Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

Congratulations Credit Unions, on a Century of Service

March 12, 2008

I have the great honor and pleasure of talking to credit union professionals all over the nation. The subject of the proud history of CUs, holds special meaning to me because I had worked with the movement for about ten years before I learned ANYTHING about its incredible history. I certainly had no idea that the movement started in my backyard, a hop skip and jump across the border, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

I gave a talk on social media and World 2.0 this morning to a group of about forty credit union marketing professionals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire at the CU League’s headquarters in Marlborough, Mass. I asked about the movement’s founding, and it was wonderful to get a detailed answer. In our presence was a representative of that very first CU, Andrea Pruna of St. Mary’s Bank. Not only did she know the date by heart (November 24, 1908), but she let us know about a wonderful section of their web site devoted to this, the Centennial Year of Credit Union service. I encourage everyone to check out Celebrating 100 Years for a terrific look at the amazing road we’ve traveled so far.

This is one of the reasons I’m especially excited that BarCampBank NewEngland will be held in America’s Credit Union Museum on April 5. The museum is the actual house where St. Mary’s Bank first began operations 100 years ago, out of the home of Attorney Joseph Boivin, who served as the CU’s President. If you listen very carefully, you may hear the whispers of the generations that have preceeded you when you stand in the parlor of the building.

Shout-outs to so many of the fabulous credit union marketers who came today. Thanks to Jon Reske and Anne Pinkerton from UMassFive College FCU, Mark Vautour from Telephone Workers CU, Deena Bernier from NMTW Community CU, and Debra Perrin from Southern Mass CU. I’m not good with names, so I haven’t remembered those who I met for the first time, but thank you also. It was fun that we had four one-billion-dollar CUs represented as well, Greylock FCU in the Berkshires, HarborOne CU in the South Boston area, DCU of the Worcester area, and Navigant CU in RI. Thank you to Rob Kimmett for organizing a great event and inviting me, and it was wonderful to catch up with CU whirlwind Bonnie Doolin.

My presentation today included demonstrating and explaining Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and showed examples from Shari Storm and the Verity CU team, William Azaroff of Vancity CU and Change Everything, Ginny Brady, board member of UFirst FCU with the Boardcast, and Tim McAlpine of Currency Marketing with Larissa Walkiw, spokesperson for Young and Free Alberta, and her infamous Credit Union Difference video part one, currently at 16,228 views. On the topic of Facebook, I have started writing a paper on the Facebook as Marketing Engine and plan on publishing excerpts to this blog. For those interested in checking out twitter, here’s the one-page PDF of Twitter Tips.

I also touched on Peer-to-Peer Lending (P2P Lending), Prosper’s amazing growth rate, and how CUs can participate by getting in touch with Doug True, SVP of Lending, at Forum CU. Doug has been instrumental in having P2P Lending company Zopa partner with CUs to offer NCUA-insured loans and investments.

TV News meets Kung Fu via Facebook

February 24, 2008

Chinese New Year’s resident Cold Fusion programming genius, Adam Lueb is a busy guy. In addition to keeping the site humming and implementing Online Switch Kits for scores of credit unions all over the country, he also runs the Shaolin Kung Fu Center in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Tonight, Adam and the Center held a Chinese New Year’s celebration and Kung Fu demonstration. And Adam, being the social person, and savvy entrepreneur that he is, listed the celebration on Facebook. In addition to being a great time, the Chinese New Year’s celebration and Kung Fu demonstration is also a way to get new people interested in becoming Kung Fu students. So Adam hoped to attract additional people to the event via Facebook.

When an event is posted to Facebook, if it’s a regional event, it will appear on the Network’s home page calendar unless you choose not to have it appear there. Oh, and did I mention the cost to put your event on Facebook? It’s free.

A couple of days ago, Adam got a phone call from a reporter for one of the local TV News stations, an ABC affliate, WGGB ABCNews 40. She wanted to cover the event. Adam readily agreed, and asked how she had heard about it. The calendar of events on the Network page of Facebook was the answer.

So what is the lesson from this chain of events? Well-planned events that are closely connected to your core brand/business strategy are terrific for getting the word out about your organization. And you never know who is going to see your event when you publicize it in online channels. By the way, the Celebration was enthralling. Here is the event’s Facebook page, and more photos.

Interview with Trey Reeme

January 25, 2008
Morriss Partee interviews Trey Reeme, now Channel Integration Manager for TDECU in Houston, TX. In the photo, Trey is on the left, and Morriss is on the right. Recorded on Friday, January 11, 2008, while Trey was in Lake Jackson, TX (near Houston), and Morriss was in Holyoke, MA. Trey’s new blog can be found here:

The impetus for this interview was Trey’s leaving Trabian, a web-design company specializing in serving CUs, after being with the company for four start-up years, to work on the other side of the table for TDECU, a $1 billion, 107,000 member CU in Lake Jackson, TX. Inquiring minds wanted to know why, and what Trey is planning next.

