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Newsletter Archives

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Catalyst Connect Archives


Catalyst Connect – December 18, 2018     
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    U.S. Tariffs: Then and Now: The word "tariffs" has been in the media a lot lately. What, exactly, are tariffs? And what do they have to do with consumers and credit unions? 

    Capturing Hearts for the Fifth Year: Catalyst Corporate is preparing to kick off its fifth annual "Capture My Heart" marketing campaign – coinciding with the week of Valentine’s Day – for credit unions that use its mobile deposit services. 

    Holiday Publication Schedule: Catalyst Connect will not publish on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, but will publish on Thursday, December 27. Market Snapshot will not publish on Wednesday, December 26, and Behind the Numbers will not publish on Friday, December 28; both publications will resume regular schedules the week of December 31.

    Happy Holidays: Warmest wishes from Catalyst Corporate and Catalyst Strategic Solutions this holiday season. Catalyst will close Tuesday, December 25 to observe the Christmas holiday. See Catalyst Corporate's 2019 holiday schedule.



Catalyst Connect – December 11, 2018     
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    Tally on Training: As another year comes to a close, so does the 2018 training calendar. This year, more than 1,700 individuals enrolled in Catalyst Corporate educational opportunities. See what training members received and what is new for 2019. 

    Strong Foundations: In 2018, Catalyst Corporate had opportunities to help credit unions improve their bottom lines with operational efficiencies and investment strategies. It also helped some credit union employees to rebuild their lives following disasters that rocked our nation. 

    Contingency Communications: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communications exercise Wednesday, December 12 at 10 a.m Central Time. Be sure to update your Contingency Communications contacts in TranZact.

    December Events and 2019 Calendar: Christmas Day Holiday for Catalyst Corporate and Catalyst Strategic Solutions (Dec. 25). The link includes Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule through 2019.



Catalyst Connect – December 4, 2018     
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    Be Careful What You Wish For: In 2005, interest rate derivative and bond traders complained about being bored, wishing for more volatility in the rate markets. We got that volatility over the next few years – and then some – and recovery was slow. Volatility is back in most markets. Could this cause the Fed to over-tighten, pushing the economy into a recession?

    No Bond Purchases Tomorrow: With the stock market closed Wednesday, December 5 to observe the national day of mourning for former President George H.W. Bush, Catalyst will be unable to purchase bonds for credit unions. Federal Reserve Bank payment systems will operate normally. No other Catalyst services should be affected.

    Add These Important Dates to Your 2019 Calendar: CU Business Group announces dates and locations for its 2019 National Business Services Conference. Once again, this popular conference is slated for two venues – one in the Northwest and the other in the Southeast.

    Contingency Communications: Catalyst Corporate will conduct a Contingency Communications exercise Wednesday, December 12 at 10 a.m Central Time. Be sure to update your Contingency Communications contacts in TranZact.

    Fall Events and Training: Christmas Day Holiday for Catalyst Corporate and Catalyst Strategic Solutions (Dec. 25). The link includes Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule through 2019.



Catalyst Connect – November 27, 2018     
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    On the Go! Catalyst Corporate’s Mobile Capture integrates with nearly every mobile banking platform, providing credit union members with a seamless mobile banking experience. Check out 10 ways Mobile Capture can benefit your credit union’s remote deposit process service.

    New Loan Participation Available: If your credit union is looking for a way to manage liquidity, Catalyst Corporate’s Loan Participation Program can help. This established program offers high-quality loan pools and management of the sales cycle from start to finish. See what’s available today!

    You’ve Got Mail: Catalyst Corporate's Q4 2018 SCAN publication will arrive in mailboxes soon, but it's available online now. This edition shares the latest on Catalyst Corporate's partnership with Ripple, cash management trends and more.

    November Events and Training: Navigating the Catalyst Corporate Website (Nov. 28).



Catalyst Connect – November 20, 2018     
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    'Tis the Season!: As holiday cards start inundating mailboxes, there’s another type of card you won’t want to overlook – the debit card. The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts this year, and many will be purchased with debit cards. Protect the accounts connected to those cards with Catalyst Corporate’s CardNav.

