Listen To Jon Fishman Sing “Frankenstein” On Phish Manager’s Answering Machine In 1990

first_imgSometime in 1990, after what was probably a late night, or perhaps for no reason at all, Jon Fishman decided to call Phish manager John Paluska and leave an extremely detailed four-message voicemail recording of the classic “Frankenstein.” The recording, running at a solid four and a half minutes, features the song in length, as sung by Fishman.The voicemail ends with an excited business pitch, that being a potential venue to book the four-piece in Crested Butte, Colorado. The band ended up playing El Dorado Cafe three times that year. Listen to the historically hilarious recording:last_img

A historical honor

first_img 16Seamus Heaney pauses outside Massachusetts Hall before receiving an honorary degree at Commencement in 2000. Heaney, an Irish poet, playwright, and lecturer, won the 1995 Nobel Prize in literature. He was a professor at Harvard from 1981 to 1997 and its poet in residence from 1988 to 2006. Photo by Jane Reed 17Benazir Bhutto (left) and Matina Horner, president of Radcliffe College, share a moment at Commencement in 1989. Bhutto served as prime minister of Pakistan (1993-96), the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state. She was later assassinated in 2007. Horner was an American psychologist who became the sixth president of Radcliffe College in 1972. Photo by Michael Quan 1South African President Nelson Mandela holds aloft his honorary degree at a special convocation in his honor in 1998. Mandela was an anti-apartheid revolutionary who became South Africa’s first black president after serving 27 years in prison under the white apartheid government. Photo by Mike Quan 3Seiji Ozawa, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), gestures after receiving his honorary degree at Commencement in 2000. His tenure at the BSO lasted for 29 years, the longest of any music director in its history. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 20Vice President Al Gore Jr. applauds at Harvard’s 1994 Commencement, where he was guest speaker. Gore served as the 45th vice president of the United States (1993–2001), under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2000. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 9Architect I.M. Pei waves to the audience before receiving his honorary degree at Commencement in 1995. Born in China, Pei came to the Harvard Graduate School of Design and became a friend of the Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius. Known locally for designing the Hancock tower in Boston, Pei has designed buildings across the world. Photo by Marc Halevi Throughout its 364 commencements, Harvard has awarded hundreds of honorary degrees. In 1753, Benjamin Franklin was granted a master of arts degree, which is generally considered to be the first true honorary degree awarded by Harvard. The first female recipient was Helen Keller, in 1955.The collection of recipients — from fields that range across literature, science, philosophy, mathematics, and the arts — reads like a who’s who throughout history. Among them stand George Washington, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela.Mandela was one of a select few who were awarded degrees at special convocations other than Commencement. The first was George Washington in 1776, shortly after he drove the British troops from Boston. More than a century and a half later, Winston Churchill received a degree during World War II. For safety reasons, his visit was unannounced; the University gathered together under the guise of an academic meeting. At his own convocation in 1998, Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary who became South Africa’s first black president after being imprisoned for 27 years, received his degree.Occasionally, a degree is awarded to someone outside the realm of academia or government. Oseola McCarty, an honorand in 1996, was forced to leave school after the sixth grade, and made a living doing laundry for the next 75 years. At 87, McCarty donated her life savings of $150,000 to help needy black college students in her hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss. She subsequently was given the Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton. 13Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi A. Annan stands to receive his honorary degree in 2004. Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations. He and the United Nations were co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer 14Vaclav Havel (right), first president of the Czech Republic, is applauded by Jeremy Knowles, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as he receives his honorary degree at Commencement in 1995. Havel was a Czech writer and dramatist who gained international fame with a human rights manifesto for which he was imprisoned. He went on to become a symbol of democracy and freedom. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 6John Lewis (center), U.S. representative from Georgia since 1987, is touched by the audience’s ovation at the 2012 Commencement. A leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Lewis became nationally known during his prominent role in the Selma-to-Montgomery marches in 1965. Despite numerous beatings, Lewis emerged as a leader for his courage and commitment to nonviolence. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 15Mary Robinson, the 1998 Commencement speaker, smiles after receiving her honorary degree. Robinson served as the first female president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and was also the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 4Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis sounds off on his trumpet at the start of Commencement in 2009, before receiving his honorary degree. Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, teacher, and music educator. He has won nine Grammys in both jazz and classical music, as well as a Pulitzer Prize for music. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 7Harvard benefactor Walter H. Annenberg congratulates fellow philanthropist and honorary degree recipient Oseola McCarty in 1996. Forced to leave school after the sixth grade, McCarty made a living doing laundry for the next 75 years. The 87-year-old McCarty then donated her life savings of $150,000 to help needy black college students in her hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss. She was subsequently given the Citizens Medal by President Clinton. Photo by Mike Quan 18E.O. Wilson, the American biologist famous for his study of ants, and author Margaret Atwood, the celebrated Canadian writer of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” confer during the Morning Exercises in 2004. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 12Walter Cronkite Jr. signs an autograph before receiving his honorary degree at Commencement in 1981. Cronkite was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the “CBS Evening News” for 19 years (1962–81). He was often cited as “the most trusted man in America.” 11Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War, makes his way through the crowd in Harvard Yard before delivering his Commencement address in 1993. Powell was secretary of state from 2001 to 2005, the first African-American to serve in that position. Photo by Michael Quan 10Oprah Winfrey offers a humble gesture of thanks while being awarded her honorary degree in 2013. Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist best known for her award-winning talk program “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 2Four-time Grammy Award-winning American opera singer Jessye Norman acknowledges applause while standing to receive her honorary degree in 1988. A dramatic soprano, Norman is a successful performer of classical music especially known for her Wagnerian repertoire. Photo by Joe Wrinn 19Mother Teresa hugs a child formerly from her orphanage after delivering the Class Day address in 1982, the day before she received an honorary degree at Commencement. She lived most of her life in India, where she set up schools, soup kitchens, and orphanages. She was awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. Photo by Joe Wrinn 8Actress Meryl Streep blows a kiss after receiving her honorary degree in 2010. Streep won the Academy Award for best actress for her roles in “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and later for “The Iron Lady” (2011). With 18 Academy Award nominations in 35 years, Streep holds the record for most nominated actor, male or female, in film history. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer 5Author John Updike (center) acknowledges applause after receiving his honorary degree at Harvard Commencement in 1992. Updike is flanked by molecular biologist Joan Argetsinger Steitz and violin virtuoso Isaac Stern. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographerlast_img read more

