President Obama Reveals Lineup For South By South Lawn Festival At White House

first_imgIf Barack Obama wasn’t the most hipster president of the U.S. before, he certainly is now. President Obama recently announced the creation of a new event, South by South Lawn, which combines arts, music, and important discussions on key social issues. Taking place next Monday, October 3rd, Obama has detailed some of the festival’s events, which is being organized in conjunction with SXSW.The fest will see performances by The Lumineers, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and DJ Beverly Bond, and will also feature Leonardo DiCaprio premiering his new film Before The Flood, which features music from Trent Reznor and Mogwai. SXSL will also include a number of important discussions about change, tackling difficult problems, feeding the hungry, and more.You can see the full program information here. Additional artists are expected to join the lineup, and also the cast of Stranger Things will be on site to curate a student film showcase.last_img read more

Watch The All-Star “Purple Party” Prince Tribute Rage ‘Til Dawn In NOLA [Videos]

first_imgOn Sunday, May 6th, paying tribute to Minnesota’s favorite son, Prince, members of Snarky Puppy, The Motet, The Main Squeeze, Thievery Corporation, Turkuaz, The Magic Beans, The Nth Power, Mama Magnolia, and even Prince’s own bass player MONONEON gathered together at The Maison in New Orleans. Under the “Purple Party” banner, the group threw the funkiest and latest of late nights in honor of the late rocker, which was still packed and ragin’ six a.m. in the morning.Though Prince’s living reign may be tragically over, his legacy will be echoing for years to come thanks to generations who have grown up getting funky to the Purple One’s insane catalog of near-perfect tunes. To make the show celebrating the last night of Jazz Fest even more special, the setlist was no “Greatest Hits” affair, though big-name tunes like “Purple Rain”, “1999”, and “Kiss” were represented. The show saw deep dives into Prince’s entire body of work, including songs he gave to other artists and older projects like 94 East for a true representation of Prince’s prolific brilliance.The deep personal connection to Prince’s creations was apparent in the care and love each member of the seemingly never-ending parade of band members gave to the music. Whether it was Ryan Jalbert nailing the “Purple Rain” solo, his Motet bandmate Lyle Divinsky singing and strutting with eerily familiar energy, or the twin threats of Turkuaz’s Shira Elias and Sammi Garret hitting the notes that only they (and Prince) could, the passion was plain to see. Keyboardists Steveland Swatkins and Casey Russell traded keyboard licks and smiles of delight while a rotating rhythm section saw seemingly everyone in the house take a turn.Nikki Glaspie, drummer of The Nth Power, took a turn in the percussion pit, sitting down behind the main kit for a tune, before picking up a Stratocaster and playing guitar for a number. Vocalists like Megan Letts (Mama Magnolia), Corey Frye (The Main Squeeze), and Jessica Jones took their songs to incredible heights, as they each gave their all to honor their hero and, in many cases, inspiration for making music. Oh, and who better to slap the bass for the show than Prince’s hand-picked touring deep-end specialist MonoNeon?Though the musical guests and performers came close to boggling the mind, the focus was squarely on the man whose legacy these dedicated performers were honoring. We’ve got nearly the entire show ready for you to watch at your leisure with crystal-clear soundboard audio. That said, though the audio may be clear, it is nigh impossible to capture the spirit in the room when the music was pumping, the crowd was locked in a groove, and the musicians themselves were lost in their bliss.Setlist: Purple Party | The Maison | New Orleans, LA | 5/6/2018Set: Lets Go Crazy, D.M.S.R, Just As Long As We’re Together, Sexy Dancer, Lady Cab Driver, Musicology, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Soft And Wet, I Feel For You, Controversy, Call My Name, Partyup, Just Another Sucker, Head, Kiss, 1999, It’s Gonna Be Lonely, Baby I’m A Star, She’s Always In My Hair, Purple RainEncore: Jungle Love “Purple Rain”“Jungle Love”“1999”“I Wanna Be Your Lover”last_img read more

