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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?

And walk to the Jefferson Memorial.

Friday Mark and I were to fly to Rome and drive to Greve, Italy where we would share a Villa with dear friends for a week of wine tasting.

United Airlines had another plan. We found ourselves in an airport hotel with two full days on our hands. What to do?

Day One: Take the Metro into town and take in the monuments. World War II, Korean and Viet Nam wars, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and of course the giant phallic symbol – the Washington Monument. It was a perfect day. Sunny and warm (not too humid). We definitely worked off the pity party of the night before that involved lots of cheese and vodka.

Day Two: Mark got on Google Maps – went East to the shore looking for a knife and a fork and found Tim’s River Shore Restaurant and Crab Shack. Need I say more? We sat on the beach (in sand) along the Potomac and ate our weight in crab, washed it down with beer, while listening to a local Boomer band cover Jimmy Buffet tunes. Sublime.

Day Three: Today. Slept in. Did our laundry at the hotel to wash away the stench of disappointment and well….crabs. We are back at the airport, waiting to board our flight to Munich and then Rome.

Life is good.



Before I figured out a way to use my Dexter in marketing.

This is what you get when you combine a minty bone with a ShihTzu Maltese and iPhone 4 (with video capability) and a brilliant copywriter friend with a warped sense of humor and Final Cut Pro.


Mark and I adopted a 7 week old Maltese/Shih Tzu mix today. I had a “dog child” before – my beloved Miss Mavis. But she was from a previous marriage – and although Mark was an excellent stepfather – this feels so different. This is our dog.

We never had real children, so this is as close as we’ll get. I can only imagine that some of these things are similar. Like last night at PetSmart – I spent….a lot…..cuz he needed everything! Car seat, crib, diapers (puppy potty training pads) food, toys, bathing accessories. People should get “puppy showers” just like baby showers I’m thinking.

I also had this nervous feeling last night – my life will be forever changed. No more passing out on the couch with empty wine bottles on the floor. I’ll have to pick them up so the puppy doesn’t get hurt batting around the room. No more rolling over and hitting the snooze button – that boy will have to go out and pee!

When I told my friends, family and co-workers that we named him Dexter several protested. “What a horrible name! Isn’t that the name of a serial killer?” Yes – but a GOOD serial killer, I pointed out. I had a friend who wisely told no one what she planned to name her child. No matter what name you pick there’s always someone who had an ex or creepy schoolmate or relative with “that name.”

Today he arrived. He’s still a baby so he kind of sleeps, eats and poops and pees – and plays a little bit. He HATED the car seat and screamed like a banshee when i put him in it. I’m a bad mom, I took him out and let him sit in my lap – while I was driving! I went all Britney Spears!

My friends are giving me puppy raising advice. Be tough – don’t give in – let him cry! I can’t. I would’ve been a terrible mother.

So world – look forward to the many adventures of Dexter Wymore-Sadowski.

On the way home last night NPR was taking a look BACK to the year 2000. Beginning with Conan O’Brien’s hilariously eery song “in the year 2000……”

Wow – it’s amazing how many of those came true!

So now – a look to the future. To the year two thousand……twenty.

  • Reality shows will have “jumped the shark” when The Real Househusbands of Detroit take on Dancing with Snakes and it goes horribly awry.
  • Automobiles run on charm – abandoned vehicles litter the streets and highways – Generation Y turns then into condos and forms communes.
  • Steve Jobs introduces the iEye. It’s like a contact lens and allows you to watch movies, check iMail, your Facepad and work for TSA.
  • Starbucks dispenses marijuana brownies in the first month after legalization of the weed. Sales soar.

What might be your predictions for the year two thousand….twenty?

It arrived. Our free range, locally grown, tom turkey. Weighing in at a whopping 28 pounds! To quote Richard Dreyfuss in the groundbreaking movie Jaws upon first setting eyes on the great white:

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat (roasting pan).”

I consulted the classic Betty Crocker cookbook for recommended roasting time. Her helpful guide stopped at 22 pounds. We had to do math.

