You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.

At 3:00am my phone rang. You never want a call in the middle of the night. It can only be bad. This morning a recording told me that the Las Conchas fire is approaching Cochiti Lake, New Mexico and we needed to be prepared to evacuate.

When I went to bed I knew of the fire, and saw some smoke. This is a record year for forest fires in New Mexico. But now I could clearly see a line of flames like a necklace on the mountains behind our house.

I was shaking, and thinking, what do I take? What a weird and great experiment on values and character. What to take? Knowing that your house could burn down. I grabbed Dexter of course, and the two rings I wear everyday. And for some reason my toothbrush, I threw on my tennis shoes, sweats a t-shirt and a baseball cap. Still shaking I grabbed Dexter’s favorite toy, his dog food, leash and collar. Took one more look back at the house, grabbed a cross I have hanging by the back door that I touch every morning before I go to work – the word “Cuidado” is etched in it. .

Here’s a link to the map of the fire as of 10:00 this morning. Please pray for those in Los Alamos and White Rock. They have been through this once already.

So, what would you take? If you only had 15 minutes to pack your “stuff”……’s a great question.

UPDATE: Yesterday was crazy. Running on three hours of sleep I went into work with Dexter waiting for Mark to arrive. His plane landed at 1:00pm and I met him at the house in Cochiti. There were reports of the golf course burning and the apple orchard up the street. It’s funny how facts get skewed in times of chaos. By the grace of God and the invention of the sprinkler, the 15th hole of Cochiti Lake Golf Course was spared. So were the apple trees at Dixon.

Mark and Dexter are holding down the fort. We are still under a voluntary evacuation at Cochiti Lake. All of Los Alamos was evacuated yesterday. The fire continues to burn out of control and the winds are predicted to pick up again at noon.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Financial institutions under $10 billion in assets (the majority of credit unions) were exempt from the Interchange amendment?  Really exempt. No tricks.


What if the big banks add a bunch of stupid fees and start charging for checking?


What if that’s the tipping point for the inertia that has plagued so many consumers and people decide they are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” and really DO move their money to credit unions?


What if — we’re ready?

The other day in a meeting we were talking about our checking account and someone asked “Now, when you say CHECKING you also mean debit, home banking, bill pay, etc…right?” What a great question. When is the last time you went to the market and stood behind some young person writing a check? I mean our members probably still write checks because their average age is 48 and climbing  but isn’t it time we renamed checking?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – banking is an errand. Our members don’t get to come to the credit union, they have to. And the center of that errand universe is the checking account. Raise your hand if you’ve moved your checking account recently? And I say “moved” because when we open a new account for a member, rarely is it their first ever checking account. They have chosen to move their financial life. There is no bigger pain in the ass than moving your checking account in my opinion.

It used to be as simple as leaving some money in the old account – stop writing checks – and give me a few temporary checks to get me by. Oh, and move my direct deposit. Done.

Today I have to call my wine club with my new debit card number that I probably won’t get for two weeks. Then I have to remember to get online and change my card on my Netflix account. Oh, and re-enter my mortgage information on Bill Pay. Not to mention my stored information on my and records. Temporary checks? What do I do with those? Just try and buy a tank of gas with a temporary check.

I don’t write checks. I try to make my life as automated as possible – so when it comes to changing that world….don’t you dare hand me a switch kit. I have yet to see one that helps me out – instead it just illustrates how difficult this is going to be. Out of respect for this act, I propose we rename checking.

We need to be able to easily complete this sentence:

“I’m going to the credit union to deposit this in my ______________ account.”

Money account?
Transaction account?
Settlement account?
Bluetooth account?

When I bought my iPad last month I finally understood what Bluetooth technology was all about. You see I bought this really cool cover by Kensington that had a Bluetooth keyboard. It talks to my iPod without the aid of wires! Amazing!

Don’t judge! Today technologies are named things like “blue” + “tooth” and we’re supposed to magically figure out what that means?

So now I’m trying to understand Near Field Communication, and Steve Jobs’ obsession with adding it to the next generation iPhone and what that has to do with credit unions. At least the words make some sense. Look at this illustration.

No one disrupts industries better than Jobs. Think about it, the iPad is not something that we needed, and if you remember the early press – that anyone was supposed to want.

And yet, with one simple device Apple made the following industries obsolete:

1. record stores
2. video stores
3. book publishers
4. television
5. cameras
6. telephones (Facetime)

And the following products

1. photo albums
2. playing cards
3. board games
4. CD players
5. phone books
6. address books

and the list goes on and on…..

I have feared for years that someone like Jobs or Bezos would “iPod” this old beast we call banking. I mean we are ripe for revolution. And after the “too big to fail” bank bailouts and economic collapse, people are mad as hell. The sacred cow of banking may be ready for the grill.

When the e-wallet debuts in all of its Apple glory – will it make us obsolete? It could make debit cards irrelevant, right? The key to this is the payment system that already exists in iTunes.

According to a Tech Crunch article:

The main goal for Apple would be to get a piece of the $6.2 trillion Americans spend each year on goods and services. Today, the company pays credit-card processing fees on every purchase from iTunes. By encouraging consumers to use cheaper methods – such as tapping into their bank accounts directly, which is how many purchases are made via PayPal – Apple could cut its own costs and those of retailers selling Apple’s products.

That makes me believe that we are still needed. We are the authorized movers of money after all.

The Federal Reserve System will keep us safe.  According to my friend Wiki Pedia:

Their duty is to conduct the nation’s monetary policy, supervise and regulate banking institutions, maintain the stability of the financial system and provide financial services to depository institutions, the US government, and foreign official institutions.

Whew. And they are doing a bang up job.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 993 other subscribers


June 2011