Pluralism Project launches distance learning updates

first_imgAs students and educators struggle with emergency online instruction, and many reluctantly prepare for distance learning in the fall, quality online educational resources have never been more critical. The Pluralism Project’s newly redesigned website, pluralism.org, responds to this urgent need.“The Pluralism Project has long had a wide online presence. But now, with the impact of COVID-19 and the closure of campuses across the U.S., our wholly renovated and easy-to-use website comes at just the right time for the online teaching and learning that is now a necessity,” said Diana L. Eck, the Pluralism Project’s founder and director. “Students in courses on the world’s religions, ethics, immigration, and American religious history will find resources, essays, films and sound files. This is a curricular goldmine.”With this launch, pluralism.org is updated, streamlined, and more accessible. Notable improvements include a redesigned landing page, featuring a video introduction by Eck and updates to some of the most popular content, including new summaries for essays on 17 religions and their encounters with one another in the American context.New educational content also includes:Access to Pluralism Project case studies, resources on the case method, and other case materialsExpanded, extensive news & media, with a regularly-updated selection of news articles and social media and a curated section of films on religious diversity in the U.S.A slideshow on America’s religious landmarks and resources about the changing religious landscape of the U.S., including other mapping projectsA growing interfaith infrastructure section, featuring profiles of interfaith organizations and a directory of interfaith centers in the U.S.A new Harvard University server hosts the site, facilitating ongoing increases in site usage without compromising performance and an extensive archive site, provides access to older materials that are no longer updated but retain research value.Celene Ibrahim, author and teacher at Groton School said, “My students find the site easy to navigate and engaging to explore. We are using the Religious Diversity News feature to keep abreast of how different religious communities are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. I plan to use the Pluralism Project website as my primary textbook next year, whether in the classroom or teaching online.” The redesign of this Webby award-winning pluralism.org website was made possible by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. This grant enabled Pluralism Project staff to work closely with Harvard Web Publishing on the redesign and redevelopment of the site.The soft launch of the website in March, just one week after Harvard University’s campuses closed for COVID-19, was expedited to ensure that increasing demand would not crash the site. Just a few weeks later, pluralism.org is now among the top-15 most frequently visited Harvard sites on the OpenScholar platform with more than 88,000 views even before our formal launch. Ongoing updates and new elements — including webinars and other resources to facilitate distance teaching using the Pluralism Project website — will be added to the site this spring and summer.last_img read more