    Innovative Online Banking across All Devices: In search of a next-gen digital platform? Catalyst Corporate’s Digital Suite delivers innovation to credit union online banking through all devices. See how a single, state-of-the-art digital platform offers credit unions big advantages like superior usability, ease of maintenance and lower costs.

    Thankful for Our Members: Catalyst Corporate will close Thursday, November 22, to observe Thanksgiving Day. We will open again on Friday, November 23. See Catalyst Corporate’s holiday schedule.

    November Events and Training: Navigating the Catalyst Corporate Website (Nov. 28).



Catalyst Connect – November 13, 2018     
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    Info on ISO 20022: The term “ISO 20022” may sound familiar, but since the Fed won't begin implementing it until 2020, researching ISO 20022 doesn’t rank very high on credit union to-do lists. See why Catalyst Corporate's VP, Correspondent Services, says it should.

    Catalyst Corporate's Progress Report: Catalyst Corporate's Q3 2018 Progress Summary is now available online. This quarterly report offers information about membership growth, key performance ratios and the corporate's performance to date.

    Benefits of Derivatives: Derivatives can be powerful interest rate risk management tools for credit unions concerned about their exposure to changing interest rates. In this free, on-demand webinar, Catalyst Corporate experts explain how derivatives work, how to incorporate them into a credit union's ALM framework and what NCUA's regulatory guidance is regarding their use.

    November Events and Training: Deposit Chek® with Catalyst Corporate (Nov. 14) and Navigating the Catalyst Corporate Website (Nov. 28).



Catalyst Connect – November 6, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – October 30, 2018     
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    Big Data is a Big Deal: What’s the key to a credit union’s success? Catalyst Corporate VP of ALM Services says, it’s the members. But as credit unions grow and gain more members, it gets harder to know them. What can credit unions do to gain more insights into our members? Two words: BIG DATA.

    Panels Add Insight to Future Forums: Listening to peers talk about their successes (and challenges) is a valuable part of any conference experience. Attendees at Catalyst Corporate’s recent Future Forums heard from their peers on a range of topics – from Artificial Intelligence to Branch Relevancy to Real Estate Lending – during three panel discussions.

    The Heart of a Credit Union: The impact credit unions have on members and communities is evident, but sometimes, a reminder is helpful. This month, as the credit union industry celebrates its 70th International Credit Union Day, a Catalyst Corporate investment officer recognizes the spirit of the credit union movement and reflects on the importance and core values it offers to the underserved.

    November Events and Training: Deposit Capture Research & Accounting (Nov. 7), Deposit Chek® with Catalyst Corporate (Nov. 14) and Navigating the Catalyst Corporate Website (Nov. 28).



Catalyst Connect – October 23, 2018     
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    Payments Forum Pays Off! For the first time in its 41-year history, Catalyst Corporate’s Future Forums included two days focused on payments and technology trends. Credit union leaders heard numerous presentations centered around how technologies can benefit credit unions and their members.

    Making Waves with Ripple: Earlier this month at Future Forums, Ryan Gaylor, Director of Corporate Payments at Ripple, described a process that would allow credit unions to provide end-to-end settlement of cross-border payments in minutes, at much lower cost than current methods. The technology already exists, he said, and the wheels are turning in that direction.

    A Look at Cybersecurity in 2018: Cybersecurity dominates many credit union discussions today. With good reason, according to Diana Hennel, Catalyst Corporate Chief Technology Officer. “When credit unions are able to proactively manage the ‘attack lifecycle,’ it helps to prevent or limit the damage to an organization’s IT infrastructure, prevent data loss, and protect a credit union’s reputation,” she says.

    Upcoming Events and Training: ACH Audit Requirements (AAP credit – Oct. 24), Deposit Capture Research & Accounting (Nov. 7) and Deposit Chek​® with Catalyst Corporate (Nov. 14).



Catalyst Connect – October 16, 2018     
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    Four Days of Future Forums: Earlier this month, nearly 300 credit union leaders met at Catalyst Corporate’s Future Forums to hear 30+ speakers cover topics from faster payments to global impacts on the local economy… and everything in between. Greg Moore, EVP of member relations, shares some of the highlights.

    What's New With TranzCapture? The TranzCapture CUSO is jointly owned by Catalyst Corporate, Alloya Corporate FCU and Corporate One FCU, thus reinforcing what was already the largest credit union check processor in the nation. In addition to offering credit unions convenience and advanced features through its web-based applications, this short video explains numerous benefits of TranzCapture!

