Vermont farmer wins as DHS agrees to close Morses Line border crossing

first_imgUS Senator Patrick Leahy announced Thursday that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has agreed with his request to close the border crossing at Morses Line, Vermont.  The closure process will involve a public comment period, extensive consultations with stakeholders, and further assessments on safety and traffic patterns — steps that Secretary Napolitano estimates will likely take a year to complete.In a letter to Napolitano after a DHS public meeting on May 23 requested by Leahy, the Vermont senator noted that public comments at the meeting were against building a new port of entry facility at the U.S.-Canada crossing in Franklin County, which would have meant the forced purchase of farm property from a Vermont farm family that opposes the project.Leahy said, “Maintaining an entry port at Morses Line was far less complicated in an earlier era, but the security needs of today would require many improvements.  Meeting today’s security standards for this port, which handles very little traffic, would cost more than $5 million and require the forced taking of a farmer’s property.  The decision to close it is an appropriate conclusion to this process.  Closing this seldom-used crossing solves that dilemma, saves taxpayers’ money and protects the Rainville family’s farmland.”“I appreciate Secretary Napolitano’s leadership and responsiveness,” Leahy continued.  “She agreed to my request to hold a public meeting in Vermont on this proposal, she agreed to listen to Vermonters, and she agreed to promptly make an informed decision.  She kept her word.”Source: Leahy’s office. (THURSDAY, June 3, 2010)last_img read more

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A Machiavellian credit union strategy

