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Greggs and Pret among 50 firms urging rates shake-up

first_imgHigh street retailers, including Greggs, Pret A Manger and Morrisons, are urging the government to fix the “broken” business rates system.Fifty companies and trade groups have signed a letter to chancellor Sajid Javid, pointing out that retailers account for 5% of the economy but pay 25% of all business rates.They urge Javid to introduce four “fixes” they say would address many of the challenges posed by business rates:A freeze in the business rates multiplierFixing transitional relief, which currently forces many retailers to pay more than they shouldIntroducing an ‘Improvement Relief’ for ratepayersEnsuring that the Valuation Office Agency is fully resourced to do its job.The letter claimed the changes could be undertaken quickly, would reduce regional disparities, remove barriers to the proper working of market forces, incentivise economic investment, and cut some of the bureaucracy of the current system.“These four fixes would be an important step to reform the broken business rates system, which holds back investment, threatens jobs and harms our high streets,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, which coordinated the letter.“The fact that over 50 retail CEOs have come together on this issue should send a powerful message to government.”The letter has been signed by:Ann SummersAsdaB&QBIRABooksellers’ AssociationBoots UKBritish Retail ConsortiumCard FactoryCarpetrightCentral England Co-operativeCompany Shop GroupCostcutterDebenhamsDeichmann ShoesDFSDixons CarphoneDreamsF HindsFenwickGreggsHarrodsHenderson GroupIcelandJohn Lewis PartnershipMarks & SpencerMcKesson UKNew LookPret A MangerPrimarkRetraRigby & PellerRiver IslandSainsbury’sSavers Health Home & BeautyScottish Midland Co-operative SocietyScrewfixSpar UKSpecsaversSteinhoff UKSuperdrug StoresThe Association of Convenience StoresThe Body Shop InternationalThe Co-operative GroupThe Hamleys GroupThe Original Factory ShopThe Paint ShedThe Perfume ShopWhittard of ChelseaWH SmithWm Morrison SupermarketsWell Pharmacylast_img read more