    Oct. 18 is International Credit Union Day! Catalyst Corporate is celebrating International Credit Union Day's platinum anniversary on Oct. 18. Looking back on 70 years, we're thankful for the lives and communities impacted by the principles and actions of this movement. Share an International Credit Union Day message on social media using the hashtag, #PlatinumLiningFound.

    Fall Events and Training: Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (Oct 17), ACH Audit Requirements (Oct. 24), Deposit Capture Research & Accounting (Nov. 7) and Deposit Chek with Catalyst Corporate (Nov. 14).



Catalyst Connect – October 9, 2018     
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    Ripple and Catalyst Corporate Join Forces: Credit unions may have access to fast, reliable, cost-effective blockchain payments in the future, thanks to a partnership between Catalyst Corporate and Ripple, the leading enterprise blockchain solutions provider for payments. Catalyst Corporate will explore Ripple’s blockchain solution initially to overcome a number of challenges credit unions and their members face with international wires.

    Last Week at Future Forums… Nearly 300 credit union leaders gathered for Catalyst Corporate’s inaugural Future Forums. Beginning Monday, Oct. 1, credit union professionals heard economic experts from all over the country forecast what they expect from the economy, why they expect those trends to prevail and how to prepare.

    Fed Hike Puts Spotlight on Cash Management: With interest rates on the rise, effective cash management is more important than ever, said Future Forums presenter, David Austin. See how Catalyst Corporate’s Vault View cash management service helps credit unions allocate cash resources strategically to minimize excess, maximize earnings and promote member satisfaction.

    October Events and Training: TranZact Basics for the User (Oct. 10), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (Oct 17) and ACH Audit Requirements (Oct. 24).



Catalyst Connect – October 2, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – September 25, 2018     
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    Same-Day ACH is Expanding: NACHA approved three new Same-Day ACH rules and will begin implementing those rules next year. Catalyst Corporate's VP, Correspondent Services explains how credit unions can prepare for these upcoming changes.

    Pricing Notification Available This Week: Catalyst Corporate's 2019 Service Pricing Guide was emailed to chief executive officers at member and client credit unions earlier this week. The Pricing Guide includes convenient links to product and service summaries on Catalyst Corporate's website. Contact Member Services if you did not receive an email.

    Walk-Ins Welcome! Don't miss Catalyst Corporate's Future Forums at the Omni Frisco, Oct. 1-4. If you didn't get a chance to register ahead of time, walk-ins are welcome! Check out the full line-up and other events at catalystcorp.org/r/forum.

    Fall Events and Education: Share Drafts (Sept. 26) and Future Forums (Oct. 1-4), TranZact Basics for the User (Oct. 10), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (Oct 17) and ACH Audit Requirements (Oct. 24).



Catalyst Connect – September 18, 2018     
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    Catalyst CEO Announces Retirement: Kathy Garner, Catalyst Corporate's President and CEO, will retire in March 2019. The Board of Directors tapped Bruce Fox, the corporate’s current Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, as the new President/CEO upon Garner’s retirement. Read the official announcement on the corporate's website.

    Benefits and Beyond: What do a flat tire, cracked phone screen and full-priced oil change have in common? All these situations can improve with the Catalyst BaZing checking rewards program See why implementing this program was a no-brainer for one Texas-based credit union.

    Happy Birthday, Catalyst! This month, Catalyst Corporate turns seven, and these years have been brimming with challenges, innovations, surprises and growth. President and CEO Kathy Garner highlights seven milestones reached since 2011 in this week's Insights from Catalyst blog.

    There's Still Time: Catalyst Corporate's Future Forums is only two weeks away, but there's still time to register online. Visit catalystcorp.org/r/forum to see the lineup of speakers, special events and registration information. You won't want to miss out!

    Fall Events and Education: CUBG National Business Services Conference (Savannah, GA, Sept. 24-26), Share Drafts (Sept. 26) and Future Forums (Oct. 1-4), TranZact Basics for the User (Oct. 10) and Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (Oct 17).