first_imgThe long-term survival of credit unions, both as individual charters and as a cooperative movement, depends on our ability to identify, pursue, and execute the right strategies. This reality is not new; in fact, it has shaped philosophical and political study for the past 500 years.Machiavellian… really?Niccolò Machiavelli (Florentian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer during the Renaissance) is regarded as the “father of modern political theory.” His work, The Prince, is widely thought to be one of the first works of modern philosophy – especially modern political philosophy – in which the effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal. Machiavelli emphasized the need for realism, as opposed to idealism.He taught that it is the appropriate goal of a leader to maintain their “State.” Isn’t that what we are each trying to do: identify the best, most realistic strategies to ensure the continuation of our State (credit union charters)?It’s about keeping people happy, not pillaging and salting the ground of your opponentMachiavelli strategized that if a Prince (credit union leader) desires to protect a State (an individual credit union and/or the overall movement) from an advancing threat (diverse competition), it is imperative to keep people happy and on the Sovereign’s side (leader, credit union, movement). He argued that Kingdoms could not be kept without the support of the people. Machiavelli believed that the greatest strength in protecting the Kingdom was to keep the people happy. In his own words, “For it is the nature of men to be bound by the benefits they confer as much as by those they receive. Therefor if everything is well considered, it will not be difficult for a wise prince to keep the minds of his citizens steadfast from first to last, when he does not fail to support and defend them.”Now the key to this strategic concept is this: measuring the value the Prince and/or credit union “confers” to its membership, and, most importantly, the members’ “perception” of how much value they receive. To get the results Machiavelli promoted involved a level of loyalty where the subjects would risk life and limb to protect the Kingdom and the Sovereign. Without this level of loyalty, subjects bolt at the first sign of discomfort or better opportunity.I believe that far too many of us overestimate the value that we confer to members, and this is why membership growth is lethargic. For example, indirect lending. I am not opposed to indirect lending, but it would be interesting to see how strong our national membership growth would be if all the indirect members were not included. Would we still have net growth? Why wouldn’t I include them, you ask? I have experience managing successful indirect loan portfolios and trying (unsuccessfully) to cross-sell additional products and services. For the most part, I consider indirect loans to non-members to be low-yield investments that usually end when the loan is paid off and the share account escheated. I would hate to have to rely on that level of loyalty for my kingdom’s defense.Another example is the rate and fee difference we enthusiastically promote. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of our great rates and fees. However, I think it only gets us so far in earning meaningful loyalty. I believe that members will leave the credit union for the same reason they were attracted to it. This level of loyalty is fickle. They will tell you in satisfaction surveys that they are satisfied with your rates and fees – and yet they will still move their deposit and loan for as little as 10-25 BP rate difference.To find the highest level of loyalty possible, one only has to look to our credit union roots. A past where credit unions began as a grassroots movement to serve the underserved, proudly providing access to credit and serving people the banks would not serve. This level of loyalty lead to dramatic growth that reached more than 20,000 credit unions in 1969. If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times: “I stayed with the credit union all these years because they helped me when nobody else would.” Now that sounds like the level of loyalty that can be counted on for our defense (think taxation), and won’t be lured away by a better rate or a free toaster.When we materially impact people’s (or a community’s) quality of life, it is remembered, and generates real action and advocacy. However, the key is in how one defines material! You will know when your impact is material enough when member referrals are your top growth strategy.A few ideas to support a Machiavellian Loyalty StrategySay “yes” more often: look at your new account and loan turndowns. Are there any that you could have made work? Actively find ways to say “yes.” This may sound like a radical concept, but it works. Just ask Rex Johnson – he has successfully taught this for years. Don’t accept the answer, “There is nothing we can do.” Do some fact-finding: what are others doing to say “yes” to the type of loans you don’t think you can approve? This is so much more than about rate. Most people will remember when you went out on a limb for them.Identify underserved market segments in your community. If you are looking for the greatest loyalty, profitability, and impact on quality of life, seek out lower-income and minority communities. Like our ancestral members, these consumers are either not served or underserved by the traditional banks (and credit unions). In my experience, having an underserved market in your area is a clear strategic advantage! The irony is that there is so much concern over potential risk, yet the loan charge-offs and fraud when serving these groups are usually lower than their traditional lending peers. These folks will pay you back, go figure.Leaders, don’t forget the people defending and advancing your borders. Regardless of the strategy, no successful credit union leader can go it alone. What is the quality of life like for the people advancing your strategies and standing guard? Do they really have your full support? What is their perceived value of your relationship? Will your best and brightest be loyal when competition comes knocking? Is their alliance worth more than fame and money? Make a meaningful impact in the lives of the [right] people and they will support you with their blood, sweat, and tears.Why it mattersOur future success depends on our individual and collective ability to defend and advance our borders in the face of fierce competition. I believe that credit unions’ greatest strength and strategic advantage is when we make a meaningful impact in consumers’ lives and the communities we serve.Our world is in flux and changing daily. Strong, actionable loyalty from our members and communities has never been more important to our survival.“Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.” 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield Scott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: www.yourcupartner.org Detailslast_img read more

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Seeking to water down corporate CU capital rules

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Keith LeggettCredit Union National Association (CUNA) and some corporate credit union officials are trying to water down the corporate credit union capital rules that were finalized in 2010 following the corporate credit union debacle.Specifically, they are objecting to the requirement from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) that corporate credit unions when calculating their Tier 1 capital must deduct beginning on October 20, 2016 any amount of perpetual contributed capital (PCC) that causes PCC minus retained earnings, all divided by moving daily net average assets, to exceed two percent. After October 20, 2020, corporate credit unions must deduct any amount of PCC that causes PCC to exceed retained earnings, when calculating Tier 1 capital.For example, the CUNA wrote: “NCUA should eliminate the deduction of PCC from Tier 1 capital allowing PCC to be counted for all regulatory capital requirements as currently allowed by the corporate regulation until next year.”This means that a corporate credit union could fully meet its Tier 1 capital requirement through PCC.However, this also makes the credit union system potentially less stable as the system becomes more interconnected.last_img read more