Ranked-choice and the instant run-off tradition in small Maine towns

first_imgPaul H. MillsBy Paul H. MillsNo doubt the best known and most historic feature of Maine elections last month was introduction of ranked-choice voting, making us the first in the nation to put it to the test in a state-wide election. But the concept of “instant runoff” is actually deeply rooted in a more than 230 year old practice in many local elections in Maine. (Ranked-choice is frequently referred to as “instant run-off” because it does not entail holding a separate election and does, once all ballots are transported to a centralized location, result in a mere 30 minute procedure by which the majority vote outcome is established.)Though the advent of the ranked-choice procedure did make its debut in city elections in Maine in 2011 it was not by any means the first time that either Portland or for that matter other municipalities in the state had called upon an instant runoff procedure.The law – which is still on the books in Maine towns with fewer than 4,000 inhabitants who nominate officials “from the floor” – traces its roots to a time when Maine was once part of Massachusetts.Enacted at least as early as 1786 it stayed in effect when Maine became a state in 1820 and continues to be applicable to a number of Maine communities even today.Phillips residents vote at this year’s town meeting.Just a day after the outcome of Maine’s state-wide ranked choice voting had been tabulated, for example, the Town of Phillips – a community of just over 1,000 residents located half-way between Farmington and Rangeley, invoked it in the election of one of its three members of its Board of Selectmen. In the initial vote, Nick Caton a life-long Phillips resident and local carpenter received 43 votes in his challenge to Board Chair and incumbent Lincoln Haines, Caton winning 43 votes, Haines 35 and a third candidate being awarded eight.Within the space of just a few minutes, however, Moderator Mike Ellis called for a second vote since no candidate received a majority. In this form of the instant runoff procedure Caton gained ground, picking up enough votes so that he emerged the majority winner.Though the process of determining the winner in this type of plebiscite is not by any means identical to ranked-choice, its underlying mission is virtually identical, namely, to ensure that the winning candidate ultimately receives majority support. It also, because of the open and almost impromptu procedure involved is one that also carries with it the same advantages of ranked-choice, namely, swift deliberations in a system that does not require the protracted entanglements of a separately held election weeks or months down the road.Though the recent Phillips situation is typical of both run-off as well as ranked- choice elections in that the leading vote-getter in the initial count wound up being confirmed in the run-off, there are instances here in Maine that do break from this pattern.In 2008 in New Sharon, James Smith who had been the Town’s First Selectman for over 40 years was standing for re-election. Opposed by two challengers, Larry Donald and Spencer Thompson, Smith prevailed in the initial round of voting. In the run-off, however, Donald edged ahead, picking up votes that had previously gone to the third place candidate, the final outcome being Donald ahead of Smith 128 to 112.(In the same meeting it took four ballots to determine the winner of the third Selectman’s contest, though in that one the plurality winner, incumbent Russell Gardner stayed in the lead in each of the ballots involved.)In Kingfield, a similar outcome to the Donald-Smith New Sharon contest occurred a year later in 2009. This was when Ernest Meldrum, Merv Wilson and Scott Hoisington contended for one of the three seats in an open contest for its Board. The initial tabulations had Meldrum in the lead with Wilson and Hoisington finishing second and third. Hoisington then announced that he was withdrawing in favor of Wilson who in turn moved ahead of Meldrum in the re-vote that occurred just ten minutes later.When introduced in Maine well over two centuries ago the instant run-off procedure was applicable to all communities in Maine including Portland itself (which was until 1832 a town rather than a city). Most have shifted away from it but those that have not and places where they continue to apply besides Phillips and Kingfield are New Vineyard, Avon and Temple, for example. (New Sharon dropped the procedure earlier this year in part because the instant run-off process in Maine towns does not as a practical matter provide for its use by absentee voters.)To be sure, this type of practice is not practical in most places. This is because it requires the personal assembly in a single meeting room of all who turn out to vote. This would of course not be possible in most larger towns or cities of Maine. Portland’s Cross Center could not likely host in an orderly fashion deliberations of that city’s more than 50,000 registered voters.The long-time existence of the procedure in Maine and its continuing vitality in a number of the state’s communities are a reminder, however, that the local laboratories of our state’s democracies are venerable illustrations of its use.Paul H. Mills, is a Farmington attorney well known for his analyses and historical understanding of public affairs in Maine. He can be reached by e-mail: [email protected]last_img read more