Chautauqua County District Attorney To Face Challenger In 2020 Election

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) FREDONIA – Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson will face a Republican challenger in the 2020 election.Fredonia native Jason Schmidt recently filed the necessary petitions with the Chautauqua County Conservative Party, according to the Chautauqua County Board of Elections website. Schmidt told WNYNewsNow Friday that he is running, but declined to comment further on the race due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.“There will be a time and place to discuss the issues and distinguish myself from my opponent (Swanson), but now is not the time for political maneuvering,” Schmidt said. “It’s a time for all of us to come together and not draw lines. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone during this crisis.Schmidt, currently a private defense attorney, ran unsuccessfully against then-Acting District Attorney Swanson in 2016. Schmidt previously spent time in the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s office under former DA David Foley, who is now a county judge. The candidate also served under former DA James P. Subjack.The Board of Elections website doesn’t show a potential primary opponent for Schmidt, who received the Republican Party endorsement last month. Swanson also doesn’t appear to have a primary challenger.Swanson previously received the Democratic Party endorsement.last_img read more

Kinder Morgan filings have Trans Mountain Pipeline costing Canadian government an additional $1.5 billion

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Canadian Press service:Kinder Morgan Canada documents say expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline could cost the federal government an additional $1.9 billion (US$1.5 billion) beyond the company’s original construction estimate, and will take another year to complete.The figure is included in documents Kinder Morgan Canada filed Tuesday with the United States Security and Exchange Commission related to the company’s plan to sell the pipeline to the Canadian government for $4.5 billion.Kinder Morgan has long said it would cost $7.4 billion to build a second pipeline parallel to the first in order to triple its capacity, but the financial documents present a number of different construction cost scenarios, with the highest one being $9.3 billion.The documents also suggest construction won’t be complete until December 2021 — a full year beyond its previous projection of December 2020.Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been reluctant to talk about how much more it will cost to build the pipeline while the deal is being finalized.Robyn Allan, an independent economist and former CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, said Kinder Morgan wouldn’t evaluate the fairness of the sale based on numbers that have no bearing on reality.Allan, who said she has expertise on a number of multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects, believes that, in the end, $9.3 billion will seem like a steal compared to the final price tag.“This is the least it’s going to cost,” said Allan.Allan said the only detailed information Canadians have about the particulars of the sale is due to investor laws in the United States and Canada that require Kinder Morgan to file documents outlining the specifics of the deal. Since taxpayers are the shareholders of the project now, she said Canadians deserve the same level of disclosure from Ottawa and they aren’t getting it.More: Cost to twin Trans Mountain pipeline could go $1.9B higher, Kinder Morgan says Kinder Morgan filings have Trans Mountain Pipeline costing Canadian government an additional $1.5 billionlast_img read more

