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Posted by: | Posted on: May 18, 2021

Genetic genealogy, police work credited with solving 1998 murders of woman, daughter

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Authorities in Missouri are pointing to advanced DNA technology good police work for helping investigators to finally identify the suspect in the murders of a woman and her 12-year-old daughter in 1998.The Missouri State Highway Patrol and New Madrid County Sheriff’s Office held a joint news conference Friday to shed light on and detail how they’d linked the heinous double murder of Sherri and Megan Scherer, as well as several other unsolved crimes in other states, to Robert Eugene Brashers.Brashers, 40, of Paragould, Arkansas, died in January 1999 after he shot himself in the head during a standoff with police at a Missouri motel, authorities said Friday.In March 1998, the bodies of Sherri Scherer, 38, and Megan Scherer, 12, were found about 7 p.m. in their home in rural Portageville, Missouri, authorities said. They had been shot to death, police added, and Megan had been sexually assaulted.A few hours later, authorities said, police got a report of a man attempting to break into the home of a woman and her children in Tennessee’s Dyer County. During a struggle with the woman, the unidentified man shot the woman in the arm.The woman was able to get back inside the home, however. Ballistics connected the shooting to the Scherer murders, according to authorities.The woman gave police a composite sketch and a partial DNA profile was created in 1998. In 2006, evidence from the Scherer murders was then re-sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Crime Lab and a full suspect DNA profile was created and entered into the Combined DNA Index System.Police said that submission uncovered a match to the April 1990 unsolved murder of Genevieve Zitricki, 28, who was found dead in her home in Greenville, South Carolina. All the while, police said, investigators continued looking into leads and conducting interviews.A search for a suspect that had started in Missouri now had grown to include two additional states.In May 2017, another match was uncovered via the DNA index system that linked the suspected perpetrator to a March 1997 rape of a 14-year-old girl in Memphis during a home invasion. The victim and witnesses helped put together a composite drawing of the suspect, investigators said.In 2018, investigators said they reached out to a company called Parabon NanoLabs, whose technology “combines DNA testing and genetic genealogy analysis” to link a person with their ancestors.“Parabon’s process provided leads to law enforcement investigators that, when combined with traditional investigative techniques, led to the identification” of Brashers, authorities said in a statement.Investigators got DNA samples from his relatives and “test results indicated Mr. Brashers was, with very little doubt, responsible for the crimes,” the statement said.In September, his remains were exhumed and additional samples were taken and tested to confirm that his DNA indeed matched the DNA found in the crimes.“This is an amazing example of a cooperative, investigative effort by Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee authorities. All parties worked together, including the decision [to] seek the services of Parabon NanoLabs,” said Sgt. Shawn Griggs of Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control. “During the history of these cases, investigators from Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee have worked close to 1,500 leads and the homicides here in Missouri were featured on ‘America’s Most Wanted’ two different times.”Police said Brashers’ criminal history included a conviction for attempted murder in November 1986 due to an incident in Florida.In 1998, according to authorities, he’d been arrested in Paragould for allegedly attempting to break into a woman’s home.In January 1999, police in Missouri were investigating a case involving a stolen license plate when they encountered a friend of Brashers. Police said Brashers was allegedly armed with a pistol at a Kennett, Missouri, motel.“Officers learned during the standoff that Brashers had active warrants for his arrest stemming from the 1998 incident in Paragould, Arizona,” authorities said in its statement.Before police could arrest him, Brashers allegedly shot himself to death.Griggs told ABC News Friday that authorities had met with the Scherer family Thursday to inform relatives. He said technology and investigators’ working together had enabled authorities to “honor” their commitment not only to the family but also to the people of Missouri.“I have no doubt in my mind that this is the most heavily investigated case this county has ever seen,” Stevens said Friday. “When I took office in January of 2001, I made the decision this would never become a cold case, as far as we were concerned. This case would always be at the forefront of our workload. It was too important to the Scherer family and the community of Portageville.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: May 18, 2021

