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To buy or not to buy in September

first_imgThe month of September is almost upon us and that means fall is around the corner. Your kids are back in class and the school supplies have been purchased, but with the changing of the seasons comes an opportunity to save on certain items for your home and life. Here are a few things to purchase in September and others to skip now and buy later.Items to get…Mattresses: Labor Day is September 4 and with it comes a wide variety of sales and discounts on name brand mattresses. Tempur-Pedic’s mega-sale offers discounts of up to $500 and Sleep Number’s sale includes popular styles up to 50% off. Treat yourself to a new mattress and purchase one for your guest room in advance of houseguests this holiday season.iPhones: The iPhone 8 arrives in September and that means older models will be sold at discounted prices. Hold off on purchasing the 8 model and save on the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, or previous iPhone generations. This is also a great time to purchase an iPhone for a loved one as massive discounts occur after the new generation debuts.Planet tickets: It’s crazy to think that the holiday season is only a couple months away, but the reality is Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. Look into travel options now before it’s too late and prices skyrocket. September is thought of as an off-season due to the fact that it’s after summer and before the holidays. Check out Airfarewatchdog and have experts search and notify you on the best travel deals that are perfectly in line with your budget.Items to skip…Halloween costumes: If your child is like mine, when it comes to this year’s costume, his or her mind will change ten times before Halloween night. Instead of buying too early and having to return it and pick up something different when it’s too late, hold off on getting that ghost get-up until October 1.Winter wear: Sure, you’re seeing fall and winter apparel in stores now, but resist the temptation to snag that sweater. Retailers know consumers are ready for cooler weather and for that reason they mark up items that are in high demand. Instead, wait until Black Friday or even later when the winter is in full swing to purchase cold weather gear.Appliances: According to MoneyWatch, although late summer sales are enticing, hold off on big-ticket items like appliances until Black Friday. Customers will see items marked down as much as 75% off on the day after Thanksgiving so be patient and wait for big deals. Your bank account will thank you. 68SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Wendy Moody Wendy Moody is a Senior Editor with CUInsight.com. Wendy works with the editorial team to help edit the content including current news, press releases, jobs and events. She keeps … Web: www.cuinsight.com Detailslast_img read more

4 password policies to improve credit union cybersecurity

first_imgGoogle made headlines recently with a new tool called Password Checkup. When installed inside the Chrome browser, the app alerts users when it detects passwords they are using may have been stolen. It works by cross-referencing user passwords against a database of compromised credentials that contains upwards of 4 billion entries.That number is enough to make you wonder if there are passwords out there that haven’t been compromised.The emergence of tools like this underscores the increasing need for – and frankly, the interest in – proactive cybersecurity defenses. More people are becoming aware of the potentially devastating repercussions of security breaches, and that includes credit union employees. Is your credit union supplying staff – the cooperative’s frontline security defense – with the education, awareness and best practices to keep cybercriminals at bay?Establishing simple-to-follow ground rules around passwords in the workplace is a good place to start. Building good passwords at work may also trickle over into employees’ personal lives, better securing them against identity theft, ransomware, phishing and other consumer-targeted cybercrime. Here are four password practices to consider enacting at your credit union.  1. Set enterprise-wide password policies.Centralize strong password requirements for everyone in your organization. Parameters should include things like minimum length, complexity requirements, how frequently passwords must be updated and boundaries around using the same credentials for multiple sites or apps. “Fine grained” password policies allow system administrators to specify multiple sets of rules for password policies, as well as different restrictions for different users – such as stricter policies for employees who access sensitive data. 2. Ensure employees never reuse passwords for multiple sites. You may have heard of credential stuffing, cyber attacks that are effective thanks to the common behavior of using the same password for multiple logins. In a credential stuffing attack, a cybercriminal uses automation to test passwords stolen from one site to gain fraudulent entry to other sites. If employee password information is compromised in a breach outside of your organization, your system is vulnerable if that same password is used at the office. To help employees avoid reusing passwords, see the next tip. 3. Deploy a password management tool. Reusing passwords is common because it’s nearly impossible to remember login data across all the digital platforms and sites we access regularly. A password management tool, such as LastPass, will help employees securely store and populate passwords so they don’t rely on the ones they can easily remember – which are, naturally, the weakest kind. Password managers also feature tools for generating more secure passwords that are longer, more complex and not as easily crackable. 4. Audit passwords regularly. Just one weak employee password can grant a cybercriminal entry, exposing your entire system to malicious attack. The National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends taking measures that prevent the reuse of passwords that have been previously exposed in a breach. Ask employees to conduct regular checks to ensure they aren’t using breached passwords. The website HaveIBeenPwned.com provides a downloadable resource of compromised passwords that can be used to cross-reference against passwords currently in use at your organization. (Important note: Never type a password into this page. Scroll down and download the breached passwords list.)The old adage has never been truer: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. These four password practices can significantly up your credit union’s cybersecurity game, not only because they make it harder for the bad guys to get in. But also because they strengthen your internal defenses by more richly engaging the frontline in your cyber defense strategy. 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Corey Skadburg Corey Skadburg is the Chief Operations Officer for BrightWise, which provides training courses that raise awareness about cybersecurity threats and engage employees to become the first line of defense. As … Web: www.bright-wise.com Detailslast_img read more

