23 Nov5 Financial Tools to Teach College Students Money Skills

It’s normal for parents to worry about sending their kid to college, but it’s not just their academic performance they are worried about, they’re also worried about their children’s financials.

According to a 2012 survey by MasterCard, parents of college students were significantly more likely than parents of high school upperclassmen to report being worried about their child’s ability to manage money and spend wisely, at 69% compared to 58%.

What’s more, 40% of parents with an upcoming high school junior, high school senior or college freshman reported they believed their child would run out of money within their first month of being on campus and asking for funds.

Constantly borrowing money from the bank of mom and dad is damaging to both parties since a lack of financial literacy is leaving students underprepared with little to no financial training as they enter college, says Scott Gamm, author of the new bookMORE MONEY, PLEASE: The Financial Secrets You Never Learned in School.

“As a result, money management for the younger generation is now trial and error, which is a recipe for financial disaster,” he says. “Students need to be familiar with common financial terms and the steps necessary to get out of credit card debt or to build strong credit history.”

To put freshmen on the right track to understanding money management and the importance of building a positive financial history, here are five tools parents can give their student to guide them through the process.

A Low Interest Credit Card

With the restrictions of the CARD Act, parents will likely have to co-sign on a credit card with their student under age 21.

Parents and students should research different credit card options before committing, says Shelley Solheim, director of Financial Education at Capital One Bank.

“Make sure you shop around for the best interest rate–don’t get a certain credit card just because they are offering you something for free or giving something away,” she says. “Look for a rewards card which gives you the ease and flexibility to earn and redeem rewards without any hassles.”

If the parent has a solid credit history and wants to exercise a little more control over their child’s credit use, adding the student as an authorized user on the account can help them to establish their own history with a safety net, says Steven Smith, CEO of Finicity.

“This scenario allows parents to monitor credit card charges on a daily basis, plus the parent can choose to remove the child from the account once any set rules are ‘violated,'” he says.

A Secured Card

Another way to teach responsible credit use is through a secured card, which requires a cash deposit that then becomes the credit line for the account.

“Since youre providing the credit limit on a secured card, theres little risk for the issuer, which is why its easier to get approved for a secured credit card, even if you have no credit history,” says Gamm.

Smith recommends parents and students do their research on cards that would be a good fit and watch out for high fee cards.

Explain Free Credit Reports

While it’s essential for students to learn the ins and outs of how credit works, parents can discuss how it can affect their long term financial future by helping them understand how credit history is reported, suggests Solheim.

Parents can show students how to pull a free copy of their credit report once every year from AnnualCreditReport.com.

“Be sure to review your credit reports for accuracy at least once a year and report any errors immediately,” Solheim says.

Savings Account

Depending on the bank, parents may be able to establish a restricted savings account that requires students to think twice before withdrawing money.

“It is a good way to help them grow savings while putting controls in place to teach them to ‘leave the money alone,'” says Smith.

Gamm suggests students with part-time jobs open an automated savings account to teach them accountability and how to factor saving into their monthly budget.

“Have the bank transfer 10% of the income from the checking account and into the savings account – it will force you to make do with less, while building up your savings at the same time.”

Tax Preparation Software

Whether students plan to work part-time while in school or hold a job during the summer, it’s important to ensure they are correctly filing their tax returns, so they are comfortable with the process before their returns become too complicated.

Gifting students tax preparation software is a cost-effective option that can take the guesswork out of preparing a return for the first time, says Gamm.

“There are even apps where you can take a picture of your W-2 form, answer a few questions and file directly on your app,” he says. “If youre a little uneasy about doing this yourself, head to a local tax preparer or accountant, though there will be a fee involved.”

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23 NovThe Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2014, Ranked by Creditnet.com

SEATTLE, WA–(Marketwired – Feb 26, 2014) – Creditnet.com, a leading website on credit cards, announced their ranking of the best prepaid debit cards of 2014 today. A prepaid debit card is an easy way to enjoy the convenience of a credit card without the risk of damaging your credit. For teens, students, or even just those who have bad credit, a prepaid debit card can help teach responsible credit use. And although most do not affect your credit score, they are ideal for anyone having a hard time being approved for a traditional credit card.