Catalyst Connect – September 11, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – September 4, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – August 28, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – August 21, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – August 14, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – August 7, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – July 31, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – July 24, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – July 17, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – July 10, 2018     
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    The Survey Says... Catalyst Corporate conducted its annual member satisfaction survey in May, receiving a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 82 – the highest rating in the survey’s history. The top drivers were “Delivers on promises and instills trust,” “Provides prompt responsive service” and “Offers services and expertise that are important to my credit union.” See a summary of results here.

    Speaker Spotlight – Bill Hampel: The U.S. economy is in the midst of a "sugar rush" from full employment, says economic consultant, Bill Hampel. And while it feels good right now, it could change in about 18 months. Hear more of Hampel's insights as he presents The Economy's Impact on Credit Unions at Future Forums.

    Finastra Acquires Malauzai: Global technology firm Finastra has acquired Malauzai, Catalyst Corporate’s mobile banking provider. See how this acquisition will continue to provide fully integrated core banking, lending, payments and digital engagement solutions to credit unions.

    Upcoming Education and Events: TranZact Basics for the User (July 11), ACH Receipt & Returns (July 18), ACH Risk Management (July 25) and CUBG's National Business Services Conference (Portland, OR, Aug. 6-8).



Catalyst Connect – July 3, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – June 26, 2018     
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Catalyst Corporate – June 19, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – June 12, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – June 5, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 29, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 22, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 15, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – May 8, 2018     
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    Strengthening Investments: As the interest rate environment and yield curve shift, now is as good a time as any to assess your investment strategy. Catalyst Corporate's VP, Advisory Service offers one strategy for credit unions navigating flat spreads and anticipated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

    You've Got Mail: Earlier today, Catalyst Corporate sent credit unions an email with a link to its annual Member Survey. The survey gauges members’ opinions in areas such as trust, financial performance, member service and value. The survey takes less than five minutes to complete. If you did not receive your survey link, please email surveys@catalystcorporate.org or call 214.703.7842.

    What's in Store for LIBOR? LIBOR is the critical benchmark rate widely used to gauge credit market conditions. While it's critical to financial markets as the index quoted in derivative and financial contracts across the globe, it's also a key economic indicator. One Catalyst Corporate Senior Investment Officer explores the current state of LIBOR and its future.

    Upcoming Events: Share Drafts (May 9), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, May 9-10), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (May 16), Navigating the Corporate Website (June 6), CUBG’s Commercial Real Estate Lending for Credit Unions (Plano, TX, June 27-28)  and Investment Basics (on-demand).



Catalyst Connect – May 1, 2018     
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    This Just In: Unable to make it to Catalyst Corporate's 2018 Annual Meeting earlier today? Check out the recorded video which includes a review of the corporate's 2017 activities, upcoming initiatives and the results from the Board of Directors election. Thank you to all who attended for your continued support of Catalyst Corporate.

    Corporate One Joins Catalyst and Alloya in TranzCapture Partnership: Corporate One FCU is the latest corporate credit union to join the TranzCapture, LLC strategic partnership, designed to provide credit unions nationwide with quality check processing services. The addition of Corporate One strengthens what was already the largest credit union check processor in the nation.

    Speaker Spotlight– April Rinne The average car sits parked 23 hours a day, yet car owners pay to own it 24/7. To April Rinne, a sharing economy expert, the concept of owning something that’s barely used doesn’t make much sense. Rinne will share more on this topic as she presents Surviving and Thriving in the Sharing Economy at Future Forums.

    May Events: Navigating ACH Resources – Part 2 (May 2 – AAP credit), Share Drafts (May 9), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, May 9-10), Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (May 16) and Investment Basics (on-demand).



Catalyst Connect – April 24, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – April 17, 2018     
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    Speaker Spotlight – Jim Kasch: When it comes to change in the financial industry, Jim Kasch, CEO of Canidae Consulting and a former credit union executive, says credit unions are a little scared, a little excited and a little confused. Kasch will help credit unions navigate those feelings when he presents Becoming Agents of Change at Catalyst Corporate's Future Forums.

    Checking Account Challenges: A recent study found that more people have checking accounts, but they’re not writing as many checks. While the need for checking accounts still exists, how they are used is changing. Catalyst Corporate's VP of Sales offers insights on these findings.