Between 15 to 20 Tons of Pseudoephedrine Seized in Honduras

first_imgBy Dialogo December 03, 2012 Honduran authorities found between 15 to 20 tons of pseudoephedrine or paste to manufacture this drug hidden inside a tunnel on a farm 200 km north of Tegucigalpa, on November 29. “They found 344 bales of the drug, that might be pseudoephedrine or paste, weighing between 15 to 20 tons,” said Elvis Guzmán, the spokesperson for the Prosecutor’s office in the northern part of the country. The police operation started on November 24 and resulted in at least 12 arrests, as well as property seized worth 100 million dollars. According to Guzmán, the drug was wrapped in plastic and tape and hidden inside a 15-meter-long cement tunnel. “This would be the largest drug seizure; however, we still need to verify what kind of drug it is. Everything indicates that it is pseudoephedrine, but we need to verify the exact amount and if there are any more drugs on the premises,” he added. Honduras and other Central American countries have become a transit and storage area for drugs coming from South America, destined for the United States.last_img read more

Anecdotal Economics: Three take-aways from the recent data

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Brian Hague Brian has more than 25 years’ experience in financial institutions and the capital markets, and has devoted 21 years to serving credit unions through various roles at CNBS, LLC, a … Web: www.rochdaleparagon.com Details At the CUNA/Rochdale Paragon ERM Certification and Update Schools presented in April, I taught a session titled “Anecdotal Economics.”  This concept holds that biases in economic thought, industry economists, and relationships in economic variables result in traditional econometric models that are fallible such that they fail to offer any significant predictive value.Rather, by observing the world around us, and focusing on situations in which conditions vary from the normative state as measured against the backdrop of the immutable laws that govern economic activity, we can assess the likelihood and severity of turning points in economic cycles. To that end, presented below are three take-aways from recent economic data that offer insight into the current state of economic affairs, and indicate that things may not be as they seem, or as the pundits would have us believe.HousingGeorge W. Bush famously said, “As housing goes, so goes the economy.”  And the recent housing crisis and resulting bubble and severe recession proved that notion out in ways previously unseen. Today, the housing market appears to be robust. But could another bubble be on the horizon?Examining the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index data for the 20 major markets that make up its composite index provides some clues. The composite index is up 5.3% year-over-year (YOY) as of February 2016, down from January’s post-recession high of 5.7%, but still well above the inflation rate.The laws of economics should tell us that when aggregate prices of owner-occupied residential real estate, which does not generate cash flows, and thus cannot be valued using discounted cash flows, are based on simple supply and demand. The laws tell us that prices are based on supply and demand. Thus, other than in markets where demand is high and the available supply of buildable land is scarce (such as the New York metro), house price growth should roughly approximate the inflation rate. To the extent that the actual growth rate exceeds inflation, by a sufficient margin and for a sustained period of time, a correction is inevitable. This defies conventional wisdom to a degree, but was proven correct from 2007 through 2009.Against that fundamental backdrop, let’s dig deeper into the individual market data that comprise the composite index. Seven of those markets exhibit prices at new record highs, and the recent trajectory of price movements in those markets indicates potential bubbles in each of them. Another eight markets, while not having returned to the highs of the recent housing bubble, exhibit price trends that might suggest bubble-like conditions (although, in at least a couple of those markets, the uptick in the price trend may be too recent to confirm oversold conditions – we must remember that one or two months do not a trend make). This means that as many as 15 of the 20 markets that make up the composite index may be in bubble territory.Looking at some of the largest credit unions in each of those markets, we find that their net real estate loan charge-offs are negative. We can infer from this that, in these markets, while delinquencies and charge-offs may be trending somewhat higher (a trend we’re seeing across collateral types nationwide), recoveries from selling REO in a sharply appreciating market exceed loan balance losses. This is a divergence from the normal state of affairs. And that, according to the concept of anecdotal economics, may be significant.However, the last housing bubble resulted in catastrophe due to a perfect storm of conditions: overbought conditions across a broad swath of markets (a situation that may be emerging today); a dramatic increase in demand for subprime mortgages; an increase in the securitization of those loans; growth in the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) market – in which the worst tranches of those securitized loans were packaged into garbage securities that received triple-A ratings; and a sharp increase in credit default swap (CDS) spreads.Today, the demand for subprime mortgages is nil, CDO issuance is down, and CDS spreads are narrowing for junk bond categories, and are not spiking for higher credit quality obligations. In other words, in spite of the bubbly appearance of housing prices in many markets, and the trend in net charge-offs, another catastrophic house price bubble does not appear to be a threat. Worst-case, we could be setting the stage for a credit-driven recession along the lines of that experienced in 1990-91, and even that could be a year or more away. And there are other, more significant threats over that horizon. Notably, the upcoming election, which presents perhaps the most significant risk of any presidential election in history, in economic (and other) terms.ManufacturingOne of the most reliable indicators (leading to concurrent) of economic downturns has been the Industrial Production (IP) index (should this be IPI Industrial Production Index) viewed on a YOY basis. This is hard data that is far more reliable than survey-based manufacturing indices, such as the regional Fed indices or the national Institution for Supply Management index. Other than in 1998 – when IP YOY suggested a downturn, but unexpected Fed easing to stave off the failure of a large hedge fund propped up the economy for another couple of years before the dot-com bubble burst – this measure has reliably predicted, or correlated with, recessions.Today, IP YOY is -2.0%, and has been negative since last September, which saw the lowest YOY rate since 2009.  