You know how they recommend you “pat the skin dry with paper towels” to ensure a crisp crust? Well, we decided a roll of paper towels couldn’t dry this beast – so we resorted to this:

(shot on an iPhone 4 and edited in iMovie)

Happy Black Friday.

Several months ago I was asked, “Would you like to buy a turkey chick and have me raise it on my farm?” This was from a dear friend who was embarking on an organic farm business in Camas, Washington. She named her little patch of wonder Shangri-La Farms. I’ve been on her egg delivery route for months. There’s nothing like a farm fresh egg.

So it seemed like a great idea to raise this turkey, and as Liz says “Know Where Your Food Comes From.” I’m in.

Tomorrow he dies.

I got this email from my farmer friend:

I am happy to announce that you will have the freshest Turkey possible for your Thanksgiving table!

On Wednesday, November 24th, (the day before Thanksgiving) I am driving my live turkeys to Boring, Oregon at 8am where they will be butchered and dressed out by a professional!  After a few hours, they will be ready and I will bring them back to Camas.  I want to deliver the turkeys straight to your home as soon as I return to Camas, probably around 11am.  It will take me about an hour or more to make all the rounds.

I don’t know why this should feel weird. I guess it’s like ordering fish and having it arrive whole – eyes staring up at you. Or getting a little piece of aorta in your burger. Too real.

Of course Mark has jokingly suggested we “pardon” our turkey. But then I’ll have to drive to Whole Foods and pay too much for a fresh free ranger – again. I’m going to let him die.

I heard that Obama isn’t sending the pardoned turkey to Disneyland (like Bush did) instead he’s going back to our roots and letting this turkey live out its days in Mount Vernon at George Washington’s home. He doesn’t want that turkey to go through TSA – can you imagine that deep cavity search?

Gobble Gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all.

UPDATE November 24, 2010, 3:50pm: I just received an email from Farmer Liz. It simply said this: “The butcher guy was frozen this morning so everything is behind schedule. The turkey should be done by 5:00.”

I’m frightened…..

CLARIFICATION November 24, 2010 4:00pm: (from a friend who also sentenced a turkey to death today) “The guy who helped the birds commit suicide had frozen pipes this morning and that set everything back….”

Turkey Kevorkian……

I’m back in the office after a life-changing trip to Fishers Indiana. The first annual CU Watercooler Symposium was a giant success. It was an experiment that could have gone totally wrong. As a meeting planner and public speaker for years, I have to say it had so many opportunities to implode. The planning was unconventional, the coordinators for the most part inexperienced, the venue, a credit union – and did I mention in Fishers Indiana?

I was one of 11 editors tasked with pulling this off. I “hired” a speaker for expenses only. Always dicey. Let’s face it – there are two schools of thought on this strategy. You get what you pay for and he doesn’t really have a contract so if something better comes up, I’m screwed.

I met my speaker choice the night before the gig. I trusted that he would a. show up, b. show up sober and c. deliver the goods. I’m happy to say he did all three and more. He was so great CU Times approached him directly after his speech and this appeared by the end of the day!

The Watercooler was streaming live to audiences all over the nation. Most attendees live tweeted. There was no place to hide. The CU Warrior and Tim McAlpine just put it out there. And it was brilliant. They took everything we hold sacred in the conference arena and just tossed it lovingly out the window.

The biggest difference for me though was not the agenda, or the way speakers were “found” but the audience. These people wanted to be there. There was no golf, we stayed at the Hampton, we ate buffet food and we partied at Cheeseburger in Paradise.

It felt like some weird version of summer camp. At the end there was hugging and “see you next years” and a sense of belonging I’ve seldom felt at a regular conference. In just two short days there was bonding on the level of a DE or CUNA Management School. We worked hard, we played hard.

At this stage in my career, I feel very blessed to have been a part of this. A page has turned. Here’s to the next 10 years. The 2020 vision of credit union conferences is changing. Long live the Watercooler!

Matt Davis, the Credit Union Warrior asked 11 people that he trusts to “tag” a speaker. Someone that is not a part of the usual speaker circuit. These speakers were asked to spake for love – aka as travel expenses. The exotic location? Fishers, Indiana.

No golf.

No spa.

