After Hurricane Ian devasted Southwest Florida and parts of Central Florida, LSCU, LEVERAGE, and the Southeast Credit Union Foundation (SECUF) have been coordinating with the Southeast Disaster Coordinating Council to ensure we are best assisting credit unions impacted by the severe weather.
If you are able, please let us know if you have any mobile branches you may be willing to loan or if you have any recovery equipment you may be able to send to credit unions in need.
In the meantime, please be aware that SECUF has disaster relief funds available to assist credit unions, their employees, and their volunteers who may have been impacted by the storm. Grants are available to fund emergency needs as well as long-term recovery efforts. These needs include, but are not limited to the following items:
Critical needs: items for daily living such as food, water, ice, batteries, clothing, diapers, temporary shelters, gas, and transportation.
Longer-term recovery needs: assistance rebuilding or relocating to a new home, replacing lost vehicles and household items.
Disaster relief funds can be applied for here.
Additionally, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has urgent need grants of up to $7,500 available for low-income institutions, and the National Credit Union Foundation’s (NCUF) disaster relief program, CUAid, is available to provide emergency funds to credit union employees and volunteers affected by natural disasters.
You can donate to CUAid at any time. Every penny contributed goes directly to credit union employees and volunteers in the event of a natural disaster.
LEVERAGE Benefits Group (LBG) is excited to announce the launch of its new website!
LEVERAGE and The Salus Group are partnered together as LEVERAGE Benefits Group to offer credit unions in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia an employee benefits program that includes all services and consulting you see below.
To check out the new site, click here.
Employee Benefits Made Easy
Clean. Simple. Uncomplicated. These are words not typically used when referring to employee benefits. But we here at LEVERAGE Benefits Group have built our business around changing that experience for our clients. We’ve simplified a complicated process and will guide you personally every step of the way.
Our mission is simple: Inspire. Deliver. Amaze. And that starts with making your life easier.
Compliance Oversight Programs for Employees
Having a difficult time keeping up with the ever-changing mandates from ACA compliance? Are you well versed in the laws of HIPAA & COBRA? Did you know certain mandates can cost you monetary penalties if you do not comply?
LBG can make compliance as easy as A-B-C with our pre-packaged COPE Solution. We’ve done all the work, navigated the changes, and can provide ongoing support to keep you and your company on track and compliant.
Online Benefit Administration
Included in our COPE package is the use of our state-of-the-art billing and administration system. As your broker, we know your plans inside and out and build a paperless online enrollment system to include every detail of your plan setup. Waiting periods, termination rules, disability benefit maximums, salary changes, and more! All are automated with the system so you can focus on your business.
Do you currently log into upwards of five websites to add one new employee? With LBG, you enter it once and you’re done.
Since we handle your enrollment administration, we are best equipped to audit each carrier bill and create one detailed consolidated invoice. You pay ONE premium, ONCE a month.
For more information about LEVERAGE Benefits Group, visit https://thesalusgroup.com/leveragebenefitsgroup or contact a LEVERAGE Business Development Consultant at email@example.com or 855-9EXPERT (855-939-7378).
LEVERAGE is excited to announce a new partnership with Active.Ai, an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) program that enhances communication methods for credit unions by providing a highly personalized conversational experience.
Active.Ai gives members 24/7 access to an intelligent virtual assistant that has been specifically designed to anticipate needs and effectively answer questions associated with financial institutions. Active.Ai is unique in that it can be used for text communication in a chatbot format and verbal communication through a phone call.
With this program, employees will have more time for human interactions and can be a valuable resource for smaller credit unions that may not have the capacity for a full-time customer service representative. With a 95 percent accuracy rating in addressing questions via voice, video, and messaging, Active.Ai is sure to be a reliable resource that your members can access at their convenience.
Active.Ai helps financial institutions accelerate their digital experience with omnichannel enterprise grade Conversational AI finance as a service platform built from the ground up for financial services. FIs can deploy and scale rapidly with 150+ use cases pre-built out-of-the-box to increase customer acquisition, reduce customer service turn-around time and deepen customer engagement on WhatsApp, Messaging, Smart IVR, Mobile apps, Web, VoiceBots, and IoT devices. Visit Active.Ai for more.