Negative readings on IP YOY have traditionally suggested recessions. Yet, the domestic economy continues to grow. (While the 2016 Q1 GDP growth rate was a relatively paltry 0.5%, recent years have seen weak first-quarter output growth numbers, only to be reversed in subsequent quarters.)What can we infer from this? It appears from the manufacturing data that conditions suggest we should be in recession, but – as in 1998 – central bank intervention is preventing that occurrence.  (We must avoid the temptation to believe that we are in a “new economy;” the rules of supply and demand that drive the economy are immutable, and we have not been in a “new economy” since we were wearing animal skins and trading rocks.) The Fed’s ongoing easy-money policies are sustaining an otherwise weakening economy, and the Fed is increasingly responding to the stock market. The tail is wagging the dog, in other words. And the biggest risk is that when some exogenous shock drives the economy over the edge, the Fed (Barney Fife) will have no bullets in its pocket to stave off or recover from a recession.What might drive that recession? Weakness in China? Consider that when Japan – then the second-largest world economy – encountered weakness in the early 1990s, US GDP grew throughout that decade while Japan’s growth was decimated. We will survive a slowing of growth in China, a common occurrence in maturing emerging markets. The UK exiting the EU? This will be a bigger concern for the weaker members of the EU than for the major players in the developed world. The energy sector? We are seeing firming in domestic energy prices, and the downturn in that sector has resulted in improved efficiencies in domestic energy production that can only be seen as beneficial in the long run.The most significant exogenous risks on the horizon are, again, the upcoming US presidential (and, by extension, down-ticket) elections, and the potential for a catastrophic terror event.EmploymentFinally, let’s look at the latest US jobs report, from April 2016. The report was largely panned as being weak:Nonfarm payrolls “only” grew by 160k, the smallest increase since September and below the Q1 average of 200k/mo.  However, that’s still a pretty healthy gain, better than three of the months in 2015 and not far off January’s 168k gain.February and March combined payroll growth was revised down a total of 19k jobs, but both months’ gains remained above 200k – a steady, sustainable growth rate.The unemployment rate remained at 5.0%, mainly due to a decline in the labor force participation rate (more on that later). Note that the jobless rate has only been at or below 5% – Fed Chair Yellen’s “target” – about a third of the time since 1939.Average hourly earnings were the bright spot, growing 0.3% for the month and 2.5% YOY (vs. 2.3% in March, and against virtually non-existent inflation).The labor force shed 362k jobs.But things may not be as they seem, if we examine the underlying demographics.  Regarding labor force participation, the baby boom generation (born 1946-1964, a 19-year span) totaled 76.4M people. The average US retirement age is 62. Thus we can assume that the first eight years of boomer births (assuming they’re roughly equally distributed over those 19 years) have retired, and the last of the boomers will retire in 2026, ten years hence. So about 32.2M, or 42%, have already retired, with another 44.2M to retire over the next ten years. That’s 4.42M/year, or 368k/month.  That number looks awfully close to the decline in the labor force in April; in fact, it suggests that net of retirements, the labor force may have added about 6,000 jobs in April – not stellar, but still growing. We can expect to see pressure on the participation rate until the boomers are all retired.The upshot of all of this is as follows:We are likely in an economy that is sufficiently weak, given the fundamentals, to be considered in, or approaching, recessionary conditions. However, Fed policy is already easy to the point that the risk of recession is being kicked down the road, at least for now.The domestic housing market is approaching bubble conditions, but improvements in the underlying credit quality – both on a granular and the broader securitized levels – suggest that any ensuing crash will be muted, and would result in a downturn along the lines of the 1990-91 credit-driven downturn, as opposed to the more recent Great Recession.The employment picture is relatively positive, in light of demographics.So what are the most significant risks to the current scenario?The upcoming US election cycle, which could result in increased regulation, high tariffs, high domestic tax rates, increased global exogenous risks, and increased acrimony among the electorate.An unforeseen exogenous shock, most likely related to increased risk of terrorist activity.The unwinding of bloated global central bank balance sheets – as those central banks have increasingly engaged in quantitative easing to address recessionary concerns, the failure to carefully coordinate unwinding those assets by price-insensitive central banks could result in a fire-sale mentality in those asset markets, which could result in sharply higher market interest rates. However, this is likely many years away, especially given the other exigent prevailing risks.The bottom line is that, as long as Fed (and global central bank) policy remains accommodative, the economy will likely continue to perk along at a sustainable pace.  The real risks will emerge after the next US President is sworn in next January, and may not fully emerge for a number of months thereafter.last_img read more

