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One of our annual favorites. Happy Easter to all! Read More April 20 2014
You're InvitedThis is how Great Basin Federal Credit Union board and staff do invites. Join us for the 2014 Annual… Read More April 19 2014
How cool! Read More April 18 2014
Mark your calendars for FREE SHRED DAY at the Northwest Branch on April 25th, 11... Read More April 18 2014
Just a reminder for my peeps: We will be open during our normal hours this Easte... Read More April 16 2014
Look who stopped by! Shout out to our member Ryan who brought us some delicious... Read More April 14 2014
Tax Day freebies! Read More April 14 2014
One month until our favorite Mother's Day tradition: Moms on the Run! As many of... Read More April 11 2014
Mini Enterprise car made it to the Main Branch. All month, get KBB plus $500 on... Read More April 10 2014
Do you use Target's Cartwheel app on your phone to get discounts? The wife tells... Read More April 8 2014

Featured

Facebook…Blah!

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For years now I have been encouraged, dared and downright harassed to join Facebook. On occasion, I get an invitation to be a “friend” and each time I refuse. At first, I had specific reasons for not joining, which I will explain, but then it almost became a challenge for people to see who could talk me into this social phenomenon, so I stood my ground to be stubborn. The truth has a few layers.

First, the number of truly close friends I have, I can count on one hand. I am friendly and have great connections with many people, but those who I share all the little secrets of life with are very few. So who would I really “connect” with through Facebook? The most compelling argument I hear, and one that I am sure is true, is that it gives you an opportunity to find and connect with family, especially those who live in other states. Well, my family is close and we know about each other through either the family grapevine or we actually speak to each other on the phone. Plus, if we knew every detail, what would we talk about at holidays?

Often, I hear the reason I should join is to connect to friends and old schoolmates. Ha! I hated school and worked hard to earn enough credits to graduate early so I could get on with my life. I have one, yes you heard me, one friend from high school, and she is still on my short list of true friends today. Again, if I want to communicate with her, I call or email her.

The only reason I think Facebook has value is for advocacy or marketing. What better way can you reach mass quantities of people with your message than to post a message on Facebook? But then again, if there were not 600 million users for social reasons, who would get the message? Ah, the double-edged sword.

So now the reason I think Facebook is the downfall of society – from what I have seen or heard there are people who post their every movement in the day (i.e. “I’m folding laundry” or “I’m stuck in traffic”). What makes you think that you are so special that we give a darn what you are doing every second? On the other hand, I have been with a co-worker searching Facebook, and I have to admit it can be addicting clicking on a “friend” and seeing a “friend” that you also know. But then I felt that it was voyeuristic looking in on the lives of others and they have no idea.

Which brings me to my next concern. How many pictures of children and loved ones are posted? I know you can make some of it private and “invitation only”, but how many people really limit who they allow to be their friend? Remember those old high school buddies or even just acquaintances? What is the criterion for allowing these people into your Facebook life? Now they know everything about you and your children, and just because they were the captain of the football team, how can you be sure they are not creeps now? Remember, you posted where your kids go to school, when and where you are going on vacation, where you live…

Finally, I have seen Facebook used as a vehicle for hateful messages, bullying and family bickering. Whether the message is hateful or loving, how about you communicate directly with the person you are speaking about or to? I think that as a society, a family, a spouse, a mother or a child, overall, we have poor communication skills. Now we have a tool that condones and promotes indirect communication, and that makes me sad. I have also known couples who spend so much time social networking that they forget about their own household. Think about it…a married woman works full time and has two kids. She prepares dinner, cleans up the dishes, gets her kids tucked in and then turns on Facebook to communicate with “friends” until bedtime. Where in that time is she connecting with her husband?

In the past couple of weeks we heard of U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner using Twitter (don’t get me started) to send a picture of his genitals to a woman that he connected with on…guess where…Facebook. I get that people are behind this behavior and must take responsibility for their actions, but without Facebook, would it be so easy to be such an ass?

Our Employees Shine!

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Sherri Roach is the April Shining Star!  Sherri is the Manager for the Loan Department and she was nominated for a couple of reasons. First Teamwork; Sherri never hesitates to help the branches whether it is opening a branch or pulling a cash drawer; she is there. Sherri also fills in for her immediate supervisor when she is off doing other things; she makes sure that all business issues are addressed keeping our members and future members happy which builds great relationships. Secondly Sherri is always looking for ways to improve our systems and procedures. Sherri really thinks about pros and cons and researches details to allow her to present a clear organized proposal. The ideas and changes she suggests are almost always approved by management and help to increase services and lending opportunities for the Credit Union. Thank you for demonstrating such great core values.

