get those backgrounds (or at least look at their real estate transactions.... How many houses were walked away from, while the cu was holding the loan?)   checked first and the awards presented later folks.  There are some really damaged resume's out there.  

Even though WesCorp is now officially dead.... you won't see too many references to time spent at that shop or on their board, any time soon on a resume.  Talk about how not go get a job!  "Hire me, I sunk WesCorp and cost your credit union umpteen $Million in assessments".   Yep, that'll get you hired!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The teacher assigns an "F", and the student says "May I have another!".

CU Times and Journal both are reporting the current debacle was caused, in some great part, by NCUA.  NCUA's reaction to the GAO report ... "Yes Sir, your right... good job in seeing that.  We are terrible at regulating!".  You see, when you have an appointed job... there is no need to succeed.  It's all about being "right" and "in charge".  Well friends, if you thought the NCUA lion was awakening and causing cu's grief up to this point..... As the man said:  "You ain't seen nothing yet!"  NCUA just got their walking orders to take an unrestrained crunch on CUs actions.  The are now free to solve 50 of the next 5 problems you have (that's 5 actual issues, and 45 perceived issues identified by NCUA).

And who are these "super-smart" doers of good that come to visit our offices?  Why 20 year old's who "know everything"!  Everything about credit granting, compliance, history,... well everything.  Why, they've been through the 3 week intensive course led by other "seasoned" NCUA examiners... So, you know they have tons of experience to draw on when they make their "recommendations" on how to improve your shop.  They are smarter than you and know more about cu's than you do.  That's right!  Any you know how they know this?  Why, NCUA told them so!

Problem is, if you happen to be a smaller cu... those recommendations are to - MERGE.  You see, if your only tool is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.  Low on income - MERGE, seen higher than normal delinquency - MERGE.  And NCUA is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better at watching over the larger cu's, like WesCorp, right?

Forget risk Management.... we are now going to be in full-time hard core risk AVOIDANCE.... right up to and including the demise of your credit union.  You thought it was tough to make a buck before?  Try avoiding ALL risk and making even $0.01 ---- Well, after assessments.... "How much capital do you have?  Send it!"  

Our members deserve a better regulator than what they have been forced to endure!!!!

Unfortunately, it's only going to get worse!  We are really going to let the folks who caused the problem be in charge of fixing the problem.... Congrats!  We are living a punch-line!!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bankers are trying to "define" us again. Now they picked a really stupid area to hit on.

Ok, Bankers - you asked for it.  We (Credit Unions) are not subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, because we ACTUALLY do what the act tries to make banks do.... WHY?  Because banks abandoned area that were unprofitable instead of trying to help people of modest income.  The regulator is holding your feet to the fire to do what you were chartered to do.  CU's on the other hand, have always done what the Act intends... THAT my capital-rich friends, is why we are not concerned about what the Director of Greenlining Institute thinks!  Perhaps she should concentrate her thought process on why so frigging much money constantly needs to be poured into banks and the funds always end up go to just a few people for their personal enrichment.  And you wonder why folks are taking to the streets???  Did they say what planet the institute is headquartered on?

Once again -- the Banks are unrepentant in their actions (or lack thereof)  and they are trying to drive the discussion to make us the bad guy.  The Nazis of old would be proud! The awkward TRUTH is we aren't subject to CRA... because we were found not wanting in this area.  

We need more of our Trades holding court and putting the banks in their place.  Where's CUNA, and NAFCU?  Why aren't we trying to direct the fate of banks?  Why aren't we bringing their faults and shortcomings to Congress?  Why are we ALWAYS on the defense and the banks always on the offense?  Where's the PUSH-BACK?  I guess when our "leaders" make more money than most folks, they don't want to rock the boat... just cash the check and hope all continues as it ever was.

From the Editors of American Banker

Did the consumers who took part in Bank Transfer Day “accomplish what the campaign's supporters wanted — to vote with their dollars for institutions with more concern and responsibility for their communities?” asks Preeti Vissa, the community reinvestment director of the Greenlining Institute.
Because credit unions aren’t subject to the Community Reinvestment Act, “the awkward truth is that we don't know nearly enough about the extent to which credit unions overall serve low- and moderate-income consumers,” she says.