Harvard Republicans view election outcome as largely positive

first_imgMany Democrats began celebrating as news broke Saturday that Joe Biden was the projected winner of the presidential election. Perhaps surprisingly, the Harvard Republican Club was also finding reason to celebrate.“It’s been a good result for us, and for conservatism in general,” said club president Wesley L. Donhauser ’21, speaking a few minutes after the Associated Press announced its call. “All the pundits and pollsters had us losing 15 seats in the House, and I believe we’re down to minus five. The Senate looks to be either tied or still in GOP hands. We have the most moderate Democratic president in a generation. And if they could only win in a nail-biter with the most moderate candidate they could find, great.” Voting for the first time and in a historic contest. But no pressure The future of bipartisanship is partly up to Biden, Englander says. “It ultimately comes down to how you start the administration, so the next couple of months are going to be important. Obama didn’t start with bipartisan efforts, nor did Trump. People thought he’d do an infrastructure bill that everyone could get behind, rather than the Muslim travel ban. It would be the same if Biden jumped in and started packing the Supreme Court. But if he can start with something everyone would like to rally around, like fighting COVID, then I think it’s possible.” Economics were a major reason the club endorsed Trump this year, after declining to do so in 2016. “I’d say 2016 was more an exception than the rule itself,” Donhauser said. “Before COVID, which was a situation that rocked the entire world, we had the lowest level of unemployment in a generation. That includes African Americans and the working class. What people care about, more than the rhetoric that comes out of the White House office and how the president tweets, is whether they have a job at the end of the day. In an election year, they look at themselves and ask if they’re better off.” “Everybody’s pretty happy,” agreed club member Kyle Englander ’23. “I think most people understood that this race was coming down to a test of characters and personality. If it was centered on policy, Trump would have had more of a fighting chance. The Middle Eastern peace agreement was historic. You can even see that Trump’s America First Campaign has bled off into the Biden policy platform through his Buy American Campaign. On the pandemic, I feel he largely failed from a public health perspective but succeeded from an economic one.“So despite Trump’s many shortfalls, which I will acknowledge before anyone else, I think there were a lot of reasons to be enthusiastic about his presidency,” Englander added. “I predicted that Biden was going to win, but it’s not over till it’s over. We have seen crazier things.” — Wesley L. Donhauser ’21, Harvard Republican Club president Students discuss their hopes and fears for the nation The club conditionally supports Trump’s attempts to investigate alleged voter fraud. Donhauser cited the Associated Press’ now-contested decision to call Pennsylvania for Biden shortly before the tally was official. “I don’t know if the challenges are valid or not. But if this is going to be a thing, I would rather see the truth come to light. The most negative thing would be for people to believe fraud happened when it didn’t, or that it didn’t happen when it did. So if people are grumbling, get it out in the open. I predicted that Biden was going to win, but it’s not over till it’s over. We have seen crazier things.” The Harvard club’s characterization of Biden as a moderate Democrat runs counter to the Republican narrative that he was a far-left candidate, Donhauser admits. “I don’t think we buy that as a club, nor do I buy it personally. Obviously in elections, either side gets painted as the extreme of themselves. But if you look at his willingness to compromise and having a relationship with Mitch McConnell in the past, that’s to his credit. I personally respect him because I come from a military family, and I am also a Catholic. And I respect his desire to serve.”“If it was centered on policy, Trump would have had more of a fighting chance,” said Republican Club member Kyle Englander. Donhauser said he was encouraged by Republican support in down-ballot races, as well as new pockets of support for Donald Trump. “He got a higher vote share from people of color than in 2016. That runs counter to the media narrative that there is something racist about his campaign or not conducive for people of color. In the end, economics and sound judgment are prevailing over hyped-up emotional narratives. And socialism is being rejected, which for me is very exciting.” After a hard election, the real work begins Related “Whether Biden is a moderate or not, his speech did sound like he was ready to embrace both sides,” said Englander, who was interviewed following Biden’s address on Saturday evening. “It does seem clear that he’s ready for bipartisanship, and to me that’s pretty exciting.” Looking for hints of future prospects in the past and predicting what lies ahead last_img read more

Dell EMC Forum: Realize Your Digital Future

first_imgTechnology is advancing at an exponential rate, changing how we live and work. We’re seeing customers, in every industry, fundamentally rethink their business models. IT is at the heart of this transformation and key to competitive advantage.Start having these conversations today. Join us at a Dell EMC Forum near you to discover new ways to use technology to better serve your customers. We’ve had over 30,000 attendees in over 60 cities around the world. The good news is that there are still a dozen events happening worldwide through 2017.In New York, Michael Dell talked about the approach Dell Technologies is taking to deliver a unified IoT strategy to customers. We also heard from AeroFarms, who is redefining agriculture by setting new standards for product quality and production.In Milan, I heard inspiring stories from customers who increased company efficiency and productivity by modernizing their IT infrastructure and workforce tools. There were also stories of companies putting data to work providing new and valuable business sights.There has never been a more important time to rethink what’s possible and accelerate your transformational journey. So, join us and let’s make your digital future a reality.last_img read more