Consent vs. consensus: How decision-making at your financial institution is stalling innovation & growth

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Meredith Olmstead Meredith Olmstead is the CEO and Founder of FI GROW Solutions, which provides Digital Marketing & Sales services to Community Financial Institutions. With experience working with FIs in markets of … Web: www.figrow.com Details Over the last year I’ve found myself in meetings with our internal team or clients, asking the group… “Ok, I hear what you are saying. So, what do you propose as a next step solution?” Then I usually wait for suggestions, ideas and possible solutions. Invariably potential next steps begin to trickle in from the people involved in the conversation. We weigh in on all these options, and usually we identify a course of action. Or, at the very least, we come up with what else we need to know to make a final decision, and the team makes a plan to get that information and re-address the issue in a timely manner. It’s rare that agenda items in our meeting go for more than 1-3 weeks without full resolution of any internal problem or question. However, with some of our clients the decision-making process seems to take MUCH longer. This realization is what led me to want to write this blog. In an effort to share how we see waiting for full agreement or consensus causes many financial institutions to fall behind other industries.Risk vs. Reward: Consent doesn’t mean you agree, it simply implies you are willing to let change occurSo, let’s define some terms for the purpose of this discussion. When I mention the term ‘consensus,’ it is defined as when everyone in the room agrees. Which, as you can imagine, depending on the size of group and the nature of the topic, can be extremely hard to achieve. ‘Consent,’ on the other hand, should be understood as when it is ok if all people are not in agreement, but everyone involved does give permission for the relevant action or decision to move forward in some agreed upon way.The reason this approach to discussion and decision making is essential is because in a fast-paced world of Fintech innovation and online banking disruption, waiting for consensus will slow down change and discourage risk taking.According to a recent Fintech innovation report from Accenture “Banks should place themselves closer to the center of their customers’ digital lives, embedding customer-centric thinking at the core of the corporate strategy along with the right skillsets at every level of the organization.” This suggestion sounds really promising, but If your financial institution is stuck in an old-world decision-making mentality you can kiss any hopes of staying relevant in this modern digital landscape goodbye!So, you might be asking yourself now… well, how do we to adopt this approach? Well it all starts at the top! Just ask Jeff Bezos!Information Gridlock: You don’t need to know EVERYTHING to do SOMETHING…“First, never use a one-size-fits-all decision-making process. Many decisions are reversible, two-way doors. Those decisions can use a light-weight process. For those, so what if you’re wrong?Second, most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow. Plus, either way, you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.”- Jeff BezosThis agile approach to making choices and building strategy is a huge part of what sets Amazon apart and has helped keep the company far ahead of their competitors. Your financial institutions MUST sit up and take notice!Bezos suggests using the approach of “disagree and commit.” So senior managers need to communicate to their team that if you don’t support something, but also don’t have a strong enough reason to stop progress, rather than placing a road block in the way, use the term – “I disagree but consent.” And vice versa, if you’re a member of the C-suite and your team are reluctant to move forward, consider can pushing them ahead with your unfettered support – “I disagree with your reluctance, and consent to this decision. I will support whatever outcome results.” This is how risk-taking is fostered and innovation occurs. But playing lip-service to this notion and then Monday morning quarter-backing every outcome is to be avoided at all costs.The key to fostering a consent vs. consensus approach – if you don’t have a business reason to stop something from moving forward then you must give your consent and move on.Meetings: Where minutes are taken, and hours are wasted“Do nothing is the choice of people who are afraid. Do nothing is what you do if too many people have to agree. Do nothing is what happens if one person with no upside has to accept downside responsibility for a change. What’s in it for them to do anything? So, they do nothing.” – Seth GodinOk, so no one likes meetings… wait… I LOVE meetings! Or at least I love the meetings we have with our internal team! But maybe that’s because they are all so productive.Now, our meetings aren’t happy places of discussion and progress because I crack the proverbial whip and force people to take action. Actually, it’s the exact opposite.Our meetings are productive because every topic on the agenda is owned by someone and they are expected to follow a pretty simple format: Present the Idea – if it’s a problem the team member must have a solution or possible next step to propose. Open Discussion – keep this timed if necessary. Make a Decision – Go around the table for people to say if 1) they like/agree with the idea/project, 2)  they don’t agree but give their consent, or 3) have a legit business reason to stop it. Those are the only three things they can say. Possibly Table for Research – This should only happen if there is a key piece of data or research needed to make the final decision. Can table an item but only for a designated period of time (1-2 weeks maximum) and you must have a clear plan to get what is needed for a final resolution. So, in a financial institution this process is similar. You have your agenda’s and as items are covered anyone with an objection must provide a clear and reputable business reason for stalling the issue or change. So that could include a compliance or regulatory problem, significant potential negative financial impact, or likely negative member/customer experience implications. Personal preference or opinion cannot be the main reason to stop a project or deliverable from moving forward. Keep in mind that an “I consent to this” statement could mean I don’t like it or I don’t care, but I won’t stop you. Don’t let your institution fall victim to the ‘do nothing’ mentality. If you aren’t changing in this new and exciting digital banking landscape, you’re leaving customers and growth opportunities on the table. So, foster a culture of risk-taking and reward those on your team who embrace new ideas and innovation. It’s now, or never…last_img read more