To create their ranking of the best prepaid debit cards, Creditnet experts looked at many factors, including approval rates, rewards programs, set up and maintenance fees, customer reviews, and expert opinions. According to their findings, here are the best prepaid debit cards of 2014:

American Express Serve

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READYdebit Card

The READYdebit Card is a great alternative to a credit card as well. With this card, users can set up direct pay easily with a routing number and account number. Members have easy online bill payment and free online check writing, as well as access to over 1 million ATMs. Furthermore, there are no overdraft fees, and users have easy mobile account access and text alerts. There is also a free Credit ScoreTracker, so cardholders can keep track of their FICO score.

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22 NovSchnurman: Union trouble at American Airlines? Say it ain’t so

What’s the matter with the unions at American Airlines?

Once again, a work group has defied logic and voted against its economic interests. Now it’s up to the grown-ups to find a face-saving way out.

This month, the flight attendants union narrowly rejected a contract that paid more than they were promised just a year ago. It failed by 16 votes, with over 16,000 cast.

Pilots are on the clock next, facing a similar dilemma, except that their big payday would come a year earlier than scheduled. Cha-ching!

If choosing more money sooner seems like a no-brainer, consider the alternative: Rejecting the contracts sends the process to binding arbitration and then the maximum payouts are lower.

Flight attendants stand to get $82 million less per year, assuming they prevail in arbitration.

“Like many of you, I was devastated by the results” of the vote, Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, wrote to members on Nov. 9.

Embarrassed would be an appropriate word, too. The vote threatens to undermine the esprit de corps that’s revived the airline in the last year, often with flight attendants leading the way. And it’s just dumb to choose less money over more.

Leaders aren’t entirely blameless. At the flight attendants union and American, they’ve touted industry-leading contracts, because the offer matches Delta’s high rates, plus 4 percent. But American contracts don’t have profit-sharing, and when that’s included, other packages are higher.

That’s still not a valid reason to turn down the deal.

“Our team squeezed every possible dollar from this company, compromised only when absolutely necessary, and achieved the best contract possible,” the union’s joint negotiating committee told flight attendants the week of the vote.

Glading and others went to great lengths to dispel rumors that a “no” vote would lead to a better offer. Or that it would push American to add profit-sharing. Or that some employees would get to keep their old health insurance.

Protocol outlined

This isn’t a typical negotiation that can cover anything and drag on for years. The talks focused on blending the separate contracts for American and US Airways, and doing it quickly.

A specific protocol, including arbitration, was spelled out in bankruptcy court and the merger.

It aims to prevent a drawn-out labor drama that could damage the combined airline, as happened with United and Continental.

The new American is already producing record profits, but the heavy lift of integration is still ahead. The company will need workers to give it their all, just as they were crucial in reinventing the airline since its bankruptcy.

American doesn’t have to offer anything extra to the unions. They all signed deals last year that set the parameters for combining the contracts. American employees are on target to match the combined pay rates at Delta and United.

But American can afford to pay more, and it wants employees to be happy. So it stepped up some valuable sweeteners, matching Delta’s leading pay rates and then some.

What American doesn’t match is profit-sharing. That was a mistake, in my view, because it helps align workers, management and shareholders. But American’s unions traded profit-sharing for guaranteed raises last year. And while American CEO Doug Parker isn’t a fan of profit-sharing, he ultimately deferred to employees.

There’s some buyer’s remorse because the airline industry is generating so much money. Delta’s profit-sharing awards last year were worth over 8 percent of workers’ pay, and profits are running much higher in 2014.

Pilots’ vote

American pilots proposed that their contracts match Delta, plus 10 percent — to make up for the lack of profit-sharing.

American has already offered Delta rates, plus more. The gap between labor and management doesn’t seem that far, and the same arbitration backstop is in place.

If pilots don’t reach an agreement, they’ll get less in arbitration. There’s always a chance they could make up the difference in future years, but stuff happens.

American pilots turned down an industry-leading contract in the months before 9/11, and that kind of opportunity never re-emerged again. In 2006, pilots rejected a proposal for a flight between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Beijing, because they were angry over management bonuses.

That China route, a boon for the company and pilots, wasn’t proposed again for eight years.

In 2010, the Transport Workers Union negotiated a contract with lump-sum bonuses and pay raises. Two-thirds of union leaders supported it, and the mechanics rejected the deal by almost 2-to-1. A little more than a year later, American filed for bankruptcy.

In union votes, as in general elections, emotions can override logic and personal economics. Flight attendants need a do-over and then need to do it right. And pilots should spare everyone the drama.