    You've Been Accepted! College acceptance letters are reaching mailboxes all over the country. Do you have financial aid questions? You're not alone. Catalyst Corporate provides credit unions a private student loan referral program through its partnership with Sallie Mae. Register for the free Student Loan Program Overview webinar on April 26 to learn more about this program.

    Upcoming Opportunities: Funds Transfer Services (April 18), CUBG’s Commercial Lending for Credit Union Auditors (April 19), Navigating ACH Resources – Part 1 (April 25 – AAP credit), Student Loan Program Overview (April 26), Navigating ACH Resources – Part 2 (May 2 – AAP credit), Share Drafts (May 9), CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Portland, OR, May 9-10) and Corporate Checking & Positive Pay (May 16).



Catalyst Connect – April 10, 2018     
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Catalyst Connect – April 3, 2018     
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    Benefits of a Backup Plan: : Does your credit union have a backup plan in case something goes wrong? What about another backup in case the original backup plan fails? See how one credit union faced this scary scenario late last year – and how Catalyst Corporate was able to help.

    Commercial Lending for CU Auditor: CUBG, a Catalyst Corporate partner, is hosting a live, 90-minute webinar on commercial lending for credit union auditors at 1 p.m. Central Time (CT), April 19. See what the NCUA looks for in a commercial loan audit, learn how to develop an audit program focused on proper commercial loan underwriting and compliance... and more! Register today.

    Mark Your Calendar: Join Catalyst Corporate for its 2018 Annual Meeting at 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, May 1. Review the corporate’s 2017 performance and hear plans for 2018. Elections will be held to fill expiring terms on Catalyst Corporate’s board of directors. Attend in-person or register for a live video stream.

    Upcoming Training and Education: CUBG’s Business Lending Bootcamp (Plano, TX, April 4-5), TranZact Basics for the User (April 11), 3 Investment Strategies to Boost your ROA (April 12 – CPE credit), Funds Transfer Services (April 18), CUBG’s Commercial Lending for Credit Union Auditors (April 19), Navigating ACH Resources – Part 1 (April 25 – AAP credit), Student Loan Program Overview (April 26) and Navigating ACH Resources – Part 2 (May 2 – AAP credit).



Catalyst Connect – March 27, 2018     
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Contact Catalyst Corporate if you are looking for an older issue of [Connect/SCAN/Behind the Numbers].


SCAN Archives


SCAN - Fourth Quarter 2018
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SCAN - Third Quarter 2018
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SCAN Second Quarter 2018
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Contact Catalyst Corporate if you are looking for an older issue of [Connect/SCAN/Behind the Numbers].


Behind the Numbers Archives


Behind the Numbers – December 21, 2018
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A Dove Disguised as a Hawk? – What initially was labeled a "dovish hike," quickly became viewed as extremely hawkish by the financial markets. The Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to increase the fed funds rate 25 basis points, making this the fourth move in 2018 and the ninth rate move in three years. The Committee reduced the...


Behind the Numbers – December 14, 2018
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Have Prices Peaked? – Inflation appears to be receding after a mid-year peak. The year-over-year rates for both wholesale and consumer prices fell to the lowest levels in more than nine months. Wholesale prices rose 2.5 percent from November 2017, while consumer prices were up 2.2 percent in the same period. The recent plunge in global oil costs is...


Behind the Numbers – December 7, 2018
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No Reason to Run for CoverThe sky is falling! Or, in our case, stock prices and bond yields are falling. But the message is the same – this week’s dramatic action in the financial markets may be another Chicken Little situation. Stock investors continue to...


Behind the Numbers – November 30, 2018
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He Said, They Said – How many ways can you analyze a speech? Too many, when it comes to the Fed. Analysts, economists and market pundits had a field day on Wednesday trying to interpret the real meaning behind...


Behind the Numbers – November 16, 2018
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The Second Look – This week's inflation report was a welcome relief after last week's news about higher-than-expected wholesale prices. The consumer price index rose 0.3 percent in October, and core prices were up 0.2 percent, both spot on expectations. While the CPI numbers were...


Behind the Numbers – November 9, 2018
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Inflation Bouncing Around – One month lower than expected, the next month higher than expected. The end result may be nothing to worry about. Producer prices jumped in October by 0.6 percent after a small 0.2 percent rise the previous month. The increase was the largest... 