Indiana teen driver fatally shot by backseat passenger holding AR-15 style assault rifle: Police

first_imgiStock(GAS CITY, Ind.) — A 19-year-old Indiana woman — described by her pastor as a “bubbly young lady who had a bright future” — was fatally shot when a 22-year-old friend riding in the backseat of her car accidentally discharged an AR-15 style assault rifle, according to police.Annalysa McMillan, who graduated from high school in June, was killed just five days after she celebrated her birthday.Police said the tragedy unfolded on Tuesday afternoon as McMillan was driving with three friends in Marion, about 85 miles northeast of Indianapolis, Deputy Chief Stephen Dorsey of the Marion Police Department said in a statement.Dorsey said officers responded about 5:52 p.m. to what they initially believed was a minor traffic accident. Officers found McMillan unresponsive and quickly discovered she had been shot in the back, Dorsey said.McMillan, of nearby Gas City, was taken to Marion General Hospital, where she died.“During the investigation it was discovered that one round from an AR-15 style rifle had been discharged from inside the vehicle, prior to the crash, striking the driver,” according to a police statement.Austin Smith, 22, was riding in McMillan’s car, seated behind the driver’s seat when the .223-caliber rifle he was holding went off, police said. A bullet penetrated the driver’s seat and hit McMillan in the back, causing her to crash, according to police.Two other teenagers, a 19-year-old and an 18-year-old, were also riding in the car when the gun went off, police said. They were not injured.Smith was arrested on suspicion of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and reckless homicide. He was being held on Sunday at the Grant County Jail on $1,005 bond, according to jail records.It’s unclear whether Smith has an attorney.“The last text that she sent to her stepfather was that she loved him and, those things are glued to hold tight when everything is trying to blow you apart,” Rev. Mark Atkinson, McMillan’s pastor at the Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City told WXIN-TV in Indianapolis.A visitation service was scheduled to be held for McMillan on Sunday afternoon at a funeral home in Gas City. Her funeral is expected to be held on Monday.“She was an encouraging, bubbly young lady who had a bright future and was heading in the right direction,” Atkinson told WXIN. “Annalysa’s heavenly father picked her out of her car and took her home. She’s woke up at home.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: May 3, 2021

Taking Somerville to the bank

first_imgMary Somerville has been short-listed to appear on the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) ten-pound note. If successful, she would be the only woman honoured on a Scottish banknote other than the Queen.Somerville, a nineteenth-century Scottish scientist after whom the Oxford college is named, will be up against the physicist James Clerk Maxwell, whose study of electromagnetism inspired Albert Einstein and Thomas Telford, the civil engineer known as the ‘Colossus of Roads’.Somerville is credited with a crucial role in the discovery of Neptune, thanks to her writing on a hypothetical planet interrupting the orbit of Uranus.RBS is inviting votes via its Facebook page until 7th February, after asking the public for nominees in the field of science and innovation.This was advertised on Cuntry Living, encouraging members to vote for Somerville, who “made a name for herself at a time when women tended to be de facto excluded from most scientific institutions.”RBS’s decision to shortlist Somerville follows controversy from the Bank of England’s decision to place the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry alongside Winston Churchill on the £5 note from 2016.RBS’s chief marketing officer, David Wheldon, told the BBC, “The strength of our shortlist is indicative of the significant contribution that Scotland has made to the field of science and innovation.”“I look forward to finding out which one of these great figures is chosen.”last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: May 2, 2021

Boy Scouts to Collect Food During Halloween Parade

first_imgBoy Scout Troop 32 will be collecting food for the Community Food Cupboard during the Halloween Parade. (Courtesy City of Ocean City/Donald B. Kravitz) Ocean City Boy Scout Troop 32 is participating in the National “Scouting for Food” Program and will be collecting food during the Ocean City Halloween Parade for the Ocean City Community Food Cupboard.The Halloween Parade is on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. on Asbury Avenue from Sixth Street to 11th Street.Scouting for Food donations will be collected during the Halloween Parade by members of Troop 32.For additional information, contact Dean Mitzel at (609) 736-0745 or visit the Ocean City Troop 32 website www.octroop32.com.Ocean City Boy Scout Troop 32, chartered by Ferguson-Foglio VFW Post 6650, was formed in 1964. The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. For more than a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: April 20, 2021