Audio post uploaded by mmpartee using Utterz. mp3

Think your story doesn’t affect your bottom line?

November 27, 2007

If you think your story doesn’t affect your bottom line, think again. It’s one thing to feel intuitively that your story is important, it’s quite another to have proof. And I’d like to share some proof, to the tune of $600,000.

I recently had a chance to visit and have lunch with Jon Reske, VP of Marketing of UMassFive College Federal Credit Union. UMassFive has just opened a new branch in Northampton, MA, and it is quite nice. Jon told me that many features of their new branch were inspired by what he learned and experienced at the Triple-B Portland in 2005, particularly by what he learned from Umpqua Bank. It’s quite warm and welcoming, and if you are ever in Western Mass, I would urge you to check it out.

While there, Jon showed me their new member brochure, and the items which are covered when a person signs up as a new member of the credit union. The very first item covered is the credit union’s story; what a credit union is; and how the cooperative nature of the financial institution works.

Just a few weeks ago, a couple came into the credit union to open a new account, and a CU employee explained what the credit union was all about. The next day, the couple came back with a check for $500,000 and deposited it into their new money market account. The employee who opened the account with them the day before was quite happy, and asked them how this deposit came to be. It turns out that the couple was looking for a place to deposit this money, and when they learned about the cooperative, not-for-profit nature of the credit union, and what it stood for, and the fact that their money would stay local, they decided to deposit their money with UMassFive. Later in the week, the couple returned with an additional $100,000 deposit. The couple was also referred to the Financial Planning division of the credit union. Both the couple and the credit union are exceedingly happy.

So start with step one: If you are a credit union, TELL YOUR STORY. Don’t let anyone tell you that your story doesn’t matter, that no one cares. Your story matters. Period.

Pioneer Valley credit unions are a-rockin!

November 14, 2007

John Buckley and MorrissJust gave a talk on World 2.0 to the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Credit Union League. It was wonderful to see so many of our Western Massachusetts friends, and the turn-out was fantastic with 120 people representing 13 credit unions. Huge props to Jon Reske, VP of Marketing, at UMassFive College FCU, and the person responsible for my involvment in credit unions today. Jon is an excellent person doing great things for his credit union, which just opened a new branch in Northampton. Thanks for the great introduction tonight, Jon! Also a big thank you to UMassFive College FCU President, Kathy Hutchinson, for inviting me to speak to the chapter, as well as Chapter President, John Buckley, COO, of MassMutual FCU, a charming host. Dave Plantier, President of MassMutual FCU also provided helpful advice. Morriss and MattThe credit union industry is very very lucky to have these talented and gracious individuals working so hard on their behalf. Also big shout-outs to the other CUs in attendance that we’ve worked with; Jim Nagy and Noella Boileau of ValleyStone CU; Anabela Pereira and Trecia Marchand of Pioneer Valley FCU; and Wendy Tariff, CEO of Wemelco CU. I look forward to keeping in touch with the other credit unions in attendance.

Congratulations to GFA FCU

November 7, 2007

Congratulations to Massachusetts credit union, GFA FCU on being named Community Credit Union of the Year at CUNA’s Community CU Conference. GFA FCU is located in Gardner, MA, and has 19,000 members and $116m in total loans. The initials GFA originally stood for Gardner Franco-American. Hat tip: Massachusetts Credit Union League

Great sessions at PodCampBoston

October 31, 2007

One of the wonderful things about a PodCamp is that it gets recorded, blogged, and twittered about. While I was there, I heard about some great sessions that I missed (with 6 or 7 tracks going on, it was often hard to choose among excellent ones.)

Sessions I attended: Dan York did one on best practices for conducting interviews for your podcast using VoIP. While he explained how using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), yields a much higher audio quality, I wished he would have covered how to get the best quality out of a simple set-up. The rig he talked about involved a mixer, headset, and two computers running simulataneously. Now don’t get me wrong, I am an audiophile and have a background in music engineering. But I’m not going to rig up a mixer, and two computers (one running Skype, the other recording) to conduct an interview for podcast. That stuff is all well and good, but I also want to know how I can do it with a PowerBook, Skype, and say, GarageBand. Or perhaps all I need is to conference in someone using Utterz.