Spoiled opportunity

first_imgIn 1990, Northeastern lakes were becoming more acidic, threatening fish and other aquatic life and conjuring images of a future where lakes — even those in remote wilderness — were barren.The culprit was acid rain, generated by fossil fuel burning in automobiles and power plants that spewed sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, where it became sulfuric acid, falling in rain and as dry particles into lakes and forests.Today, the acid rain problem is greatly reduced. Bipartisan legislation passed in 1990 cut sulfur dioxide emissions over the next 17 years to half the level of 1980, reaching the legislated target three years ahead of schedule and providing health and environmental benefits estimated to outstrip costs by tens of billions of dollars.The sulfur dioxide regulatory system was adopted as part of the Clean Air Act of 1990. In it, total sulfur dioxide emissions were capped — enforced by a $2,000 per ton fine for excess emissions — and then permits were given to power plants across the country to emit a certain amount. Financial incentives for power plant cleanup came by making the emission permits tradable. That meant a plant that lowered emissions below the limit could sell the right to emit more sulfur dioxide to a plant that was having trouble meeting its target. The result was a system that provided incentives for power plant operators to switch to cleaner fuels, install smokestack scrubbers to clean emissions, shut down aging plants, and take other steps to clean emissions beyond the legal requirement.The program’s success made it a model of how a cap-and-trade regulatory scheme should work — everywhere but in the United States.A detail of one of the graphics used during the talk.Harvard environmental economist Robert Stavins said last week that national politics have “tainted” cap and trade, making it unlikely the country will adopt such a scheme to fight climate change anytime soon, even though similar plans are being adopted by other nations around the world.Stavins, the Pratt Professor of Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), talked about lawmakers’ solution to acid rain Sept. 13 during a seminar held by the Kennedy School’s Regulatory Policy Program, led by Joseph Aldy, assistant professor of public policy.“I think it is fair to say that it offered … a compelling demonstration of cap and trade and, more generally, of market-based interventions for environmental problems,” Stavins said.Drawing on a working paper he authored with Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Richard Schmalensee, Stavins outlined the program’s success as well as four “ironies” — one of which is today’s conservative opposition to an idea that had wide support among Republicans.“Conservatives have demonized their own policy innovation,” Stavins said.Other ironies include that the government did the right thing — reduce sulfur dioxide emissions — for the wrong reason: to clean up the environment. Estimates of the program’s benefits put the price of health improvements from improved air quality far higher than benefits to lakes and forests.Another irony was that unrelated government action — rail deregulation — helped ensure the success of this environmental policy. Deregulation lowered the cost of shipping lower-sulfur coal around the country, making a more environmentally friendly fuel cheaper. Stavins’ fourth point was that what the government gives, it can take away. Despite the program’s success, recent judicial decisions and regulatory changes have essentially brought it to an end.Cap and trade was considered a possible way to lower U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to fight climate change until the 2009 battles in Congress, which saw legislation pass the House and then die in the Senate. Republican opponents focused on a key difference between the 1990 and 2009 plans. In the cap and trade proposed for carbon dioxide, rather than giving away emission permits to get the system started, the law would have auctioned them off to emitters. This caused Republicans — some of whom doubt climate change science anyway — to fight against it as a tax.Objections based on fact or approach could have been negotiated, Stavins said. But instead of seeking explanation or compromise, the opposition mounted a campaign to demonize the legislation, labeling it “cap and tax” and in the process tarnishing the whole approach, he said.The political demise of a cap-and-trade system leaves a straight-out carbon tax as an alternative, which Stavins said has even less chance of passage.“If it is easy to demonize cap and trade as a tax, it’s a lot easier to demonize a tax as a tax,” Stavins said. “That probably means, given the political challenges of a carbon tax, the outlook for national policy is not good.”last_img read more