Student runs marathon to raise disease awareness

first_imgWhile much of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s communities spent Sunday recovering from this weekend’s gameday festivities in Chicago and preparing for midterms, Saint Mary’s senior Emily Pearl revved up for the Chicago Marathon. Pearl ran the marathon to raise money for Steps for Doug, an organization advocating research and awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She said the cause was personal for her, as the organization was established in honor of a friend’s father diagnosed with the disease. Pearl, who does not consider herself an avid runner, encourages everyone to take part in a marathon. “I think anyone who has ever thought about doing a marathon should. It was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “I’m not even a runner, but it was still something I would consider doing again and again. As long as you put your mind to it, anyone can do it.” After struggling in last year’s marathon, Pearl came better prepared to this year’s race. “Last year was my first time running [a marathon], so I didn’t know what to expect. I started the race too fast and was not thinking about the four hours I had left to run,” she said. “This year, I knew what was ahead of me and I did a better job pacing myself.” She said the milder weather made this year’s race more manageable. “The weather was awesome. It was chilly out, which was perfect for running,” she said. “It was really hot last year, which made the run difficult. I feel most tired when I’m hot so it was great having a little chill in the air this year.” Pearl said she is now considering participating in a triathlon, but will definitely be competing in more marathons in the meantime. “I am definitely going to continue running marathons,” she said. “During the actual race I always tell myself that I’m never going to sign up again because of how long it is, but the feeling I get when I’ve finished the race is like nothing else.”last_img read more

Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s deputy chief of staff examines feminist thought

first_imgWhen she was 10 years old — long before she ascended to the role of deputy chief of staff for mayor Pete Buttigieg — Suzanna Fritzberg dressed up as activist and reformer Susan B. Anthony for Halloween. Since then, her desire to advocate for women’s rights has only intensified, as she developed a more nuanced understanding of feminist thought, she said in a lecture in Spes Unica Hall on Thursday.“I have learned since then that feminism is about a lot more than predominantly white women protesting for the right to vote, in particular ways,” Fritzberg said. Fritzberg said she fills three major roles in her job as deputy chief of staff.“I’m a force multiplier, meaning that if the mayor needs to be somewhere, and he can’t make it … that’s my job,” she said. “I also help to manage city operations, and I am a contact point between departments of the mayor’s office.”One of her favorite parts of the job involves helping manage the city’s health and human services policy portfolio, she said. “I’m the city lead for a bunch of things that are big, complex problems that are deeply intertwined with the root cause of poverty,” she said. “For example, right now, I’m leading a work group to focus on developing a rental unit inspection ordinance because we think there are a lot of problems with lead contamination, mold contamination … in our affordable housing stock.”Fritzberg said she is particularly interested in the connection between social policy and political philosophy. She said this interest shapes her perspective on working for the government.“Government is a tool for accomplishing moral ends, not just technical ends,” she said. “Often, the problems that we think of as technical — for example, how do you best set up shelter systems so that homeless people have a place to go? — are also really intensely ethical questions.”Fritzberg said her understanding of women’s studies enables her to approach the challenges of her job with innovation and practicality.“I find women’s studies a really interesting and urgent academic field, particularly right now because we’re in this moment where dignity and personhood and freedom, if you’re not a white man, is a little up for grabs,” she said. “I find feminist thought particularly validating because it talks about lived experience rather than alternative facts, because it recognizes interdependence rather than elevating individual success at all costs and because it predisposes us to a careful evaluation of government’s role in everyday life, rather than reactive and basic assaults on individual freedom.”Fritzberg said familiarity with the problems women face can enhance awareness of other issues, as women’s studies is an interdisciplinary pursuit.“Feminist thought insists on this merger between theory and practice, between learning and doing, between saying and actually putting it on the line,” she said. “I think that women’s studies is such a rich field of productive intellectual labor.”The link between economic and social regulations cannot be understated, as policy influences gender and vice versa, Fritzberg said.“A lot of the welfare aid in the United States goes to women with children and there have been a bunch of different rules over many different decades that structure women’s personal, professional and sexual lives around a particular moral ideology,” Fritzberg said. “At one point … there was a rule that if you were receiving U.S. welfare aid, and you were an unmarried mother with children, you couldn’t have a live-in boyfriend or anyone living with you that was a male partner that wasn’t your husband.”Fritzberg said this precedent, known as “No Man in the House,” demonstrates that the personal really is the political.“There’s this conservative agenda about household composition,” she said. “At the same time that this program is meeting human need, it’s also exposing a tension over state power in individual lives and where we think the appropriate line is for the state to be dictating morality.”The interdisciplinary nature of women’s studies, Fritzberg said, benefits her immensely, as her job often requires her to synthesize various avenues of thought.“When I work on homelessness, for example, I have to get an on-the-ground understanding of our service system and our homeless population — sociology, a little bit of anthropology,” she said. “I have to synthesize data on the public and private expenditures related to homelessness — economics. I have to understand the political levers that we need to implement solutions — political science. And then I have to effectively communicate with city administration, community members, business owners and social service leaders, which is language arts.”Skills such as creativity and agile thinking foster a strong community capable of striving for social justice, Fritzberg said. “We’re connected to this long and rich legacy of feminist thought that allows us to turn our attention to any number of different topics with particular grounding in theory and methodology,” Fritzberg said. “I believe my choices at home and at work are opportunities to build a world that’s grounded in my values and my principles.”Tags: Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, deputy chief of staff, Feminism, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Saint Mary’s Gender and Women’s Studies, Suzanna Fritzberg, women’s studieslast_img read more