Take the money and make American the airline it should be.

Follow Mitchell Schnurman on Twitter at @mitchschnurman.

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22 NovPacific & Western Bank of Canada Increases to $30 Million Its Purchase …

LONDON, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pacific amp; Western Bank of Canada (TSX:PWB) and Rifco Inc. (TSXV:RFC) are
pleased to announce that Rifco National Auto Finance (“Rifco”) has
received a purchase facility renewal from the Bank for $30M. This
replaces a previously authorized $20M facility which had been 100%
utilized.

The facility limit increase will accommodate new loan origination growth
for Rifco. Previously purchased loans are not included in the
utilization calculation for the new facility.

“We are pleased to have increased the purchase facility for Rifco
National Auto Finance. Under this facility, the Bank will continue to
purchase approved loan receivables from Rifco, a valued, long term
partner. This increased facility translates into additional growth for
the Bank’s Bulk Lease amp; Loan Purchase Program.” said David Taylor,
President amp; CEO of the Bank.

About Rifco

Rifco Inc. operates through its wholly owned subsidiary Rifco National
Auto Finance Corporation to provide automobile loans through its
dealership network across Canada.

Rifco provides consumers with financing options on new and used
vehicles. Rifco specializes in building long-term partnerships with
dealers by investing time in personalized services through dedicated
account representatives. Rifco’s quick credit decisions, common sense
lending, and expedited funding processes give its dealers better
financing options and more closed deals. Rifco’s most successful
partnerships result in “Fast Forward 500 Club” status for its loyal
dealerships.

The common shares of Rifco Inc. are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange
under the symbol RFC.

About Pacific amp; Western Bank of Canada

The Bank, a Canadian Schedule I chartered bank, operates using a
“branchless model”. It raises deposits through a network of deposit
brokers located across Canada and invests these deposits in consumer and
commercial loans and leases, as well as residential development and
commercial mortgages.

Headquartered in London, Ontario, the Bank was granted its Schedule I
license under the Bank Act (Canada) on August 1, 2002, prior to which
the Bank had operated as a provincially licensed trust company since
1979.

Pacific amp; Western Bank of Canada’s Common Shares trade on Toronto Stock
Exchange under the symbol “PWB”.

22 NovIs the Dollar’s Resurgence Stable?

Two years ago, my friend Mohamed El-Erian and I were on the stage at my Strategic Investment Conference. Naturally we were discussing currencies in the global economy, and I asked him about currency wars. He smiled and said to me, John, we dont talk about currency wars in polite circles. More like currency disagreements (or some word to that effect).

This week I note that he actually uses the words currency war in an essay he wrote for Project Syndicate:

Yet the benefits of the dollars rally are far from guaranteed, for both economic and financial reasons. While the US economy is more resilient and agile than its developed counterparts, it is not yet robust enough to be able to adjust smoothly to a significant shift in external demand to other countries. There is also the risk that, given the role of the ECB and the Bank of Japan in shaping their currencies performance, such a shift could be characterized as a currency war in the US Congress, prompting a retaliatory policy response.

This is a short treatise, but as usual with Mohameds writing, its very thought-provoking. Definitely Outside the Box material.

And for a two-part Outside the Box I want to take the unusual step of including an op-ed piece that you might not have seen, from the Wall Street Journal, called How to Distort Income Inequality, by Phil Gramm and Michael Solon. They cite research Ive seen elsewhere which shows that the work by Thomas Piketty cherry-picks data and ignores total income and especially how taxes distort the data. That is not to say that income inequality does not exist and that we should not be cognizant and concerned, but we need to plan policy based on a firm grasp of reality and not overreact because of some fantasy world created by social provocateur academicians.

The calls for income redistribution from socialists and liberals based on Pikettys work are clearly misguided and will further distort income inequality in ways that will only reduce total global productivity and growth.

Im in New York today at an institutional fund manager conference where I had the privilege of hearing my good friend Ian Bremmer take us around the world on a geopolitical tour. Ian was refreshingly optimistic, or at least sanguine, about most of the world over the next few years. Lots of potential problems, of course, but he thinks everything should turn out fine with the notable exception of Russia, where he is quite pessimistic. A shirtless Vladimir Putin was the scariest thing on his geopolitical radar. As he spoke, Russia was clearly putting troops and arms into eastern Ukraine. Why would you do that if you didnt intend to go further? Ian worried openly about Russias extending a land bridge all the way to Crimea and potentially even to Odessa, which is the heart of economic Ukraine, along with the Kiev region. It would basically make Ukraine ungovernable.