Top tech for mobile banking? GPS.

first_imgWe’ve all been there – wherever there is. Those times we find ourselves away from home, on a business trip, or vacation, or just lost and too proud to ask for directions. We’re somewhere we’ve never been before, looking for a street name or an address or a recognizable landmark to know where we are. If you’ve ever tried to navigate your way through an unfamiliar place, at some point, you’ve probably relied on a map app on your smartphone – such as Google Maps – to guide you to your destination.Google Maps, like most map apps, uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to identify approximate location and thus help show where you are in the world. It does this by leveraging an ever-expanding network of satellites in space high above us – GPS satellites traveling ~ 9,000 miles per hour (~14.5K kilometers), orbiting ~12,000 miles (~20K kilometers) above wherever you’re standing. Satellites move so fast that their time actually moves slightly faster in space than it does for us on Earth – about 35-40 microseconds per day faster. This time difference aligns with Einstein’s general theory of relativity.Though the time difference is small, it must be accounted for: otherwise the differences between where the satellites think you are, and where you actually are, get out of sync – by as much as 5 to 6 miles in a single day. That difference could accidentally walk you off a long pier into the ocean, over a cliff at the Grand Canyon, or leave you standing in the middle of the Los Angeles freeway … continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Swipe right: How credit unions can benefit from the national surge in card use

