Thursday, June 19, 2014

Firefighters Wanted!


ncofcu logo 2014 R5The National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc. (NCOFCU) is looking for firefighters who serve on credit union boards or committees. For over 13 years firefighters from across the country have been meeting to collaborate on how they can better provide products and services to their credit union membership. Weather you serve on a firefighter, police, municipal or other credit union board or committee, this collaboration among your peer group of fellow firefighters is irreplaceable. Please take a minute and visit our website at to see what awaits you.

Grant Sheehan Executive Director
National Coalition of Firefighters Credit Unions Inc.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Paul Harvey "Fireman" At his BEST he tells what its like to be a firefighter

Miami’s condo euphoria treads a historically familiar trail | Miami Today


If you’ve been around Miami at least a decade you recall the euphoria that’s causing condos to spring up faster than we can count.

“At this rate, we’ll have 12,000 [units] just this year,” architect Willy Bermello told fellow members of the Miami’s Urban Development Review Board two weeks ago as more than 1,300 units in four unrelated towers sought approval.

Mind you, he only tallied what’s about to rise inside the city of Miami, the county’s hottest but not only boom area.

As with all of Miami’s many booms, this one has unique elements, the reasons those caught up in the cycle use to assure anyone worried about a bubble that “this time is different” – which is always true right up to the point that it isn’t.

This time indeed differs from the bust eight years ago: buyers now finance construction, not the banks that did it last time and certainly not developers, who for years have operated on OPM – other people’s money.

So if condo values should ever fall – and it’s a safe bet that they will by some percentage someday – it’s the buyers who’ll be losers, nobody else.

And since most buyers are foreigners who rent out their units, bankers and developers take comfort, telling us that none of us will get hurt if the bubble bursts.

Nobody wants to talk about this, because lots of jobs and income are at stake. Why shake up the market?

Well, nobody wanted to talk about it in the past decade, either. In fact, nobody ever wants to talk about it.

Last decade, the global economic slide left more than 20,000 unsold condos in the county. We all thought they’d linger on the market – but fortunately the current boom soaked them up, leaving a hunger for more.

Developers are more than happy to feed that hunger. They are feeding it quickly. In downtown alone, 49 projects with 16,843 units are listed in preconstruction, though in their frenzy developers may already have begun some of them.

Thankfully, they’re building high-quality buildings. They will fill a need. Condos won’t go begging. The only question is, at what price? How long will it take foreign buyers to regain their full investments in sales or to rent profitably long term?

At the right purchase price, these units are all solid investments. But defining “the right purchase price” is tricky as the frenzy sends the sale price per foot of new units soaring.

Before the last bust $300 per square foot defined a luxury condo. The same units bring more than $600 per foot today. New condos are pricing well above $1,000 per foot – and getting their price.

Continued > Miami’s condo euphoria treads a historically familiar trail | Miami Today

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Three Key Obligations of Board Chairs

Focus on duties related to the organization, board processes and leadership.

By Leisa Goodman CUES

How do you measure a chairperson’s effectiveness? Ask 10 different board members, and you may just get 10 different answers.

Ask Les Wallace, Ph.D., president of Signature Resources, Aurora, Colo., and facilitator of CUES' first-ever Board Chair Development Seminar this spring, and he’ll tell you a chair’s duties can be broken down into three key areas.

1. Organizational obligations

  • Keep a watchful eye on fiduciary oversight.
  • Ensure the board is taking ownership of strategy.
  • Make sure the CEO’s direction is on course.

2. Process obligations

  • Manage the agenda. Wallace suggests this agenda for efficient, productive meetings:
  1. Convene
  2. Consent agenda—routine, non-controversial items collected into a group for a streamlined motion and vote
  3. Financials—a “skinny” report that provides what’s needed, but not too much detail that gets into the weeds
  4. Strategy
    • Manage meeting dialogue and discussion.
    • Be ready to have the tough conversations regarding board behavior.
      What to do with quiet or unprepared board members? “As chair, you can call on the quiet ones,” suggests Wallace. “For those who come unprepared, you may have to take a range of efforts. The first time it happens, just have a conversation with the board member. You can be a gentle coach, but you need to address it.”
      At the end of each meeting, Wallace suggests doing a very quick self-evaluation. “Ask things like, did everyone come prepared? Did we do everything we set out to accomplish? What can we do better next time?” he said.

    3. Leadership obligations

    • Set the tone, and be an example of preparation and service.
    Leisa Goodman is a CUES marketing specialist

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    Florida cities lead in short sales

    The Associated Press

    ForeclosureORLANDO, Fla. -- Florida metro areas continued to lead the nation in short sales of homes in April.

    The research firm RealtyTrac said last week that Orlando, Lakeland, Tampa, and Palm Bay had the highest rates of short sales in the nation. The rates for those metro areas ranged from almost 15 percent to more than 13 percent of all home sales.

    The nationwide rate in April was 5.2 percent.

    A short sale occurs when a home is sold for less than the amount owed on the property.

    There was a bright spot in Florida from the RealtyTrac report.

    The report says Miami had one of the fastest price appreciation rates in the nation in April. Home values in Miami grew by 20 percent from the previous year, according to RealtyTrac.

    ORLANDO, Fla.: Fla. cities lead in short sales - Florida Wires -

    Lets welcome Elizabeth Ellis of the CFPB to our lineup of speakers!

    Elizabeth Ellis ProfileElizabeth Ellis serves as the Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Financial In-stitutions and Business Liaison. As part of this role, she also serves as Director Cordray’s deputy for the FDIC Board. She has most recently been the Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff at the CFPB. Prior to joining the CFPB, she was a Financial Ana-lyst at the Congressional Oversight Panel, where she evaluated the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and reviewed the state of financial markets and the regulatory system. Previously, Ms. Ellis was a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where she worked in the banking and capital markets audit practice. Ms. Ellis re-ceived her B.S. in Finance and M.S. in Accountancy from Wake Forest University. She is a CPA, licensed in North Carolina.

    Sunday, June 1, 2014

    The big squeeze on small credit unions | Comstock's magazine


    Half of Credit Unions May Go Under

    The credit union industry as a whole is booming. Last year it added a record 2.4 million members nationwide. Today, nearly 40 percent of American adults belong to a credit union.

    But almost all those gains can be attributed to a smattering of the largest credit unions. While the 100 biggest credit unions represent only 1.4 percent of the industry, they contribute half of the asset growth and about 90 percent of its member growth, according to banking industry trade journal  The Financial Brand.

    Meanwhile, the number of small credit unions, those with less than $100 million in assets, is shriveling over time. Every month, about 20 small credit unions are lost to mergers and closures. According to The Financial Brand forecasts, half of all credit unions will disappear by 2032 if trends  continue at current pace.

    New Rules, More Demands

    Credit unions and banks alike have complained about outsized costs associated with new regulations ushered in by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    For example, new federal regulations > Continued > The big squeeze on small credit unions | Comstock's magazine