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Niche market

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Disaster Assistance Approved for Victims of Severe Storms in Fayette County

first_img Press Release,  Public Safety Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved his request to declare Fayette County a disaster area after severe storms and flooding caused significant damage to homes and businesses on June 17.Citizens in Fayette County, as well as neighboring Pennsylvania counties Greene, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA Disaster Loan Programs.After the storms, staff from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, along with local and SBA officials, conducted damage assessments within Fayette County. The governor used the damage assessment results to support his assistance request to the SBA.Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. SBA regulations permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and assets. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial qualifications.The SBA has established a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) at the Uniontown Fire Department, Training Room, 84 N. Beeson Blvd., Uniontown, PA 15401. The center will be open the following dates and times:Opening:     Wednesday, July 20 at 10 a.m.Hours:         Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Closed:         Sunday, July 24Closing:       Thursday, July 28 at 3 p.m.SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the disaster loan outreach center to issue loan applications, answer questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application process and help individuals to complete their applications.Individuals and businesses unable to visit the center in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf July 20, 2016 Disaster Assistance Approved for Victims of Severe Storms in Fayette Countycenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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Light and bright Queenslander up for auction

first_imgThe home at 65 Barlow St, Clayfield is going under the hammer.THIS renovated Queenslander is filled with natural light and style. The three-level home at 65 Barlow St has a free-flowing layout with separated zones and an abundance of custom storage.The house is exceptionally sunlit home courtesy of large multiple windows throughout, well-placed skylights and soaring ceilingsThe light walls accentuate the honeyed tones of the Blackbutt floors. The living area opens to the patio.All four bedrooms are located on the top floor, including a master retreat with ensuite. The second and third bedrooms are spacious and have built-in robes while the fourth bedroom has a vaulted ceiling.On the ground floor there is a spacious laundry/bathroom and a separate utility area with wall-to-wall custom built-ins, all opening onto a paved courtyard and washing line. The living areas are exceptionally sunlit.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019Towards the rear, an expansive open plan kitchen has Caesarstone benches, step-in pantry, integrated fridge and European appliances. The dining and living area seamlessly extends to an outdoor entertaining area and garden where there is room for a swimming pool.The home also has a formal lounge and a separate home study. center_img The property is on a 405sq m block.The home has white timber shutters, a Blackbutt timber staircase, ducted and zoned Actron airconditioning, ceiling fans, a Cbus lighting system and high ceilings. The property will be auctioned on Saturday, April 22 at 9am.last_img read more

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ERAFP to shift strategy after France lifts investment restrictions

first_imgThe €20bn French civil service pension scheme ERAFP is set to overhaul its strategy after the government reduced restrictions placed on non-bond investments.The French government will look to legislate for the increase of the allowance of non-bond investments from 25% of assets to 40%.Expected to take effect at the start of 2015 based on the decree being published this month, ERAFP said the change would be done strategically over the next five years, depending on bond market valuations.The scheme, set up in 2005 to supplement French public sector pensions, is currently cash positive and expects to receive around €2bn in annual additional investible contributions for 10 years. However, the current 25% cap placed on all assets outside of bonds and real estate meant much of this had been and would be directed into sovereign debt and European credit.At the end of 2013, the two asset classes accounted for 51% and 15% of assets, respectively.Philippe Desfossés, head of the fund, described the announcement as a “dramatic change”.“We have been asking for this change for six years,” he told IPE.“Liquidity is not a constraint, and we should [take advantage] of this and invest in illiquid assets and extract the illiquidity premium. Twenty-five percent was a limit that was too low for us.”Desfossés said equities were an obvious asset class for the fund to expand immediately into, as it made more sense for long-term investors given the return spread over bonds.The fund will also use its additional freedom to hedge further against inflation and contribute to the growth of the euro-zone and French economies.ERAFP’s equity allocation is now expected to grow from the current 23.5% level, increasing European stocks and some exposure to non-European OECD countries over the next three years.The fund also has 1.5% in a multi-asset mandate with Amundi, which Desfossés said exposed the fund to private equity and Japanese equities.The reduced restrictions could see its multi-asset exposure increase to around 4% by 2020.Desfossés said the real estate portfolio, currently around 2%, would ideally be between 8% and 10%.Whether ERAFP reaches the 40% cap by 2020 depends on the interest rate environment and the valuation of the bond markets.“We are working on the implementation plan, but it depends on the situation in the bond markets,” Desfossés said.“Should they remain at the current price level, we will invest in other assets, and if interest rates remain level, we would have to speed up the rate at which we shift into equities and real estate.“The valuation of the bond market is tantamount to the biggest over-valuation ever seen in this asset class.“Who in their right mind would buy government and euro-zone bonds at 0.7% [yield]?”ERAFP’s allocations to French real estate will be in addition to its contribution to a Caisse des Dépôts residential property fund.It will invest in Paris and other major French cities where there is a housing supply shortage for middle-class tenants.last_img read more