On the Blogs: A Better Future for Coal Workers

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Adele Morris for the Brookings Institution:Some politicians call climate or other environmental policies a “war on coal,” framing the measures as an attack on the well-being of hard working Americans. Others chafe at such rhetoric, arguing it is aimed at derailing sensible measures to reduce the risks of global climatic disruption and harmful air pollution. Whatever the merits in each side’s arguments, it is increasingly clear that owing to both market-driven trends and environmental policies, workers in the coal industry and their communities are rightly concerned about their future.The coal sector is already changing dramatically, particularly but not only in Appalachia. Job losses are mounting. Longstanding firms are facing bankruptcy, and retiree benefits are under threat. Some communities are experiencing deteriorating fiscal conditions, and many residents in the coalfields have important unmet healthcare needs. In addition, even while coal improved countless lives by fueling affordable, reliable electricity, many decades of coal production have scarred landscapes and impaired waterways, and reclamation liabilities could be underfunded. Federal policies to control carbon dioxide emissions, if they are implemented as planned, will decrease coal consumption further, exacerbating all of these challenges.Addressing these concerns is urgent. A well-designed well-funded package of federal policies could help hard-hit communities and families make the necessary transitions to a more diverse economic base, to new careers, and through retirement. A truly effective set of measures could also assure policymakers that environmental protection doesn’t have to kick people when they’re down, and if done well may even make them better off than they would have been absent climate policy.This paper reviews the challenges facing the coal workforce and the case for significant federal investment those workers and the areas in which they live.Section 2 examines recent trends and the outlook for the industry under current and alternative policies with an eye to understanding the implications for the associated workforce.Section 3 explores the specific needs of the affected individuals and communities and summarizes literature on previous transition programs.Section 4 reviews current legislative and budget proposals. It concludes that they include promising approaches, but their funding levels are unlikely to be sufficient to address appropriately the myriad needs outlined in Section 3.Section 5 argues that replacing Clean Air Act regulations with a tax on the carbon content of fossil fuels and other greenhouse gas emissions could provide more-than-ample resources to advance the well-being of coalfield workers and communities, while at the same time producing superior environmental and macroeconomic outcomes.The paper draws on insights from a November 2015 workshop at Brookings that gathered a high level group of experts and stakeholders. The conclusions are strictly those of the author.Build a better future for coal workers and their communities On the Blogs: A Better Future for Coal Workerslast_img read more