David Maister is a fascinating British chap. He is a B2B consultant, and made some great points about how to achieve success in business. He gave fresh interpretations on “it’s not about you, it’s about them”. David on how to win business: Don’t tell the other person how great you are, instead start helping them right away. He gave away copies of his latest book at the end, but he gave away his last copy when I was next in line. 😦 Here is a link to a great blog post that he mentioned: Do you really want relationships? Another great quote: The route to business success may be fairly obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Jeff Pulver did a session that talked about his pioneering efforts in VoIP. Essentially, he is one of the people who changed the face of how telecoms work, and talked about some interesting moments being grilled for info in an unmarked building in DC with interviewers who wouldn’t identify themselves. Jeff talked about the importance of following your dreams and passions as an entrepreneur. Jeff was one of the major sponsors of the event, and sponsored part of the space in the convention center as well as the Saturday night party. Right now, he’s still in Boston, being a part of the VON conference, also in the BCEC. Best quote from Jeff during PodCampBoston: “We do most of our best thinking in the shower. Then why are there no showers in offices?”

Two other sessions that I missed, that there was positive buzz about: Laura Fitton’s Killer Presentations session, and Neil Gorman’s session that was originally titled Your Podcast is not a f***ing toaster. The link is to a video of this session given at a conference earlier this summer. This presentation is long, and starts with an excellent overview of the state of media/broadcasting/podcasting today. It then goes into some humor that only seasoned podcasters will find funny. Interestingly, I think podcaster burnout is probably caused by the one-way nature of podcasting. It is hard to always be speaking into a “vacuum”, i.e. speaking without an audience in front of you. Thus the popularity of interviews in the podcasting realm.

Another cool aspect of today’s networking technology, such as Facebook, and the wiki of this event, is that before the event, I saw that a Baltimorean, Greg Cangalosi, was coming north to be there. So I met him at the camp, along with another Baltimorean, David Beaudouin, who also created some good Utterz about the PodCamp.

photo courtesy Jeff O’Hara (blog)

God bless America

August 13, 2007

New England RevolutionGod bless America.

Yesterday, my son and I made a two-hour journey to the other side of the state to watch the New England Revolution take on the LA Galaxy at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

It was a beautiful day to take in a soccer match at one of the country’s premier stadiums. Gillette Stadium is but five years old, and home of the three-time Superbowl winning New England Patriots.

Overall, it was a great experience. The soccer action was fantastic, and when yellow-shoed Taylor Twellman scored the game’s only goal, it was fun that muskets and fireworks were shot into the sky.

But there is one thing about the experience that still chaps my butt. My 8-year-old son and I packed a small knapsack with suntan lotion, books for the bus ride, two 20 oz. bottles filled with tap water, some snacks, and a few of his favorite stuffed animals to keep him company for the long bus ride there and back. Foolishly, I did not leave the knapsack on the bus, but took it with me to the stadium in case we wanted something in the knapsack during the game. What I didn’t anticipate was that security would allow no food or beverage in the stadium.

Outside the gates, security was checking all bags. Were they checking for improvised explosive devices in the bags? Were they looking to thwart a potential terrorist attack? No, they were making sure that no outside food and beverages were tainting their captive food and drink sales.

They made me throw two 20-oz. bottles of tap water into a garbage can before I could enter the stadium.

FootballHeaven forbid that my home-tap-water-filled 20 oz. bottle of water would prevent them from making $3.75 on a bottle of water purchased inside the stadium.

Feeling satisfied that they had performed their commercial duty, the security official didn’t even both searching my knapsack further, or else he would have discovered two CapriSun lemonade 6.75 oz. drink pouches. These are actually made by Kraft, so Mr. Kraft can feel good knowing that he’s already made some money there. [thanks to Bill Dusty for setting me straight and providing a link on how Kraft earned his fortune.]

I could understand if they were preventing alcohol from being brought into the premises. By limiting alcohol, the stadium staff can keep the crowd from getting too rowdy. I could even understand if they were preventing outside food from being brought in. Perhaps even soda. But tap water? I can’t bring a bottle of tap water into the confines of Gillette Stadium? Whatever happened to public drinking fountains? I didn’t see any of them inside.

Here’s where it gets really crazy: The town of Foxboro even admits it doesn’t have enough water for the high-water-usage 68,000 seat stadium, and therefore the developers have created an enormous, sophisticated, expensive water-reuse system. So when I bring my tap water 100 miles to the stadium, you make me throw it in a garbage can???

For the record, I did not purchase a bottle of water in the stadium. I did purchase other food and drink, but no different than what I would have done, had not Security made me throw away my two bottles of tap water.

I think this is a public disgrace. I can’t believe the state of Massachusetts and the town of Foxboro allowed Mr. Kraft to build a stadium without public drinking fountains. Shame on you, Robert Kraft, and the Kraft family.

I hope any green-minded people reading this blog chime in! Here’s hoping that one dad on one very small blog can make a difference.