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SMC Bags Client Representative Contract for East Anglia One

first_imgScottishPower Renewables has awarded Specialist Marine Consultants (SMC) with a client representative contract for the East Anglia One offshore wind farm in the UK.Under the contract, SMC will be in charge of supplying client representative services for the installation of scour protection, piles, jackets and cables, as well as for grouting operations and wind turbine generator (WTG) package works at the wind farm.The UK-based company said that it has already deployed client representative services for overseeing the installation of scour protection.The 714MW East Anglia One wind farm, currently being built off the Suffolk coast, will use port facilities at Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, where SMC recently opened an office.The offshore wind project will comprise 102 7MW Siemens Gamesa turbines, scheduled for commissioning in 2020.“SMC remain steadfast in ensuring safety and quality within the offshore wind industry and this latest contract award is testament to our capacity to do so. This, along with the opening of our base in Lowestoft, further strengthens our commitment to supporting the industry within the region and we hope to see continued growth along with our partners and Clients,” Dean Coates, SMC’s Operations Director, said.last_img read more

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For a happier life, give up Facebook: study

first_img Tweet Sharing is caring! Share 331 Views   no discussions BusinessHealthInternationalLifestylePrint For a happier life, give up Facebook: study by: Associated Free Press – November 10, 2015center_img Share Share COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AFP) — Always envious? Got a non-existent social life and struggle to concentrate? All this might be down to Facebook if you believe a study showing those who go a week without using the social network feel happier than others.Carried out by the Happiness Research Institute, the study involved a sample of 1,095 people in Denmark who were divided into two groups, half of whom continued using Facebook while the others stopped.“We focused on Facebook because it is the social media that most people use across age groups,” Meik Wiking, HRI’s chief executive told AFP Tuesday in Copenhagen, the Danish capital.After a week, those people who hadn’t been on Facebook said they were more satisfied with their lives, with 88 per cent of them describing themselves as “happy” compared with 81 percent from the second group.Some 84 per cent said they appreciated their lives compared with 75 per cent in the other group, and only 12 per cent described themselves as dissatisfied, compared with 20 per cent among those who continued using Facebook.At the end of the experiment, the abstainers reported having a richer social life and fewer difficulties in concentrating, while the others reported no such change.“Instead of focusing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have,” the authors of the study wrote.In other words, Facebook users are 39 per cent more likely to feel less happy than non-users.last_img read more

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Ms. St. Kitts & Nevis wins Miss Carival 2011

first_img 33 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring! Dominica Vibes News First runner up went to Miss St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Aviar Charles while Miss Anguilla, Shellya Rogers took second runner up position. Miss Rogers also won Best Interview. Miss Barbados, Brittney Worell won Miss Congeniality. Tweetcenter_img Share The pageant which was held on Friday evening at the Carnival City in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with ten beautiful young ladies vying for the coveted title.Miss Queeley impressed the judges and the crowd taking the crown and winning four segments along the way.  She won Miss Photogenic, Best Evening Wear, Best Talent, and Best Swimwear and US $3400.00. LocalNews Ms. St. Kitts & Nevis wins Miss Carival 2011 by: – July 3, 2011 Miss Carival 2011, Iantavian Queeley. Photo compliments Shane Scott.Reigning National Carnival Queen, Iantavian Queeley has won the 2011 Miss Carival pageant in St.Vincent and the Grenadines. Sharelast_img read more

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