first_imgAfter two full quarters of data collection, the results are in: consumers are in love with their cards—and we’re not talking about the ones used to play Solitaire. Now that people want to minimize hand-to-hand exchanges between themselves and strangers, cash is no longer king. Debit and credit card use increased over 75% compared to last year, and many expect to see an even greater jump going into the holiday season.So, what does this mean for financial institutions like credit unions?It’s time to re-examine how you market, brand, and advertise your cards. With more people searching for a better way to spend, it’s important to let them know you have the solutions they need. Contactless Payments On The RiseRetailers big and small recognize that a preference for cashless transactions is more than a matter of convenience—it’s a matter of anxiety reduction. A Back to Business study conducted by Visa revealed that 48% of Americans will not shop at stores requiring contact with a cashier or a shared surface like a POS terminal. With all things equal including price, quality, and location, 63% would switch to a store that offers contactless payment over one that doesn’t. Shop owners know providing the means to minimize contact between their staff and customers is key to keeping their storefronts afloat while taking every safety precaution into consideration. Even though object-to-person transmission of most viruses is relatively rare, people still refuse to take the risk—62% of consumers cite a fear of getting sick through money handling as the primary reason why they are choosing touch-free payment options. Affirming these findings from Visa, a recent NRF report showed that 67% of retail spaces now offer some form of non-touch payment for shoppers. Make sure your team is taking the right steps to keep pace with this trend, especially since it’s an easy one to adopt. Apple, Samsung, and Google all have easy guides to link up your institution with their contactless services. Whether it’s true or not, credit unions still have a reputation for trailing behind banks in adopting new technology. It’s pivotal to let people know this kind of tech is in your bag of tricks. Offering and promoting these new ways to pay also lets members and small businesses know you’re aware of their needs and have their back.Coin Shortages Offer OpportunityThe rise in card usage across the U.S. also comes at a cost: coin shortages. This news isn’t particularly breaking in the credit union world, but how you perceive this sudden change matters. It’s more than just a point of frustration for your day-to-day operations—it’s also an opportunity to court potential members.Ultimately, most of us are happy to have fewer pennies weighing down our pockets, but the coin shortage puts significant stress on the 6% of American households without bank accounts or credit union memberships. With the current stall in cash circulation, many have a new motivation to bring their money to a financial institution. If your credit union has membership requirements complimenting the needs of these individuals, it might be time to consider a campaign that lets these audiences know you’re here to help. To many of America’s “unbanked,” access to a credit union seems unobtainable under normal circumstances, let alone right now. But, this misconception mostly stems from a lack of outreach done by financial institutions. The simple act of letting the public know about your minimum account requirements can do more than just enhance your membership numbers—it can empower people to build stronger financial futures.What’s In A Name? Everything. With monikers like Lemonade, Chime, and Picnic dominating the fintech world, your card naming limitations are only restricted by your imagination. You’d be surprised how something as simple as a unique name can make your product seem less stuffy and more person-focused. Most of these newer companies market themselves by emphasizing a “people over profits” mindset—even though that’s a benefit originally synonymous with credit unions. Since your card likely involves a partnership with either Visa or Mastercard, make sure consumers know your card is accepted worldwide while offering the low rates credit unions are famous for. With smarter branding and naming choices, your team can re-stake its claim as the ultimate person-first institution. Like a great name, an eye-catching card design turns a standard-issue plastic square into a valuable piece of brand awareness. Think of credit and debit cards as marketing collateral your members show off whenever they make a purchase. A bland design yields a bland consumer response. Don’t miss an opportunity to stand out.No matter what you choose for a name or design, make sure it matches the tone of what your overall brand signifies. Do you have an official color scheme? A poignant mission statement? A logo that calls upon a piece of local history? Keep in mind what makes you unique while finding a name that plays up the card’s benefits. For consumers across the U.S., credit union accessibility is more widespread than ever, especially with the latest NCUA rule in place. The ball is in your court. With fewer limitations holding you back from growing to your full potential, now is an ideal time to help people navigate a new, cash-free world. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Ben Prager Prior to forming Prager Creative, Ben worked with design studios, branding firms and advertising agencies to push great strategy and design for all his projects. His experience with all aspects … Web: www.pragercreative.com/creditunions Detailslast_img read more

Middle Island Man Facing Upgraded Charges in Fatal Drugged-driving Crash

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Suffolk County grand jury indicted a Middle Island man on upgraded charges for allegedly causing a drugged-driving crash that killed a 45-year-old man in Shirley last month, prosecutors said.Kendell Owens pleaded not guilty Wednesday at Suffolk County court to charges of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while impaired by drugs and other counts.Prosecutors said the 32-year-old suspect was driving eastbound on Montauk Highway when his vehicle struck a northbound sedan at the corner of William Floyd Parkway on Aug. 11.The second driver, 45-year-old Richard Garcia of Shirley, was pronounced dead at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue.Owens, who allegedly ran from the scene, was apprehended several blocks from the crash before he admitted to police that he had smoked marijuana, according to investigators.Judge Fernando Camacho set bail for Owens at $1 million cash or $2 million bond.last_img read more