I thought Putins sadly grim and memorable line that The United States is prepared to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian pretty much sums up the potential for a US or NATO response. Putin agreed to a cease-fire and assumed that sanctions would start to be lifted. When there was no movement on sanctions, he pretty much went back to square one. He has clearly turned his economic attention towards China.

Both Ian Bremmer and Mohamed El Erian will be at my Strategic Investment Conference next year, which will again be in San Diego in the spring, April 28-30. Save the dates in your calendar as you do not want to miss what is setting up to be a very special conference. We will get more details to you soon.

It is a very pleasant day here in New York, and I was able to avoid taxis and put in about six miles of pleasant walking. (Sadly, it is supposed to turn cold tomorrow.) Ive gotten used to getting around in cities and slipping into the flow of things, but there was a time when I felt like the country mouse coming to the city. As I walked past St. Barts today I was reminded of an occasion when your humble analyst nearly got himself in serious trouble.

There is a very pleasant little outdoor restaurant at St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church, across the street from the side entrance of the Waldorf-Astoria. It was a fabulous day in the spring, and I was having lunch with my good friend Barry Ritholtz. The president (George W.) was in town and staying at the Waldorf. His entourage pulled up and Barry pointed and said, Look, theres the president.

We were at the edge of the restaurant, so I stood up to see if I could see George. The next thing I know, Barrys hand is on my shoulder roughly pulling me back into my seat. Sit down! he barked. I was rather confused what faux pas I had committed? Barry pointed to two rather menacing, dark-suited figures who were glaring at me from inside the restaurant.

They were getting ready to shoot you, John! They had their hands inside their coats ready to pull guns. They thought you were going to do something to the president!

This was New York not too long after 9/11. The memory is fresh even today. Now, I think I would know better than to stand up with the president coming out the side door across the street. But back then I was still just a country boy come to the big city.

Tomorrow night I will have dinner with Barry and Art Cashin and a few other friends at some restaurant which is supposedly famous for a mob shooting back in the day. Art will have stories, I am sure.

It is time to go sing for my supper, and I will try not to keep the guests from enjoying what promises to be a fabulous meal from celebrity chef Cyrille Allannic. After Ians speech, I think I will be nothing but sweetness and light, just a harmless economic entertainer. After all, what could possibly go really wrong with the global economy, when youre being wined and dined at the top of New York? Have a great week.

John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box

The Return of the Dollar

By Mohamed El-Erian
Project Syndicate, Nov. 13, 2014

LAGUNA BEACH The US dollar is on the move. In the last four months alone, it has soared by more than 7% compared with a basket of more than a dozen global currencies, and by even more against the euro and the Japanese yen. This dollar rally, the result of genuine economic progress and divergent policy developments, could contribute to the rebalancing that has long eluded the world economy. But that outcome is far from guaranteed, especially given the related risks of financial instability.

Two major factors are currently working in the dollars favor, particularly compared to the euro and the yen. First, the United States is consistently outperforming Europe and Japan in terms of economic growth and dynamism and will likely continue to do so owing not only to its economic flexibility and entrepreneurial energy, but also to its more decisive policy action since the start of the global financial crisis.

Second, after a period of alignment, the monetary policies of these three large and systemically important economies are diverging, taking the world economy from a multi-speed trajectory to a multi-track one. Indeed, whereas the US Federal Reserve terminated its large-scale securities purchases, known as quantitative easing (QE), last month, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank recently announced the expansion of their monetary-stimulus programs. In fact, ECB President Mario Draghi signaled a willingness to expand his institutions balance sheet by a massive euro;1 trillion ($1.25 trillion).

With higher US market interest rates attracting additional capital inflows and pushing the dollar even higher, the currencys revaluation would appear to be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to catalyzing a long-awaited global rebalancing one that promotes stronger growth and mitigates deflation risk in Europe and Japan. Specifically, an appreciating dollar improves the price competitiveness of European and Japanese companies in the US and other markets, while moderating some of the structural deflationary pressure in the lagging economies by causing import prices to rise.