Co-op boosts fibre in own label sandwich bread

first_imgSource: Co-opCo-op is to boost the fibre content of the bread used in its core own label sandwich range.Wheat fibre, made from 100% wheat, has been added to Co-op’s standard bread recipe. This fibre-enriched bread will be swapped in across 23 lines of the convenience retailer’s core white and malted bread sandwiches from 16 February 2021.The bread boasts up to 100% more fibre per 100g, with an average increase of 66% across the range.Co-op highlights research from the National Diet & Nutrition Survey which found that only 7.5% of adults met the recommended fibre intake of 30g a day – the average intake was just 18.3g a day.“There’s evidence for a wide range of health benefits of fibre, so we’re pleased to announce this industry-first move that will help our members and customers with their fibre consumption,” said Bryonie Hollaert, diet and health manager at Co-op.“However, despite the numerous sources of fibre available, it can be sometimes difficult to hit the recommended daily intake of 30 grams. The fibre-enriched bread in our core sandwiches will make it that little bit easier for customers to get closer to the target.”Kevin Sargent, senior product developer at Co-op, added that the retailer approached the move with a “convenience lens” which required no change to consumer shopping behaviours.“We wanted to develop an already existing product and increase the amount of fibre without the customer even having to think about it while in our stores,” he said.The sandwiches can be purchased on their own or as part of the £3.50 meal deal.Increasing the fibre levels of baked goods, while retaining taste and texture, is a persistent challenge for the industry.Puratos UK recently gained a government-backed grant for the development of Maxfibre – a high-fibre micro powder made from by-products of brewery, cereal milling, and fruit processing.Bridor has also made headway by rolling out a fibre-enriched bread range called L’Ambiote which is the result of four years of research.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: March 1, 2021

Harvard EdCast: How to deal with LGBT issues in schools

first_imgEliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), discusses LGBT issues in K-12 education.To listen to the EdCast: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/how-to-deal-lgbt-issues-in/id393343331?i=92586128 Read Full Storylast_img

Posted by: | Posted on: January 18, 2021

Lessons of the Week! Kristin Chenoweth, Denzel Washington & More

first_img View Comments Star Files Springtime is the busiest time of year on the Great White Way, and we’ve gotta admit, the Broadway.com staff is a little bit sleep-deprived. But that would never stop us from bringing you the 10 craziest things we’ve learned this week! From Lea Michele’s new spirit animal to Nikki M. James’ inability to be friends with a certain five-time Tony Award winner (hint: it’s not Angela Lansbury), we’ve had a very educational week. Read below to find out what we’ve learned!Wanna Date James Franco? Tag Him!Of Mice and Men star James Franco had a bit of an oopsie when he propositioned an underage fan on Instagram and the whole thing kinda blew up in his face. Sorry, James, but she’d rather earn a dollar to sleep with Paul Rudd.Lea Michele Is Going BananasNo, she’s not making a cameo in the finale of Bullets Over Broadway. She’s doing something much more rational—playing a monkey in a Bollywood movie musical! She’s going ape! She’s chimply marvelous! (We’ll be here all week.)Denzel Washington Dreams of UndiesWhen Broadway.com asked the A Raisin in the Sun star what must-have item he wants in his dream house, he waxed poetic about being happy with clean underwear and socks. Sooo, if you’re cool with just socks, can we have your mansion?Kristin Chenoweth Has a Kinky KindleWhat does Kristin Chenoweth do when she isn’t providing the voice for a pink poisonous frog? She reads dirty books, of course! Well, one in particular: 50 Shades of Grey. Kristin, you bad girl! What would Glinda say?Broadway Fans Want BreakfastWe asked readers to vote for the ‘80s teen movie they want to see as a Broadway musical, and The Breakfast Club was the clear winner. We can’t wait to hear its big 11:00 showstopper, “Claire Is a Fat Girl’s Name.”Nikki James Can’t Be Friends with AudraIt’s not because Les Miz star Nikki M. James doesn’t like Lady Day’s Audra McDonald, it’s just that she idolizes her way too much. That’s OK, Nikki, we’re happy to be besties with her. We don’t mind. Audra, let’s do brunch.Kyle Dean Massey Earns Those AbsDuring a two-show day, you’d think Pippin star Kyle Dean Massey would take a nap, grab a cookie from Schmackary’s or at least sit down during his break between perfomances. Instead, he hits the gym, succeeding in making us feel terrible about ourselves. Thanks a lot, Kyle.Don’t Make Laura Benanti DanceLaura Benanti sang like an angel in The Most Happy Fella, but fancy footwork? No way, Giuseppe. While the ensemble (and Heidi Blickenstaff) were busy hoofing in the Encores! presentation, Laura was busy kissing Cheyenne Jackson and falling for Shuler Hensley. Who needs tap shoes anyway?Neil Patrick Harris Has Great LegsWho knew NPH was hiding such a shapely set of legs under Barney Stinson’s Brooks Brothers suits? He’s showing them off (in fishnets!) in Hedwig’s new show photos. We haven’t been this excited since Ramin Karimloo ripped his shirt off.We’ve Got a Vegas Date with Idina in 2054Mark your calendars, because Idina Menzel has officially committed to doing a lounge act in 40 years, singing gravelly renditions of “Let It Go” to her adoring fans while she smokes, coughs and lies down on a couch. Get your—oh wait, tickets just sold out, forget it.center_img Kristin Chenowethlast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: December 30, 2020