Behind the Numbers – November 2, 2018
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Good News at Last – One word for today's job report – WOW. The country added 250,000 jobs in October, average earnings rose 3.1 percent from a year ago (the biggest jump since April 2009), the labor force participation rate increased two-tenths to 62.9 percent and all sectors added workers...


Behind the Numbers – October 26, 2018
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Modest to Moderate Sums it Up – There was a lot of discussion this week about the state of the U.S. economy. The stock market had one of its worst weeks in months, if not years, on fears of the economy falling apart in 2019. The unknown impact of the trade tariffs, higher interest rates and...


Behind the Numbers – October 19, 2018
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More Autos, Less Eating Out – What a fickle group of consumers we are. After months of eating out and not buying cars, the American consumer did an about face in September. Retail sales rose a mere 0.1 percent, mostly due to a sharp 1.8 percent decline in spending at food-services and drinking...


Behind the Numbers – October 12, 2018
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Head for Cover – What a week! Not only did the worst hurricane in 25 years hit the U.S., causing widespread devastation, but the financial markets also weathered their own storm of sorts. After reaching new high levels last month, the key stock indices plummeted five percent over two...


Behind the Numbers – September 28, 2018
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No Surprises for Fed Watchers – As expected, the Federal Reserve increased the fed funds rate by 25 basis points for the third time this year. The new target range is 2.00 to 2.25 percent. The central bank signaled it expects to increase rates again this year, despite Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's...


Behind the Numbers – September 21, 2018
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Housing on Weak Ground – On the surface, most of the housing data released this week gives the impression all is well with the industry. A closer look into the reports reveals continued weakness due to rising prices and the impending trade tariffs. Construction of new homes surged 9.2 percent in August...


Behind the Numbers – September 14, 2018
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Inflation Takes a Break – Two key inflation reports were released this week, both showing a slowdown for the recent rise in inflation. First up was the Producer Price Index, PPI, which turned negative in August for the first time in 18 months. Most of the decline came from a drop in the cost of services, 80...


Behind the Numbers – September 7, 2018
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Wages are Finally Catching Up – It is difficult to find anything significantly wrong with the August job report. Employers added 201,000 jobs in August, more than most experts were estimating. August is typically a weak month for job gains, with the data generally revised higher. If history repeats itself, we...


Behind the Numbers – August 24, 2018
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Is the Housing Foundation Faltering? – Home sales may have reached their peak this year. The once-booming housing market that carried us through the current economic recovery is showing signs of distress. Existing home sales fell in July for the fourth month in a row. Sales declined 0.7 percent to a 5.34...


Behind the Numbers – August 17, 2018
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Can't Beat Shopping and Eating – The retail sales report for July highlighted two of our favorite pastimes – shopping and eating. Sales at apparel stores and restaurants increased 1.3 percent last month, the best performance of the nine categories posting increases in sales. Our love affair with food is even...


Behind the Numbers – August 10, 2018
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Inflation on its Way Up? – The latest reports on inflation are sending mixed signals. Producer prices stagnated in June after jumping in May. Prices were unchanged for the month, as the costs of services fell 0.1 percent. Energy prices decreased 0.5 percent. The index was up 3.3 percent year-over...


Behind the Numbers – August 3, 2018
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Time to Trust the Trend – If you are one to look at a single data point and make a judgment, today is not your day. On the surface, an increase of 157,000 jobs in June is disappointing. Not only was this well below expectations, but it was close to the lowest monthly gain in 2018. This is a case where...


Behind the Numbers – July 27, 2018
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Four is the Magic Number – The forecasters were right – the U.S. economy topped four percent in the second quarter. GDP came in at 4.1 percent, the best growth rate in four years. The increase came from several categories. Consumer spending increased four percent, the largest gain since 2014...


Behind the Numbers – July 20, 2018
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Reading Between the Words – If you like to read between the lines, this was a good week for you. Words said were changed, some were said unexpectedly and other words were ignored to make room for what people wanted to hear. To start with, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's two-day...


Behind the Numbers – July 13, 2018
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Up, Up, Up She Goes – Both the wholesale and consumer price indices are moving in the direction the Federal Reserve has been counting on. While the monthly measures were on par or just below the prior month’s readings, the June year-over-year levels were the highest in over six years. PPI...