Yet the benefits of the dollars rally are far from guaranteed, for both economic and financial reasons. While the US economy is more resilient and agile than its developed counterparts, it is not yet robust enough to be able to adjust smoothly to a significant shift in external demand to other countries. There is also the risk that, given the role of the ECB and the Bank of Japan in shaping their currencies performance, such a shift could be characterized as a currency war in the US Congress, prompting a retaliatory policy response.

Furthermore, sudden large currency moves tend to translate into financial-market instability. To be sure, this risk was more acute when a larger number of emerging-economy currencies were pegged to the US dollar, which meant that a significant shift in the dollars value would weaken other countries balance-of-payments position and erode their international reserves, thereby undermining their creditworthiness. Today, many of these countries have adopted more flexible exchange-rate regimes, and quite a few retain adequate reserve holdings.

But a new issue risks bringing about a similarly problematic outcome: By repeatedly repressing financial-market volatility over the last few years, central-bank policies have inadvertently encouraged excessive risk-taking, which has pushed many financial-asset prices higher than economic fundamentals warrant. To the extent that continued currency-market volatility spills over into other markets and it will the imperative for stronger economic fundamentals to validate asset prices will intensify.

This is not to say that the currency re-alignment that is currently underway is necessarily a problematic development; on the contrary, it has the potential to boost the global economy by supporting the recovery of some of its most challenged components. But the only way to take advantage of the re-alignments benefits, without experiencing serious economic disruptions and financial-market volatility, is to introduce complementary growth-enhancing policy adjustments, such as accelerating structural reforms, balancing aggregate demand, and reducing or eliminating debt overhangs.

After all, global growth, at its current level, is inadequate for mere redistribution among countries to work. Overall global GDP needs to increase.

The US dollars resurgence, while promising, is only a first step. It is up to governments to ensure that the ongoing currency re-alignment supports a balanced, stable, and sustainable economic recovery. Otherwise, they may find themselves again in the unpleasant business of mitigating financial instability.

How to Distort Income Inequality

By Phil Gramm and Michael Solon
Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11, 2014

The Piketty-Saez data ignore changes in tax law and fail to count noncash compensation and Social Security benefits.

What the hockey-stick portrayal of global temperatures did in bringing a sense of crisis to the issue of global warming is now being replicated in the controversy over income inequality, thanks to a now-famous study by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, professors of economics at the Paris School of Economics and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. Whether the issue is climate change or income inequality, however, problems with the underlying data significantly distort the debate.

The chosen starting point for the most-quoted part of the Piketty-Saez study is 1979. In that year the inflation rate was 13.3%, interest rates were 15.5% and the poverty rate was rising, but economic misery was distributed more equally than in any year since. That misery led to the election of Ronald Reagan, whose economic policies helped usher in 25 years of lower interest rates, lower inflation and high economic growth. But Messrs. Piketty and Saez tell us it was also a period where the rich got richer, the poor got poorer and only a relatively small number of Americans benefited from the economic booms of the Reagan and Clinton years.

If that dark picture doesnt sound like the country you lived in, thats because it isnt. The Piketty-Saez study looked only at pretax cash market income. It did not take into account taxes. It left out noncash compensation such as employer-provided health insurance and pension contributions. It left out Social Security payments, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and more than 100 other means-tested government programs. Realized capital gains were included, but not the first $500,000 from the sale of ones home, which is tax-exempt. IRAs and 401(k)s were counted only when the money is taken out in retirement. Finally, the Piketty-Saez data are based on individual tax returns, which ignore, for any given household, the presence of multiple earners.

And now, thanks to a new study in the Southern Economic Journal, we know what the picture looks like when the missing data are filled in. Economists Philip Armour and Richard V. Burkhauser of Cornell University and Jeff Larrimore of Congresss Joint Committee on Taxation expanded the Piketty-Saez income measure using census data to account for all public and private in-kind benefits, taxes, Social Security payments and household size.

The result is dramatic. The bottom quintile of Americans experienced a 31% increase in income from 1979 to 2007 instead of a 33% decline that is found using a Piketty-Saez market-income measure alone. The income of the second quintile, often referred to as the working class, rose by 32%, not 0.7%. The income of the middle quintile, Americas middle class, increased by 37%, not 2.2%.

By omitting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Piketty-Saez study renders most older Americans poor when in reality most have above-average incomes. The exclusion of benefits like employer-provided health insurance, retirement benefits (except when actually paid out in retirement) and capital gains on homes misses much of the income and wealth of middle- and upper-middle income families.