The Hellbender Paradox

first_imgLocals and rural folks know a lot more about the outdoors than we often assume.“I guess you could say we spent our youth on this river.”A trio of fishermen are leading me down an abandoned railbed in Virginia’s Guest River Gorge, talking about waterdogs. Or, more appropriately, we’re talking about hellbenders, a giant salamander native to Appalachian streams like this one. The group of anglers, all of them at least twenty years my senior, has joined me to share their experiences with these monstrous salamanders, known by locals under the waterdog name.We pass through a tunnel above the river as one of them continues. “At night, we would see waterdogs as we were gigging fish. Most of the time we’d turn ’em loose, but some of the boys would kill ’em.”Hellbenders are a mountain river’s ultimate conversation piece. Growing over two feet in length, hellbenders spend almost their entire lives under rocks on the river bottom, feeding on crayfish and other aquatic creatures that live nearby. Despite being ancient—hellbenders are descendants of a lineage that dates back over 100 million years—the species is also in trouble, declining at a frightening rate as a result of water pollution and a bizarre appearance that can lead some to mistakenly view the harmless amphibian as a threat.Their weirdness has also elevated hellbenders to rockstar status in Appalachian folklore. Hellbender-centric short films abound on social media, while road races, microbreweries, and burrito joints all bear the hellbender name. For a critter with such a firm hold on our culture, it would be easy to assume that we have learned all there is to know about them. But here in the most rural corners of coal country, the status of our largest native amphibian is a mystery.It’s a problem that extends beyond hellbenders. Take a peek at a nationwide map of scientific collections—the currency biologists use to verify where wildlife species live—and the Blue Ridge lights up like a Christmas tree, thanks to centuries of researchers crawling through our rivers and woods. Look closer, though, and you’ll notice something different: well-traveled places like the Smokies and our national forests are covered in scientific records, while the coalfields to their west sit relatively empty.There are plenty of reasons for those differences. The coalfields have fewer public lands that researchers can access, and biologists tend to be creatures of habit, often returning to the same places year after year for their work. It also might be tempting to write off the coalfields as an environmental wasteland due to devastating practices like mountaintop removal, but that would be a mistake. The region’s environmental issues are real, of course, but they obscure a sort of biological lost world that’s been overlooked in the hollers that lie in between.We might be able to supervise a field survey or give an educational seminar in our sleep, but what can we learn when we accept that we’re not always the experts?It’s this lack of understanding that has brought me to the Guest River with that group of anglers. There are nearly 1,000 miles of waterways in this part of Virginia that have never been surveyed by herpetologists—streams that may or may not hold hellbenders—and it would be impossible for any single research team to cover them all. So over the past several years, I’ve tried a different approach. What if I asked the people who have lived on those rivers their entire lives what they’ve seen?The result has been a window into a forgotten chapter of our environmental history. During that hike along the Guest, for example, one man tells me about how he encountered hellbenders frequently as a child, only to see their numbers decline as surface mining moved into his community. Another, fighting back tears, talks about the pain he felt watching his favorite fishing hole flood in the 1960s following the construction of a downstream dam.On another occasion, a student researcher and I set up a booth at a nearby town’s outdoor festival, where the only spot available for us sat next to a traveling professional wrestling troupe. Between the piledrivers and sleeper holds happening next door, a woman told us about how she grew up killing hellbenders out of fear, only to learn to love the creatures later in life. Now she teaches her grandkids to safely remove fishhooks when the giant trout they’ve snagged turns out to be a waterdog.Chatting about wildlife is a simple proposition, but it’s all too often missing in the way scientists like myself engage with the outdoors. We might be able to supervise a field survey or give an educational seminar in our sleep, but what can we learn when we accept that we’re not always the experts?My epiphany for how important that question can be came on a blisteringly hot afternoon last June. For years, anglers had told me there were hellbenders in a stream that plunged off of a nearby mountain, but I’d ignored them. The creek was too steep and small, I’d said, assuming that they had either seen something else or were just pulling one over on me. I never paid a visit to see if they were right.But as I led a college class down a trail along the stream that afternoon, the students asked if they could jump in to cool off before our ride home. I told them to go ahead, and before long I heard a shout. “You’ve got to come see this!” a student yelled. “What is this thing?!” Cradled in his hands was a young hellbender—the first one ever recorded from that watershed.It wasn’t really the first giant salamander anyone had ever seen there. Those anglers had been scaring them up for years. But the real lesson that stream had been hiding is that our mountains’ treasures are often right in front of us. To find them, all we have to do is look—and listen.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: December 17, 2020