No fancy resort.

125 people showed up this morning to FORUM Credit Union to hear 11 amazing speakers. No board members, a few CEOs but mostly middle management. Many are here on their own dime. There’s free wifi in this state of the art meeting space. We have a Twitter hashtag #cuwcs. There’s going to be a rockband contest tonight. Many are blogging and rumor has it CU Times is providing a video stream.

Our opening speaker just opened up with one slide that simply says “SEX”

This is going to be a weird day – stay tuned.

10:05am (Eastern)

Robbie Wright just finished up. Kicked it off with some pretty in-your-face opinions which got the audience riled up. In a good way.

Now Ondine Irving is telling her amazing story. About how Twitter connected her with Suze Orman and Oprah. Guess what? Twitter.

11:18am (Eastern)

Joe Staples, Interactive Intelligence is on stage showing us amazingly scary statistics on social media. Twitter is the new way to communicate according to the stats – and the brilliance? Brevity. 140 characters. Get to the damn point.

1:08pm (Eastern)

Rebecca Corliss, HubSpot just showed a video of her singing Alanis Morrisette’s angry ballad You Oughta Know but the target of the angst was not the trashy boyfriend whore – it was traditional marketers!

2:21pm (Eastern)

Two words. Ed. Brett. No slides. No fear. Challenged the crap out of us. Service, not really important – if you’re not good at banking, service doesn’t matter. Your members only need you when they need you. They don’t want you. Especially don’t want you on Facebook.

The mood in the room is shifting from conference to “Come to Jesus.” Can I get an Amen?



8:54am (Eastern)

Tim McAlpine kicked off day two with an acknowledgement of Matt Davis’, (The Credit Union Warrior) commitment to this conference and to the movement. I have felt for some time that the Warrior is Edward Filene reincarnated (minus the wealthy Boston merchant detail). One of the reasons Mr. Filene was so successful so quickly with the concept of a financial cooperative – he funded the efforts himself. Because he was not beholden to dues or an employer, he was free to say what needed to be said. People no doubt criticized him, but he did not care. His passion overrode his ego.

Matt currently works for the Filene Research Institute. Only seems fitting. And to their credit and in the spirit of our founder, they have given him the freedom to do and say what needs to be said and done.

This conference is just the beginning. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s challenging the status quo, and not by an angry mob (like I’ve seen recently in response to the corporate recapitalization) but by people who truly believe in our business model and see it losing ground.

If we do not youth-a-nize American credit unions we will literally die of old age. I’m one of the oldest people at this conference. Ironically I am exactly the average age of American credit unions members: 48.

Yesterday we were challenged by many speakers outside of our industry. And last night we spoke of such taboo topics as:

Why don’t we have term limits for boards?

Taxation. Some believe credit unions should be taxed.

The failed attempts at a national brand campaign. The consensus was this is a waste of money and time.

I’m looking forward to today – stay tuned…..

Gawd – it’s three weeks until the elections and I personally cannot WAIT for these political ads to stop. It’s a bizarre piece of marketing when you think about it. Because political marketing is never FOR their politician, it’s always AGAINST the competition. If a credit union were to take this tactic (and they never would) the ads would go a little somethin’ like this:

Opening scene: (black background, sinister piano riff, akin to the Exorcist) A picture of the main branch of Anywhere CU appears….

Voiceover: Anywhere CU hates children. In fact, the average age of this financial co-op is 52.

(Montage of pics of old members begin to wipe in and out of view)

Voiceover: Their membership continues to vote for board members that have served for over 25 years – ensuring that Gen Y will never be represented.

In very small print at the bottom of the screen a disclaimer: SOURCE: Annual Meeting Minutes of Anywhere CU 2010.

Voiceover: Anywhere CU has a 28% approval ratio for consumer loans and their loan-to-share ratio is 52% and declining. They approved a policy that requires A+ credit and 10 years on the job securing a loan portfolio aimed at Boomers.

Anywhere CU hates youth.

(Very fast talker ends commercial) The views expressed in this ad are not approved by the NCUA or CUNA which is a crazy ass anagram when you think about it.

Fade to black.


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June 2023