A successful community experiment

first_imgIn a conference room of the BioLabs building, three high school seniors from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) considered the impact their senior internship — working hands-on in a Harvard research lab — might have on their upcoming college careers.“I’m thinking about a career in the physical sciences, either chemical engineering or biochemistry,” said Andre Dempsey, who will be a freshman at Harvard next fall, “so it’ll be great to have that connection and to have that lab experience even before I’m a student here.”“I’m really excited about it,” said Ariella Schear, who plans to attend Yale next year. “The research is amazing, and we’re really lucky to have this opportunity.”The students are members of the CRLS Marine Science Internship program at Harvard, which works to provide a transformative experience for local students. The teenagers get hands-on lab experience, working alongside Harvard graduate students and researchers on projects with real-world applications. The program is a result of a partnership, forged in 2006, between Paul McGuinness, the marine biology teacher at Rindge and Latin, and Peter Girguis, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.One of McGuinness’ motivations for establishing the program was to increase the numbers of underrepresented students in marine science. “Having the opportunity to develop this unique internship here in the Cambridge Public Schools allows me to reach out to a wider demographic and encourage more students to experience real-world marine science research and careers,” he said.“It’s some of the best experience that students can have in their entire high school careers,” McGuinness continued. “It’s a different level of academics — much more rigorous, intensive, and fun, where they can apply everything they’ve learned in high school.” And it’s working to serve his ends, too: McGuinness said the internships have greatly influenced students to pursue careers in science.“Almost all [the former interns] are in the sciences, from undergraduate through postgraduate careers,” he said.Structured to benefit both interns and lab staff, the program allows graduate students communicate their research, connect with the next generation of scientists, and get an extra pair of hands in the lab. “It’s definitely not just a one-way process,” McGuinness said. “We’re always looking for labs that are willing to take on interns.”Girguis studies microbes that live in the deep sea and develops instruments to better study them, understand how they function, and promote life across the planet. In his lab, the high school students examine microbial fuel cells, process bioinformatics data, and dissect aquaria samples. Each intern is paired with a grad student or postdoctoral student who serves as a mentor throughout the internship. The internship concludes with a capstone project that reviews the lab work.Girguis said having high school students as “active and participating members of the lab” has been rewarding for the teens, and shown how effective working in the lab can be for them. And he said he was struck by the opportunities already available to Rindge and Latin students in marine biology, including regional and national competitions.“That alone tells me something about the school system, namely that they are supportive of innovative programs that offer their students unique and valuable experiences,” he said.Girguis said the partnership allows Harvard to make a powerful difference in the local community — what he called “an intrinsic part” of Harvard’s mission.“Engaging local students in the research that we do is a very effective way to earn the respect of the community,” he said, “to let kids in our community see what we do every day, and give them a chance to learn from it.”This program is one of many at Harvard that engage local students. To learn more about the University’s partnerships with local schools, visit Harvard Community Connections on the Web.last_img read more