Behind the Numbers – July 6, 2018
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Goldilocks is in the House Again – June’s job report is being described as “just so-so” and “steady as she goes.” Job additions were better than expected (up 213,000), wage gain was not so great (0.2 percent for the month, 2.7 percent year-over-year), and the unemployment rate was good and bad (4.0 percent)...


Behind the Numbers – June 29, 2018
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Housing Built with Grain of Salt – This week's reports on the housing market should, once again, be taken with a grain of salt. New home sales rose 6.7 percent in May, to the highest level in six months. Sounds like a booming housing market, especially after last week’s report of a five percent jump in housing...


Behind the Numbers – June 22, 2018
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A Run on Worry Beads – Most of the week was spent worrying about what-ifs: what if a trade war erupts, what if China plays hard ball, what if General Electric is removed from the Dow? Granted, the last issue wasn't really a major what-if, but more of an "it finally happened" action. After 110 years,...


Behind the Numbers – June 15, 2018
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Half My Kingdom for a Glass of Water – Will water become the next great commodity embraced by capitalism, like gold? You may be thinking, "How can that be? It comes down free in buckets, usually when I am planning something outdoors. Seventy percent of the earth is covered in water. You must be crazy." Possibly,...


Behind the Numbers – June 8, 2018
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Job Openings Set Records – The Labor Department's Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report for April marked a couple of milestones. While the report showed a record 6.7 million unfilled jobs in April, revisions to March's report showed that, for the first time since tracking began in 2000, the...


Behind the Numbers – June 1, 2018
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Job Gains Across the Board – The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in May, about 30,000 more than expected. Aside from an outlying report in February, May was the first time since November that more than 200,000 jobs were added. Even better, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since...


Behind the Numbers – May 18, 2018
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The Week the Markets Woke Up – The bond market woke up with a vengeance this week to everything that has been talked about for months – trade tariffs, geopolitical issues, and the fate of higher interest rates. After struggling for weeks to stay over three percent, the 10-year Treasury note surged...


Behind the Numbers – May 11, 2018
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Inflation...Where Did it Go? – Inflation fear is off the table, at least for this week. Both wholesale and consumer prices rose less than expected in April. In both cases, specific products had significant declines that brought the indices lower. For instance, wholesale food prices declined the most since 2016. On...


Behind the Numbers – May 4, 2018
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The Numbers Say it All...Almost – The U.S. added 164,000 jobs in April, the March total was revised higher by 33,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent – the lowest rate since 2000. By those measures, the labor market is humming along quite nicely. The one weak data point in the Labor...


Behind the Numbers – April 27, 2018
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The Times They Are A-Changin' – What would Henry Ford think? This past week, Ford, the venerable 115-year-old auto manufacturer that revolutionized manufacturing, wages, production management and, arguably, America, announced that it will, for the most part, abandon the manufacturing of sedans! The maker of such cars as the iconic Thunderbird and the ageless Mustang will limit sedans to approximately 10 percent of its vehicle line...


Behind the Numbers – April 20, 2018
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Cha-ching, the Consumer is Back – After a three-month hiatus, the consumer is back in action! Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in March, the first positive report since November. Eight of the 13 industries in the index were positive, with auto sales and personal care stores topping the list. Autos sales increased 2.0...


Behind the Numbers – April 13, 2018
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Inflation Higher, But Not Causing Stir – This week’s inflation reports showed a spike in price pressures from a year ago, but not enough to cause panic in the financial markets. The 2.4 percent year-over-year increase in the consumer price index was anticipated, as the impact of the cellphone contract pricing wars from...


Behind the Numbers – April 6, 2018
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Jobs - The Payoff is in the Detail – The job report for March may look disappointing at first, but once you dig deeper, the picture is solid. The U.S. added 103,000 jobs last month, the fewest in six months. But, February's already strong gain was increased higher by 13,000 to a startling 326,000 jobs. This...


Behind the Numbers – March 30, 2018
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Savings are Soaring...For Now – For the second month in a row, incomes outpaced spending. Personal incomes rose 0.4 percent, and spending increased 0.2 percent in February, a mirror image of activity in January. The wage component of income was up 0.5 percent, suggesting the gain in incomes could...

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