Financial trade groups support AML modernization bill

first_imgTwelve financial groups on January 4th thanked Reps. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) for introducing an anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing modernization bill that will help prevent criminals from using shell companies to hide illicit activity.The bill would impose a beneficial ownership reporting requirement on closely held, non-public legal entities and provide financial institutions with access to reported information to help them with their customer due diligence compliance efforts.“Financial institutions should be able to rely on the information reported by businesses to FinCEN, which would, in turn, reduce the reporting burden on those businesses,” the groups said. 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: December 17, 2020

Business as unusual: Exclusive insights from credit union experts

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paroon Chadha Paroon Chadha co-founded Passageways in 2003 and continues to lead as CEO. He serves on Boards at Passageways, Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Lafayette, Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, … Web: https://www.passageways.com Details “Unprecedented!”“The calm before the storm!”“A source of nervousness!”These were just a few words senior leaders of the credit union movement used to describe the current business environment, which we call “Business As Unusual.”Since the very beginning, credit unions have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. From strategic planning to community engagement, the pandemic has required credit union boards and leaders to throw out the status quo and adapt to ensure their members can continue to grow and thrive.Filene Research Institute and OnBoard recently brought a panel of innovative leaders together to share their insights on how board and leaders are navigating this new era. They included:Paroon Chadha, Co-Founder and CEO, PassagewaysBob Falk, CEO, Purdue Federal Credit UnionDean Pielemeier, President & CEO, Abbey Credit UnionErin Coleman, Senior Director, Advisory Services, Filene Research InstituteAmit Seru, Steven and Roberta Denning Professor of Finance, Stanford Graduate School of BusinessKey takeaways from this panel of experts included:The State of the Economy and Industry: “Now is Calm Before the Storm”Resilience and Recovery Plans: “As Good as Your Experience”Board Interaction During the Crisis: Frequent Updates, Surveys, and Changing FocusMemo from Management to the Board: “Keep It as Strategic as Possible”2021: Predicting the UnpredictableThe State of the Economy and Industry: “Now is Calm Before the Storm”The current environment has been called “the calm before the storm.” Panelists expect the next 12 to 18 months – and even further into the long-term – to be crucial for the economy and the financial services industry.“2020 is still somewhat normal, but we expect 2021 to be a pretty rough year on both the consumer and commercial portfolios. We’ll start seeing some improvement in the economy in 2022. Then in 2023, maybe we’ll get back to a new version of normal.” – Bob Falk“I don’t have a real warm and fuzzy about the next couple years for the economy and how we’re going to have to react to it. I think debts are going to be a very huge burden for the country for years to come. I am concerned about the delinquency we may see this year and into next year. We’ve started ramping up our probation as most people have because we do think that’s coming. We’re going see a lot of cost cutting in our shop just to help offset the PLL provision expense.” – Dean Pielemeier“When thinking about the opportunity for us in the next 12 to 18 months, we’ve talked about focusing on the human connection, which is our superpower as credit unions. It’s not about boiling the ocean, but focusing on what we can control.” – Erin Coleman“In the financial services industry, the last decade was all about banks and credit unions facing headwinds from FinTech and big tech firms. Credit unions and banks will regain the advantage because they understand the industry. But they will have to pull their socks up and try to get into the digital space, and potentially even collaborate with a bunch of these firms.” – Amit SeruResilience and Recovery Plans: “As Good as Your Experience”Disaster recovery plans (DRP) and business continuity plans (BCP) have long been in place as a requirement of regulatory compliance. Written mainly to address recovery from natural disasters, the pandemic and immediate switch to a remote workforce required credit unions to adapt their DRPs and BCPs quickly.