If they can do it…

The New Zealand Police department recently created a wiki that their constituents could edit and help form an upcoming bill.

"The Police Act Review has maintained an open process throughout, and wiki technology offers a novel way for people to have a say in the law-drafting process as well. This may well be one of the first pieces of legislation ever developed in New Zealand with the aid of such an online tool … "

What a phenomenal idea!  All of the presidential candidates are using social media now, but this brings a entirely new opportunity for democracy.  Writing a new bill is overly complex, time consuming, and expensive.  Sounds suspiciously like developing a new product at a credit union!

It seems to me that, as a cooperative, CU’s would be the perfect place to perfect Web 2.0 collaborative tools with our membership.  We’ve heard talk of Amazon style reviews on CU product pages.  Some are dipping their toes in blogging.  Other’s don’t even have web pages.  But what would happen if you opened up a wiki or a Dell IdeaStorm-esce extension on your site?  Would your members respond?  Would only the vocal majority show up?  Horror of all horrors, would they just demand better rates and lower fees?

50 and 50

The Fed just dropped the discount window another 50 bps and the fed funds rate 50 bps.  The 50 bps drop in the funds rate was quite a surprise and the Dow jumped nearly 200 points immediately. 

Credit unions now need to carefully observe their balance sheets and manage appropriately if they are asset or liability sensitive.  All of those CD promos did good things for liquidity, but CU’s are going to be hurting if they are long on those CD’s.  Expect to see those CD promo rates drop as well as those wonderful money market funds.  Hold on to your balance sheets, it is going to be a wild ride!

Mmm, Cake… Cake Financial that is

Cake Financial has launched their public "alpha" today at TechCrunch40.  Bringing a new spin to social networks, Cake enables investors to track their performance next to their peers, their friends, and other investors.  By automatically plugging in to most of the major brokerages, Cake can automatically retrieve your holdings for up to ten years and track your performance compared to the rest of Cake and the market.

From their blog:

Specifically designed with the 40 million Gen X and Gen Y consumers in mind, Cake is a new kind of financial service. Members can open an account with Cake in minutes because there is no transfer of money or change in existing brokerage relationships to get started. Instead, members can link their Cake account to an unlimited number of existing portfolios from leading online brokerage firms. This allows Cake community members to see up to 10 years of historical activity as well as current portfolio holdings, trading activity and performance data of fellow members. All safely, securely and anonymously.

A recent study from the Harvard Business School reveals that many ordinary investors consistently beat the market. Cake is designed to allow members to capture and share the behavior and habits of these high performers with each other. 
Social networks are slowly beginning to infiltrate investing.  Motley Fool picked up on it with CAPS last year and Cake has this latest offering.  CAPS does a great job gauging the whole market, but Cake brings more intimate, person-to-person conversations to the table.  Can’t wait to see how Cake matures.  Go check it out.

WCUL 007 Part Deux

I’m finally home after the large flying debacle at HorizonWCUL 007 went pretty well this year.  Probably somewhere over 100 exhibitors and lots of credit union participants.  It is great to see that many credit unions in one place together!

I went to a few seasons, the first being from Elaine Whitton at Advanced Reporting, one of our CUSO’s that does employment and tenant screening.  I also sat through Brent and Trey from Trabian and The Waz’s session on social media on Thursday afternoon.  It’s always refreshing watching credit union execs react when they learn how Second Life really works.  Sheri from Verity was also there and makes an awesome example of a CU blogging.

Overall, it was a great time and I can’t wait to get back to it next year!

WCUL Convention

The entourage of us just landed in Spokane earlier today and setup two booths in the "ballroom".  I’m here with CU Wireless, MaPS’ cell phone CUSO, and Advanced Reporting, our employment/tenant/background/credit check company.  I’ll be bouncing around between the two booths all week, so if anyone is in town, drop on by!

I’ll be posting any relevant updates for the goings-ons at the trade show as well as heckling Trey and Brent from the back of the room during their session.  Beautiful day in Spokane and can’t wait for the rest of the week!

By the way, WCUL is the Washington Credit Union League.

CU Posts for Website Redesign on Blog

Here’s a CU that has posted for a website redesign on a blog with a budget of $500 to $1000 to do some basic modifications to their site!  Awesome way to use a blog to get the word out!  Looks like the bid actually came from an online firm called designquote.net.  If anyone knows which CU this is (they’re in Texas) I’d love to talk to them and see if I can get them up and running with a free WordPress site or at least get Trabian involved!

Conference Call for an Open Source Core Processor

For the past few months, a small group of people have continued discussing the opportunities in the core processor marketplace and the merits of doing a project like that in the open source space vs closed source.  We are having another conference call later this week, on Friday, September 7th, from 10AM to 11AM Pacific time.  We already have 6 or 8 attendees, but wanted to open the call up to anyone interested on the topic.  The conference info is below and if you plan on attending, please let me know by leaving a comment so I can reserve the appropriate amount of space on the call.

Phone Number: 712-432-2000

Access Code: 46814

I’m looking forward to the great discussion!