Economists and investment strategists are said to suffer from a malady known as “physics envy.” The physical universe is governed by laws that create certainty about the outcome of an action. If a ball is released from a roof, it will fall to Earth every time due to the law of gravity. In economics and finance, no laws exist. Only econometric models are available, and none of them rival the laws of physics as forecasting tools.
In most cases, econometric models attempt to make sense of historical data by identifying what looks like relationships between variables. When A happened, B followed. If a relationship is real and persists, current data indicate what will happen in the future. But what looks like historical relationships are often mere coincidences within randomness. Sadly, that means all economic and financial market forecasting is a low-confidence endeavor, even under the best circumstances.
Physicists use laws that guarantee future outcomes. Envious economists and investment strategists use models that leave the future shrouded in ambiguity. This can be unsatisfying, so many of them inappropriately present their forecasts with physics-like certainty. We’ve seen a lot of that lately.
For several months, rising inflation was characterized by most economists as a transitory condition attributable to the pandemic. In particular, the U.S. Federal Reserve said with high confidence that inflation would soon pass, and that a policy response to end it was unnecessary. The Fed relied heavily on econometric models when making that declaration. There is no problem with doing so because models are the only tools at the central bank’s disposal. Their error was in the confidence with which they communicated their forecast.
We commented on the Fed’s missteps in this excerpt from our 2022 Letter to Investors:
If the Fed with its access to real-time information and legions of staff Ph.D. economists can’t confidently predict inflation rates, neither can anyone else. It erred when it implied it could. Investors took their word for it and acted based on misplaced belief.
This might seem like water under the bridge, but the implications of overconfidence live on. Many of the same economists who said inflation was transitory now confidently declare it to be peaking. Others confidently declare it to be an entrenched problem that can only be fixed by demand-killing financial conditions imposed by the Fed. Both camps are evaluating the same data, yet their models forecast different outcomes. Imagine if some physicists said a dropped ball would fall and others said it would rise!
In reality, no one knows with certainty or even high confidence how the trajectory of inflation or the economy will change in coming months. Big short-term investment bets based on econometric models or advice from experts derived from their models are darn close to gambling. The problem is amplified by investors who frequently react to models that confirm their biases. To them, data serves as a Rorschach inkblot test.
Even so, investing is a forward-looking endeavor that makes prognostication about the future an inherent part of the process. And there is certainly much to contemplate. Again, excerpting our 2022 Letter to Investors:
With history as our guide, we know crisis conditions always lead to societal change…The pandemic qualified as a crisis by every measure, so it’s not surprising that big changes occurred in response. In our view, some of the changes redirected our journey to our long-term future...
Given that, robust scenario analyses are essential in the post-pandemic world, even though they will provide limited insights due to high uncertainty. Base cases should have lower than usual confidence, and alternatives to the base case should cover a very wide range of possibilities.
All we can say with modest confidence is the economy’s path has indeed changed. The probability of more inflation and tighter financial conditions in the extended future is higher than before. Financial markets could produce real returns that are lower than during the past several disinflationary years.
Above all else, investors should acknowledge that the start of a major paradigm shift is only identifiable as a distant image in the rearview mirror. Until then, remember that in economics and finance a dropped ball can rise.
Scott D. Knapp, CFA
Scott D. Knapp is the Chief Market Strategist with Cuna Mutual Group. Scott is responsible for investment philosophy development and program implementation for Cuna Mutual Group’s Institutional Retirement Programs. He regularly speaks at economic and investment forums across the country. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.
For more information, contact a LEVERAGE Business Development Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-9EXPERT (855-939-7378).
Video banking apps and ITMs deliver great returns to financial institutions and credit unions in the following ways:
1. Kiosks reduce building, rental, and facility costs, since, even with the implementation of new technology, it is far less expensive to build or operate than a full branch.
How video banking benefits users:
11. With access to ITM kiosks or video conferencing apps, customers and members don’t have to wait as long to speak to a specialist in the branch.
Of course, all of these benefits are contingent upon having a solution that works. Far too many customers complain of difficulties in using their financial institution or credit union’s website or mobile applications, which results in a general distrust of financial institutions as a whole.