Another jury says Wells Fargo infringed on RDC patents

first_imgThe Texas jury in a second lawsuit brought by USAA against Wells Fargo also determined that Wells Fargo had willfully infringed on USAA’s remote deposit capture (RDC) technology patents. The first lawsuit – with a different jury –  resulted in $200 million in damages; this most recent decision orders Wells Fargo to pay an additional $103 million in damages.The first lawsuit dealt with autocapture technology, while this one dealt with broader patents, including the technology that reads the check to verify the routing/account numbers and the information submitted by the consumer.While Wells Fargo has not formally requested an appeal in either lawsuit, the bank in December filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas asking the court to stay the judgement in the first case pending any post-judgment motions. While the bank still has not indicated whether it will appeal that decision, in another sealed motion, Wells Fargo has asked for a new trial in the first case. No motions have been made in the second case.NAFCU is also monitoring a request from the vendor that provides Wells Fargo, and thousands of other financial institutions, with RDC technology for a federal judge in California to issue judgment that its technology does not infringe on USAA’s patents. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Lending Perspectives: Will your credit union be a winner or a loser post COVID-19?

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Around the office over the last months, I’ve pontificated on the long-term impacts on the economy, jobs, industries and various companies from COVID-19. One of the terms I’ve used is disruption. There will certainly be lots of jobs lost and companies that go out of business. However, there will certainly be companies and jobs created from how our lives and consumer needs change. What’s uncertain? Whether COVID-19 will have a net positive or negative impact on jobs and how long the disruption will last.If you think about our current economic situation and this disruption long enough, you’ll probably come to the conclusion there will be winners and losers on the other side. As credit unions, we believe with our collective heart that we should all be winners. But we all can’t win. I doubt the pandemic will slow a 30-year trend of credit union consolidation. It should only increase the pace of this change.Over the years I’ve realized I’m a bit of an amateur economist. I come to a better understanding of our economy by trying to observe as much as I can and collecting anecdotal evidence. I’ve observed a few notable things from various businesses I’ve patronized (or tried to) over the last few months; here’s how we can use those observations to help us understand how well each of our credit unions may fare in the foreseeable future!last_img read more

Both Holtsville Hal and Malverne Mel Predict Early Spring on Groundhog Day

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The groundhogs agree!Long Island’s pair of weather-predicting woodchucks did not see their shadows Tuesday, meaning Holtsville Hal and Malverne Mel each forecast an early spring on Groundhog Day, according to local lore.This year, Hal and Mel also made the same prognostication as New York City’s Staten Island Chuck, Connecticut’s Chuckles and the most famous groundhog of all, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil.“Is this current warm weather more than a trend?” Phil’s handlers, dubbed the Inner Circle, told the crowd. “Per chance this winter has come to an end? There is no shadow to be cast, An early Spring is my forecast!”The news came as little surprise amid the warmer-than-usual winter. LI’s first major snow storm arrived just last week, which meteorologists have said was later than usual.Hal—who was ominously snowed in last year—and Mel agreed in 2015, when they both saw their shadows, predicting six more weeks of winter, which was also Phil’s forecast. LI’s groundhogs were last in disagreement in 2014.Not all of the groundhogs in the tri-state area concurred this year. Dunkirk Dave, in an upstate city south of Buffalo, saw his shadow. So did New Jersey’s two groundhogs, Milltown Mel and Essex Ed. The Garden State’s third groundhog, Jackson, died several days ago.last_img read more