“We kicked off our first meeting somewhere in January. I brought it together saying, ‘Hey, we should pay attention to this COVID thing.’ Then we started meeting daily right around mid-February. We were meeting every day and virtually rewriting our business continuity plan every day. How many of us have ever had to shut down our branches within 24 hours and try to figure out how to serve members remotely? How many of us had to figure out how to shut our rear offices down, virtually kick every employee out of the office, and then have them work from home within 24 to 48 hours? We never had that written anywhere in the plan. We had it written for a building hit by a tornado or struck by lightning or flooded, but never a widespread ‘clear out the whole place immediately and everyone work from home.’” – Bob Falk“For us, our plan was more of a disaster scenario. But we had a workforce that really took it seriously and stepped up to the plate where they needed to. Even though we weren’t what I would consider one hundred percent prepared – I don’t think anybody was – we did in short order get things up and running and really never missed a beat with the members. We always had the drive-throughs open. We went out and closed loans out in the parking lot. We kept things running and kept the members safe.” – Dean Pielemeier “Disaster recovery plans are as good as your experience. Credit unions also have had to figure out how to continue engagement and communication with their employees as they are remote. Those are components that were not written in their plans, but became evident relatively quickly because employees and managers needed a connection. While it has been very difficult, credit unions overall were brilliant in creating this pivot and creating a workforce that could continue to serve members right away.” – Erin ColemanBoard Interaction During the Crisis: Frequent Updates, Surveys, and Changing FocusAs their businesses have evolved, so too have interactions between between credit union executives and their boards of directors.“What changed the most was the amount of updates. We moved to virtual meetings in February, and we said ‘We’re going to need the latitude to be able to make decisions quickly. Are we okay just doing that and letting [the board] know what we’re doing?’ And I got that approval to do that, which was really important.”“We were meeting daily making decisions on what we’re changing in the operation. Then I would give the board a Friday update. Here’s the synopsis. Here’s all the stuff we did this week. Here’s when the branches are closing. Here’s when we moved all the employees off site. Here’s all the latest. So there was much more regular communication to the board.” – Bob Falk“I’ve used the survey module within OnBoard to get a feel of where the board members stand on things. For example, I did one recently to get an idea where people stand on getting back together in person.” – Dean Pielemeier“We saw that initially the conversations were one-on-one and were very quick because the CEOs were communicating with board members to tell them what was going on with the business and also to let them know what was going on with the health and safety of the employees. Then the focus went broad and turned to providing immediate relief to members. As that eased, the focus turned to employee safety, security, and providing support to members who still need it.” – Erin ColemanMemo from Management to the Board: “Keep It as Strategic as Possible”During a crisis, events on the ground can shift daily. Credit union executives need the flexibility to move quickly and stay nimble, and boards need to focus on broad-level governance. The key is to recruit board members who are strategic and keep their focus not only every day-to-day detail, but on the bigger picture strategic issues. “The biggest thing that we saw with our board reinforced our path where we are recruiting board members who are strategic. They weren’t involved in the day-to-day. They were very much in a governance role. They stepped back and said ‘Management, you’ve got this. You have the tools to make the decisions. Go and make the decisions. Just keep us in the loop.’ That’s very different from some of my peers who had to go to their board to make those decisions every time. They were much more of an operational board. For me, it really crystallized that it was important to have that strategic governance level board member. Not someone that really wants to watch and run the organization from the boardroom. It just isn’t effective.” – Bob Falk“We’ve been talking to credit unions about making sure you give the board the tools that they need to have that open communication. It’s also very important for them to give the CEO the support that they need, boost them up, provide constructive feedback, and keep it as strategic as possible. Make sure that you’re approaching things from a factual standpoint. It’s easy to say and hard to do in these tumultuous times, but it’s imperative to keep your eye as a board member on the facts of the current state and on the future. Give the flexibility and the trust to the CEO and the executive team to run the business while you keep your eye on higher-level information. Listen and ask questions if you don’t understand what decisions are being made and what that means strategically.” – Erin Coleman2021: Predicting the UnpredictableThere is a saying: “It is often said there are two types of forecasts: lucky or wrong.” Nevertheless, each of the panelists offered one prediction they see coming true by the end of 2021.“I think you’re going to see an extreme ramp up of consolidation.  There are absolute capital drain and capital impactful types of issues that are headed our industry’s way, and that’s going to drive immense consolidation in both the credit union and banking industries. It’s won’t just be about small credit unions merging into bigger credit unions. It’s going to be shops like my billion and a half credit union [Purdue Federal Credit Union] with another billion and a half or 2 billion credit union to get those economies of scale, to pick up some functionality, and to handle the load on the organization.” – Bob Falk“The dollar is the most dominant currency in terms of how transactions are done worldwide. I expect a lot of competition to come up at a fast pace and are going to slowly but surely chip away at the dominance that dollar has. All this spending of trillions of dollars that we have done and probably need to keep doing is not going to help on that front. And it’s going to probably happen much faster than anybody thought because everybody thought that the only currency we need to worry about probably is the central bank currency of China. But there are digital players coming up, too, and they are going to challenge the dollar as well.” – Amit Seru“I think it’s going to be very difficult for credit unions to keep their bottom line because capital is going to be an issue because of the growth that we’ve seen and some of this stimulus money that’s coming in. We’ve grown 23%, and if we don’t see some that go back out, our capital ratio is going to be something to be concerned about. So I think keeping capital up is going to be a struggle next year. We’ll start seeing credit unions merge to try and resolve the issues and some of it just out of necessity.” – Dean Pielemeier“The reason for all this economic conversation we’re having is the health pandemic. And I think a year from now, we will see a widely available and affordable vaccine. Our conversations next year will be about how we shore up that bottom line, and also about encouraging mobility, spending where possible, and continuing to support members where they need it most. From a cultural perspective, I expect that more of us will work remote and that there will be different ways of interacting with members that perhaps we haven’t even thought of yet. I think the face of our workforce and the face of our membership is going to change because conversations about racial and economic justice are going to continue. And I think ultimately that’s going to be a good thing.” – Erin Coleman“I predict the death of privately-owned data centers. We’re starting to see the real grinding on that front.” – Paroon ChadhaWatch the Webinar Replay to Learn Even MoreThose were just five of the insights that the leadership panel shared. There was plenty more to be learned from this rich and thoughtful conversation, so we encourage you to sign up and watch the full webinar replay.Watch the webinar replay.last_img read more