Bears & Motorcycles Play Montauk Music Festival – May 16-19

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island-based band and this year’s Break Contest winners Bears & Motorcycles head to the East End this weekend for The Montauk Music Festival, a four day musical celebration featuring talented up-and-coming independent artists.Forged in the summer of 2012, Long Island’s Bears & Motorcycles began with three members: Dillon Mealey, Jeff Alvarado, and Brendan McGrath. The trio started writing raw, unpolished blues-rock in the backyard of a long island suburb in the heat of that summer. What soon would develop into heart wrenching anthems and fiery hooks had begun to take shape.Within a few months two new members were added to complete the lineup. Professionally trained jazz/blues keys player Will Mahlan and the promising young drummer Jonathan Brick. With sounds drawing from the influences of the acid-washed, blues driven rock of the ’60s and ’70s and the catchy fervor of newer band from the 2000s and beyond this sound is something you can’t quite put your finger on.Bears and Motorcycles won The Break Contest two weeks ago at the Encore Event Center in New Jersey and GameChanger is featuring the band’s music in a video game that will be released in early 2014.More than 100 artists boasting a wide variety of musical styles (from alternative, rock, folk, pop, Americana, reggae, blues, jazz, bluegrass, to flamenco, rap, hip-hop, country, metal, and more), will be performing for free in the spirit of sharing original music with audiences and fellow musicians at this weekend’s event.In its third year of production, the festival has cultivated an atmosphere of goodwill promoting local charities, connecting local New York “island” musicians with those from as far away as Vermont and California.  Music lovers and performers alike are drawn to the beautiful oceanside playground of Montauk to promote and share art.Click here for full schedule and details on The Montauk Music Festival.last_img read more