SPARKing career interest in Southern Tier youth

first_img“The Southern Tier has long been known as the valley of opportunity. From the heydays of IBM and Endicott Johnson, to today with the booming tech sector of Lockheed Martin, BAE, Raymond Corp,” said President of SUNY Broome Dr. Kevin Drumm. “Every kid in America wants, even the kid who lives in Tampa, wants to move away. But what we know is that the data has shown that in Broome County a lot of kids come back in their 30’s. So if we can skip that step and get them to come here in their 20’s and stay, that’s more people in the community who are pillars,” said Sheehan. “Two thousand kids, where to do you put them? You can’t just put it in a gym because when you do a career fair for an older group, they narrow it down. They’re like, these are the kids who are going right out, right into the work world out of college. So they’ll go to that career fair. We want every kid in 8th grade,” said Broome-Tioga BOCES Principal in Career and Technical Education Matt Sheehan. Local education systems have been busy working with the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, SUNY Broome and several others to host the first annual SPARK event. Event organizers say exposure to job possibilities for kids in this age range is important for them moving forward. Another goal of the event was to expose opportunities that are here at home.center_img The event brought in two thousand 8th grade students from across the region to walk SUNY Broome’s campus and get hands on learning experiences. TOWN OF DICKINSON (WBNG) — Over the years, the Southern Tier has opened the doors to different career paths. “That we’ve got two thousand students here today that hopefully we’re going to be able to spark their interest, so that they will realize that there are careers, really good careers, in this community,” said Broome County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Peter Newman.last_img read more

Home heating innovation created in the Southern Tier, could it be the way of the future?

first_img“So what we did was literally take the wheels off of our car, that was operating on this engine, and move this into the basement. So, this new box could replace the home boiler,” says Founder and President of BRASH Engines Mike Brookman. “In our cycle, just like a steam engine, what we’re doing is burning that fuel very efficiently and using that hot working fluid to make responsible power,” says Brookman. This system still uses natural gas to start, but the heat from that fuel is then used to produce steam energy that can create power for the home it’s in. “In a big city sometimes that’s really hard to do, so that’s a nice niche thing that we can offer in a small community. The ultimate goal is to create jobs for not only people in the community but graduating students that want to stay in Binghamton,” says Director of Operations at the Koffman Incubator Laura Holmes.. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Inventors and scientists come up with ideas and test them to find a working solution. Mike knows how much the Southern Tier has aided his idea, and he hopes his home heating systems will soon be used area-wide in the future.center_img Mike Brookman did that with an energy-efficient engine idea he had, turning it into a home heating system. So, instead of needing fuels to run power plants that shuttle energy to homes, the energy can be created “in house” from a home’s heating system. This project is where it is because of local companies willing to work with BRASH Engines. “Here we are now with a complete design, it’s operating. We have the customer interest, we’re hoping for investor interest. But it’s all because we’re located here at the Koffman Incubator,” says Brookman.last_img read more

Broome County non-profits band together in time of need

first_imgDayCare Executive Director Kim Downs said this pandemic has been unlike anything she has ever seen before. “Working alongside the six foundations who so generously worked with the United Way of Broome County to seed this funding opportunity and get the response fund up and running has been amazing,” said the group’s executive director, LoriAnne Welch. “We closed. We’ve never closed before in all the years we’ve been doing this so thirty plus years so we closed for 8 weeks, and now we’re slowly reopening,” she told 12 News Tuesday. One of the organization’s that received funding, the Whitney Point Preschool and DayCare plans to use its grant on three new hand washing stations, as well as hazard pay for its employees. The fund was created at the end of March to help keep Broome County non-profits financially afloat during this pandemic. WHITNEY POINT (WBNG) — As of Tuesday, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund has awarded more than $250,000 in grants. One of the founders of the fund told 12 News it’s incredible to see the kind of impact this program has had in such a short amount of time.last_img read more

Hundreds line up outside Endicott DMV

first_imgSpeaking to those waiting, several complimented the efficient and helpful manner of DMV employees checking on people in line. “They’ve been looking at our paperwork, making sure we fill it out right, and I appreciate that because I did mine wrong, but they fixed it for me,” said Kayla Schermerhorn. Many people waited well over an hour in line, some saying they arrived as early as 6:30 a.m. ENDICOTT (WBNG) — Hundreds of people lined up outside the Endicott Department of Motor Vehicles office for its reopening Monday morning.center_img The Endicott location opened after being closed for in-person transactions due to the coronavirus. Broome County Clerk Joseph Mihalko asks if you don’t need to go to the DMV right now, please wait, this way those who have been waiting for months can process their transactions first.last_img read more