Messrs. Piketty and Saez also did not take into consideration the effect that tax policies have on how people report their incomes. This leads to major distortions. The bipartisan tax reform of 1986 lowered the highest personal tax rate to 28% from 50%, but the top corporate-tax rate was reduced only to 34%. There was, therefore, an incentive to restructure businesses from C-Corps to subchapter S corporations, limited-liability corporations, partnerships and proprietorships, where the same income would now be taxed only once at a lower, personal rate. As businesses restructured, what had been corporate income poured into personal income-tax receipts.

So Messrs. Piketty and Saez report a 44% increase in the income earned by the top 1% in 1987 and 1988though this change reflected how income was taxed, not how income had grown. This change in the structure of American businesses alone accounts for roughly one-third of what they portray as the growth in the income share earned by the top 1% of earners over the entire 1979-2012 period.

An equally extraordinary distortion in the data used to measure inequality (the Gini Coefficient) has been discovered by Cornells Mr. Burkhauser. In 1992 the Census Bureau changed the Current Population Survey to collect more in-depth data on high-income individuals. This change in survey technique alone, causing a one-time upward shift in the measured income of high-income individuals, is the source of almost 30% of the total growth of inequality in the US since 1979.

Simple statistical errors in the data account for roughly one third of what is now claimed to be a frightening increase in income inequality. But the weakness of the case for redistribution does not end there. America is the freest and most dynamic society in history, and freedom and equality of outcome have never coexisted anywhere at any time. Here the innovator, the first mover, the talented and the persistent win outproducing large income inequality. The prizes are unequal because in our system consumers reward people for the value they add. Some can and do add extraordinary value, others cant or dont.

How exactly are we poorer because Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and the Walton family are so rich? Mr. Gates became rich by mainstreaming computer power into our lives and in the process made us better off. Mr. Buffetts genius improves the efficiency of capital allocation and the whole economy benefits. Wal-Mart stretches our buying power and raises the living standards of millions of Americans, especially low-income earners. Rich people dont take a large share of national income, they bring it. The beauty of our system is that everybody benefits from the value they bring.

Yes, income is 24% less equally distributed here than in the average of the other 34 member countries of the OECD. But OECD figures show that US per capita GDP is 42% higher, household wealth is 210% higher and median disposable income is 42% higher. How many Americans would give up 42% of their income to see the rich get less?

Vast new fortunes were earned in the 25-year boom that began under Reagan and continued under Clinton. But the income of middle-class Americans rose significantly. These incomes have fallen during the Obama presidency, and not because the rich have gotten richer. Theyve fallen because bad federal policies have yielded the weakest recovery in the postwar history of America.

Yet even as the recovery continues to disappoint, the president increasingly turns to the politics of envy by demanding that the rich pay their fair share. The politics of envy may work here as it has worked so often in Latin America and Europe, but the economics of envy is failing in America as it has failed everywhere else.

Mr. Gramm, a former Republican senator from Texas, is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Solon was a budget adviser to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and is a partner of US Policy Metrics.

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22 NovTransData Receives National Certification as Women’s Business Enterprise

DALLAS, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –TransData Inc., a leading manufacturer of advanced power and energy metering products, announced today that it has received national certification as a Womens Business Enterprise (WBE) from the Womens Business Council Southwest, a regional certifying partner of the Womens Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

WBENCs national standard of certification implemented by the Womens Business Council Southwest is a meticulous process that includes an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women. By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations, and government agencies, companies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

We are extremely pleased to have received National Certification as a Womens Business Enterprise, said Joan Gleibs, the Chairman and CEO of TransData. Today, TransData stands as the first and only WBE-certified manufacturer of solid-state electric meters, interval data recorders and electrical power transducers used by electric utilities, independent power producers and industrial concerns to measure and monitor power and energy variables.

To obtain a copy of our WBE Certificate, please visit the about us page on our website at http://transdatainc.com/about-us/ and click the Certified WBENC link at the bottom of the page.