Psst! Pass it on … Passwords aren’t enough

first_imgWe’ve had a heck of a summer for data breaches, but the June hacking of LastPass is beyond simple irony. If a password management company fails to protect customer information, what’s it going to take for anyone to get serious about data security? And whose job is it? The short answer is “everyone’s.” But the better answer is it’s time for online organizations – most especially financial service providers – to step up to the available technology and take real action to safeguard the sensitive information they store on behalf of members.For their part, consumers are catching on that passwords aren’t adequate protection when making online purchases or doing their banking. In fact, only about 30 percent feel confident in the safety of their passwords for online accounts, according to TeleSign’s June 2015 study, Consumer Account Security Report. And in its own study, consulting and technology firm Accenture found that nearly three-fourths of American consumers are open to alternatives to user names and passwords.What’s the matter with passwords?Passwords are frustrating and hard to manage, so people tend not to use them correctly. Most opt for simple ones because it’s a hassle to come up with and remember complex character combinations. And the average consumer has 24 accounts, according to TeleSign, meaning 24 passwords to remember. No wonder consumers reuse the same ones over again! Yet, passwords are the low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals wanting to break into someone’s account. And people often help them along by using basic word or number combinations, such as “password” or “1-2-3-4-5.”The most damning evidence comes from research by Daniel Solove of George Washington University, and Woodrow Hartzog of Samford and Stanford universities (“Should the FTC Kill the Password? New Paper Investigates”) a 2015 report published by the George Washington University Law School. Revealing the flawed nature of passwords the authors say we need better authentication … now.The staggering rate of data breaches is largely attributable to problems authenticating the identity of account holders, according to Solove and Hartzog. “It is clear that passwords are being used incorrectly in ways that make them a weak security mechanism … understandable given that authentication is needed on so many sites and systems – there are too many passwords for even those with the best memories to remember.”What should replace them?It’s well accepted that current password verification methods are weak, but what should replace them?Some security experts believe biometrics could be the answer to password security, although they aren’t widely available on most commercial devices, partly because of the expense and inconvenience. Plus, biometrics aren’t all that secure against serious hackers. Fingerprints can be lifted and voice recognition won’t work if you come down with laryngitis. Even using your retina is suspect, as the Europe-based Chaos Computer Club proved using high-res photography to hack iris scanners.Instead, experts say the most realistic consumer solution is multi-factor authentication, using passwords as part of at least a two-step process that includes something you know with something you have. In their research, Solove and Hartzog note that this protocol also can be flexible for organizations needing stronger measures, “the multi-factor approach to authentication can be adapted and made as strong as necessary. Companies could require three authentication factors in some contexts.”The authors believe the level of authentication should correspond to the degree of risk, noting that high-risk data, such as health records or financial information, would require extra precautions. If organizations that handle consumers’ sensitive data online don’t get serious about security, Solove and Hartzog believe the Federal Trade Commission should step in to require it.What can we do now?Use multifactor authentication with all customer PII. Place multi-factor authentication in front of your online banking platform and integrate single sign-on into the process to add customer convenience and lessen frustration. Then make sure members know it is available and how to turn it on. TeleSign’s survey revealed consumers want better security but 61% don’t even know what 2FA/MFA is. Help members understand the need for it to augment passwords.  Choose a service provider that uses best-practice encryption technology. Right now, most business protocol includes encryption in transit; e.g., encoding documents when they are emailed. But if those documents carry sensitive information, they are vulnerable when they reach their destination. Instead, documents with personal data should be encrypted both in transit and at rest. All financial institutions should use encryption at rest for their members’ PII. Explain the difference between authentication and secondary questions. Websites often ask for answers to queries like, “What’s your hometown?” But these “security” questions are not authentication-driven; they just make it easier for tech staff to reset lost passwords. Such a question is actually risky because the answer may be shared on social sites or elsewhere with the response always be the same. Instead, Huffington Post security writer Jeff Fox advises giving questions like “What’s your favorite sports team?” nonsensical answers like “vegetable soup.” Tell members the differences between types of cloud storage. Consumers fear having their personal information stolen, yet most don’t know how so-called “secure” cloud storage works. Help them understand that traditional, cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive are meant for temporary, run-of-the-mill files – not their PII. Instead, offer them today’s version of a safe-deposit box, such as My Virtual StrongBox®, which offers data encryption from the moment documents are loaded throughout the time they are stored.Data breaches are reaching epic proportion, and securing information takes more vigilance and better processes than those used even five or 10 years ago. For financial institutions, whose reputations rest on the integrity of their customer information security, it’s time to get serious and use today’s best-of-breed technology. 158SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Ron Daly Ron Daly is the president and CEO of Virtual StrongBox, a secure, end-to-end member engagement platform that can be integrated into various workflow processes to provide high-risk Enterprise IT firms … Web: www.virtualstrongbox.com Detailslast_img read more

NCUA finalizes formal appeals framework

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr At Thursday’s Board meeting, the NCUA quickly finalized regulations which will give credit unions a much more structured and formal process for challenging supervisory determinations with which they disagree. The new regulations begin in January 2018.Judging by the lack luster response to this proposal—NCUA only received nine comment letters—this new regulation hasn’t sparked all that much interest in credit union land. I don’t know why. For as long as I have worked in the industry, I have heard complaints about how difficult it is to challenge examiner determinations. This new process has the potential of giving credit unions, and examiners for that matter, a fair and dispassionate way of resolving disputes. It also has the potential of providing a body of written decisions that all credit unions could use to help guide their interpretation of regulations.The list of material determinations for which appeals can be taken includes: (1) a composite examination rating of 3, 4 or 5; (2) a determination relating to the adequacy of loan loss reserve provisions; (3) the classification of loans and other assets that are significant to an insured credit union; (4) a determination regarding an insured credit union’s compliance with federal consumer financial law; (5) a determination on a waiver request or an application for additional authority where independent appeal procedures have not been specified in other NCUA regulations; and (6) a determination by the relevant reviewing authority that an appeal filed under this subchapter does not raise a material supervisory determination. continue reading »last_img read more