 

Sandy Ferguson and Elisabeth Hadler were the April Loan Builders!  Sandy works in our IT Department and Elisabeth is our Marketing Manager. This month’s award was decided by the Loan Department employees. They voted for the person they thought was the greatest support system during the month of April. Thank you Sandy and Elisabeth for giving the Loan Department so much support and contributing to their success this month they truly appreciate all that you do.

Inflation

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of the end of April 2011, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all urban consumers increased 3.2% over the last 12 months.  Now I’m not quite sure who these, “all urban consumers” are or where they live, but I’d like to find out because I can assure you my cost of living has increased much more than 3.2%.  So, why does the rate of inflation stated by the government never seem to accurately reflect the rate of inflation in most of our lives?  The answer lies in the fact that the, “all urban consumers” scenario used by the government, simply doesn’t exist in the real world. 

The CPI we hear so much about is based on the entire U.S. population.  There are numerous factors that go into the way it is determined, but to keep it simple picture someone buying 80,000 items each month from approximately 25,000 different outlets.  These items are organized in more than 200 categories which are arranged into eight major groups: Food and Beverage, Housing, Apparel, Transportation, Medical Care, Recreation, Education and Communication and Other Goods and Services.  The fact that on many occasions one specific item may be used to represent thousands of items in that category adds to the disparity between government numbers and our bottom line.  An example cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is that in a given supermarket, the Bureau may choose a plastic bag of golden delicious apples, U.S. extra fancy grade, weighing 4.4 pounds to represent the entire Apples category.

Over the past couple of months we’ve all experienced substantially higher fuel and food prices.  In addition, utilities costs have also increased, so you may be asking how it’s possible that the CPI only increased 2.7%.  The reason for that lies in an individual’s spending habits as well as the costs of the more “discretionary” goods.  During this latest economic downturn, many consumers have cut back on purchasing discretionary items which tend to be elastic.  In other words, as the demand for these items has declined so has the price.  It’s this kind of discounting that helps offset the price increases we’re seeing in essential goods, which tend to be inelastic.  Another contributing factor is what an individual’s spending is comprised of.  If essential products such as food and fuel comprise a large portion of one’s monthly spending, they’re going to feel a much greater inflationary impact than the individual who spends a larger percentage on discretionary products.

So my question is, if CPI understates the true economic impact of inflation on those individuals who spend a larger percentage of their income on essential products, why do they use this figure to determine cost of living adjustments for social security recipients?

Who to Believe?

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“I wanted to talk a little more about our DEBIT INTERCHANGE issue with the retailers.” 

Read my last blog to get caught up on the main issues, so this note will be kept short…well, shorter.

The power brokers in congress have taken up sides and SPIN is the name of the game. Depending upon who is speaking, it’s about those greedy BigBanks or BigRetailers (choose one) who’s behind all this. (Okay, so I’m a little guilty myself; but I’m right. Right?)

My best advice here is to not trust either one. Big banks and Big Marts have their own agenda or possibly the same one. Both strike fear in the hearts of Senators for fear of future campaign funding. My problem and the credit union’s is that here is a piece of legislation that never saw the light of day. No studies or trial by argument before being included in the Dodd-Frank Bill. Should there be regulation of how much a debit transaction should cost? Should a certain large retailer be legislated to pay appropriate employee benefits instead of having their employees rely on state funded welfare?

In either case let’s try to do the fair thing or some approximation of it. Any way you look at this, shouldn’t the fee be related to the cost of providing debit transactions?  If we could get close, a lot of this discussion would simply disappear into who-cares-ville. The bill that has been submitted to the Senate and the House simply states let’s postpone the implementation of the fee reduction until there has been a solid study of the costs and then figure out what it should be. Of key importance is that the cost simply isn’t the expense of the system and moving the transactions around, it’s the fraud costs that are such a major part of the problem. Everyone has heard of the excessive hacking into retailer’s computers like the TJ Maxx theft and most recently of the Michael’s penetration. The bad guys steal the data from the retailers that don’t protect the information on their computers and then create false identities and credit cards …and who pays…well, Great Basin does; and then you do. Great Basin, who issued the cards, not the retailers, has to cover the costs of these losses. Shouldn’t the debit interchange fee reflect who is taking that risk?

Please go to http://www.connectforthecause.org/ and “Protect your credit union” by contacting your Senators today. Tell them to postpone the interchange fee implementation and take the time to do it right.