About TransData

In business for 45 years, TransData is a WBE-certified small business specializing in the design and manufacture of advanced solid-state energy meters and related products that enable its global client base to more efficiently measure, monitor and control the flow of power and energy variables on the smart grid. Founded in 1969, TransData is a privately-held corporation with headquarters in suburban Dallas. TransData serves over 2,000 customers in more than 25 countries worldwide, including most of the top 50 largest US electric utilities. More information on TransData can be found at www.transdatainc.com. TransData is a registered trademark of TransData Inc.

For additional information, please contact Dave Moore at 800-559-4534 or dave@androvett.com.

SOURCE TransData Inc.

21 NovCredit Unions Appoint Veeps: People

Credit unions made a number of vice president appointments in finance, IT, and community engagement.

EAST

The $674 million St. Marys Credit Union appointed Larissa C. Thurston as chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance. Prior to joining Marlborough, Mass.-based cooperative, Thurston, pictured at left, served as vice president and controller of the Bank of New England in Southern New Hampshire.

Robert Wohlstetter was hired as IT manager at the $176 million First Financial Federal Credit Union in Wall Township, NJ He holds more than 14 years of experience industry and previously worked at Citigroup as an assistant vice president of security administration group/infrastructure senior tech analyst.

Edward Muscara was named indirect business development officer at the $817 million St. Marys Bank. Muscara brings 28 years of auto industry experience to the Manchester, NH-based credit union.

MIDWEST

The $1.4 billion Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wis. appointed Vicki Hoehn as its vice president of community engagement.Hoehn started with RCU in 1982 and has held many different positions within the cooperative.Most recently she served as its vice president of marketing.

Smokey Stowers, who serves on the board of directors for the $163 million Allegius Federal Credit Union in Burns Harbor, Ind., was inducted into the Indiana Credit Union Hall of Fame during the Indiana Credit Union Leagues statewide convention last month. Stowers was a volunteer member of the credit union board for 44 years and served in a number of capacities, including as board chair.

WEST

Tom Morgan, shown at left,joined the $12 billion Boeing Employees Credit Union in Tukwila, Wash., as senior vice president and chief information officer, replacing Butch Leonardson who retired after 15 years of service.Prior to joining BECU, Morgan served as chief information officer for home lending at Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase. He also worked as chief information officer for corporate technology at Washington Mutual and FleetBoston Financial.

The $998 millionColumbia Credit Union in Vancouver, Wash., said it promoted Jeff Day to home loans officer, replacing Cathy Boepsflug, who retired after 22 years of service. Day holds 10 years of financial sales experience, previously serving as a financial services representative.

Gerry Agnes, president/CEO of the $998 million Elevations Credit Union and its Board Chair Katie Larson, have accepted the 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nations highest Presidential honor for performance excellence in innovation, improvement, and visionary leadership. Elevations Credit Union is one of only four US organizations to receive the honor this year and is the first credit union in the country to ever win this prestigious award, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based credit union.

TRADES

The National Credit Union Foundation will honor the Iowa Credit Union League with the 2015 Herb Wegner Memorial Outstanding Organization Award in March in Washington. The award recognizes organization-wide dedication to ensuring the prosperity of credit unions and improving the financial lives of consumers. John Gregoire, chair of the NCUF Wegner Awards Selection Committee, said the Iowa Credit Union League was selected for the award because of its focus on reaching the Hispanic population, health care, savings initiatives and other programs.

Howard Williams, former director for the $1.1 billion Fort Knox Federal Credit Union in Radcliff, Ky., will be honored in December as the 2014 CUES Distinguished Director award in Palm Desert, Calif. During his tenure, Fort Knox FCUs assets increased ten-fold to more than $1 billion. Williams also was a key contributor to the revamping of the credit unions governance model, according to CUES.

VENDORS

CU Companies in New Brighton, Minn., said it hired Anthony Daddario as an account executive. Daddario holds more than 25 years of experience having most recently served as business development director for Waterstone Mortgage Corp.

The Members Group in Des Moines, Iowa announced the addition of four client business executives, Mark Landry, Yvonne Stelpflug, Ryan Talley and Julie Willse, to the payment processors client development team. Landry holds more than15 years in the payments industry for more than and worked at PSCU Financial Services and Fiserv. Stelpflug has more than 20 years of experience in the payments industry and held positions with Wells Fargo and BBVA Compass. With more than 12 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service, Talley comes to TMG from Randstad Technologies, where he served as a senior accounts manager, and Willse joined TMG from the $350 million Greater Iowa Credit Union in Ames, Iowa, where she served most recently as financial services manager.