2018 Brings Once-in-a-Generation Shift in Data Storage

first_imgI have to be honest. Much of what I predict to be significant for the data storage industry in 2018 may go unnoticed by most IT professionals, even though some of these concern major progress that hasn’t been experienced in nearly a full generation!So much has been happening in the development of exciting new storage-class memory (SCM) that will help make arrays faster and more efficient in processing general purpose workloads, and this year I believe we’ll see a tangible payoff with the mainstreaming of this technology. This big news is all about Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) and the emergence of this highly anticipated interface within commercial storage arrays. With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning seemingly all the rage in IT these days, I expect to see emerging and increasingly practical use cases coming to commercial storage offerings that attempt to further automate storage management, taking concepts such as intelligent data placement and performance tuning to the next level. And momentum is building for purpose-built data center hardware that provides optimized data paths designed to accelerate specialized workloads.But enough with the introductions, let’s dive into the details!Prediction #1: NVMe Will Go From Promise to Productivity in Commercial StorageA combination of lower cost components being produced in larger volumes by multiple suppliers and a fully-developed specification will finally propel NVMe towards mainstream adoption in enterprise storage. With both storage and servers NVMe-enabled, enterprises will be offered compelling choices that take advantage of a more efficient hardware/software stack that delivers a performance benefit trifecta: low latency, reduced CPU utilization and faster application processing to accelerate performance over that of non-NVMe flash SSDs. While NVMe-enabled storage arrays will get an initial boost in performance, the true potential for NVMe will be realized later in 2018 when next-generation SCM becomes available (more on that below).Although NVMe-based flash drives and a handful of storage arrays have been offered for several years, they have typically been 30-50% more expensive than equivalent All-Flash arrays. At this kind of premium, the jury was out on whether these NVMe products were worth the price, since most enterprises wouldn’t have noticed a cost-effective difference in aggregate for general purpose workloads. However, that is changing. Technology maturity means volumes are rising, component costs are coming down and multiple NVMe SSD suppliers are finally ready for prime-time.We’re only at the beginning of the NVMe innovation cycle. This overnight success has been 10 years in the making, with both Dell and EMC playing prominent roles along the way. In 2018, our industry vision, intellectual property investment and long-term strategic supplier partnerships will pay off. Although a few proprietary NVMe storage products were launched in 2017, broad mainstream solutions will require long-term commitment and dedicated investment to keep up with the latest advances in flash and SCM. We’re ready.Another underappreciated aspect of NVMe is lower CPU utilization. The NVMe software stack executes fewer instructions. It’s highly optimized for the parallelism of contemporary multi-core processors. With lower CPU utilization for storage, you will have more of your server available to run your applications, which translates to better TCO, improved infrastructure efficiency and software license cost reduction. This kind of performance advantage will be highly sought after by organizations running OLTP and real-time analytics.Prediction #2: NVMe Over Fabrics (NVMeOF) Will Continue to Emerge and DevelopHardly anyone will be adopting NVMeOF for production until the industry gets a rich, interoperable set of ecosystem components. However, we will see incremental progress in 2018, first with NVMeOF Fibre Channel for the incumbent SAN, and then with NVMeOF Ethernet solutions for next-gen data centers. It’s all in line with the development of new interfaces and new storage protocols, but none of it will happen overnight. We need the ecosystem to come along, with new switch ports, software stacks, new host bus adapters (HBAs), etc. In order for adoption to grow, all these factors will need to be developed into a full-fledged ecosystem. As a practical example, at Flash Memory Summit 2017, there must have been a dozen different NVMeOF solutions announced, and I’d guess that no two interoperated with one another. That just reflects the current state of development. I’m a believer and a champion, but it’s early days still. When NVMeOF does hit primetime, watch out. Vendors who do the homework to vertically integrate NVMe in their network, compute and storage products will be at an advantage to offer an incredible performance package for organizations looking to super-charge their SANs. Early adopters will likely be in the HPC, scientific and Wall Street high-frequency trading domains, though enterprises upgrading to modern data centers running cloud-native, IoT and AI/ML applications won’t be far behind.Prediction #3: Storage Class Memory (SCM) for Storage Will Become a Reality in 2018Our industry has largely been about spinning hard drives and dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) forever. In 2008, Flash came in and pushed out hard drives as the leading storage media type. In 2018, for the first time in a generation, there are several viable emerging memory candidates in this space. First is Intel with 3DXP. They dipped their toe in the water last year and 2018 is when it becomes a part of mainstream storage architectures. This new SCM should operate in the 10-20 microsecond realm instead of the 100-200 microsecond range for flash. This 10x performance improvement will manifest as both storage cache and tier to deliver better, faster storage.Of course, low latency applications, such as high frequency trading, will benefit tremendously from SCM. However, SCM is not just for the top of the pyramid workloads and lunatic fringe; the average enterprise will benefit anywhere the equation “Time = Money” comes into play. SCM will be leveraged for real-time risk management – at any time, your most important data needs to be accessed at the lowest possible latency. And it’s still just the beginning. We don’t get to see a completely new media technology every day. As Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, once said, “There have only been four successful memory technologies in history and I’ve seen over 200 candidates to become the fifth.” The fifth is here, and there are more to come.Prediction #4: Advancements Will Be Made Around Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) in StorageAs an industry, we have been using machine learning techniques to tier data and implement unique solutions in storage for years. Take for example the “Call Home” functionality in VMAX. Our products send regular/high frequency telemetry of all aspects of our storage platforms to Customer Service. This data is analyzed for patterns and anomalies to proactively identify situations before they become problems. We’re flattered that this approach has been imitated by others, such that now it is a best practice for the industry. Another win for customers.For 2018, we’ll be seeing AI and ML integration accelerate. Intelligent data tiering will go finer-grained; we’ll see management of more types of media, such as SCM for example – and we’ll be designing in the use of new forms of hardware acceleration to enable that. We will adapt and adopt the latest innovations from the semiconductor processor world, such as graphics processing units (GPUs), tensor processing units (TPUs) or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to enable autonomous, self-driving storage.New array applications for AI/ML capabilities will come into play in different ways. Consider the array dynamics when a new workload comes along. AI/ML spring into action, drawing upon telemetry from not only this particular array, but from the cloud-based analysis of all similarly configured arrays to derive the optimal configuration to accommodate this new workload without impact to existing applications. AI/ML turns the global experience pool of all workloads on all storage arrays into an automated tuning subject matter expert. Today’s capabilities of CloudIQ and VMAX Call Home are just the beginning. Eventually the idea is that we’ll be able to use cloud-based AI and ML to fully automate the operation of the storage. This will mean storage systems that do more of the data management themselves, enabling organizations to shift dollars away from today’s IT maintenance budgets over to tomorrow’s Digital Transformation initiatives.Prediction #5: Pendulum Will Swing Back to Heterogeneous Infrastructure to Accommodate Specialized WorkloadsFive years ago, the typical view of the data center would be centered on row upon row of identical x86 servers. These servers, automated and orchestrated as a cloud, delivered a standardized set of IaaS and PaaS capabilities for the vast majority of IT workloads. Today,we’re seeing rapid growth in a new class of algorithmic workloads that are often better suited for specialized processors rather than general purpose homogeneous hardware. Purpose-built hardware often runs these workloads significantly faster and consumes an order of magnitude less power than general purpose compute running software-only solutions. This means that optimized infrastructure architectures will need the ability to deploy business solutions that take advantage of rapid advances in algorithmic processor technology, while keeping all the software-defined flexibility and agility of hybrid and private clouds. Think of this as “software-defined control plane meets hardware-optimized data pipeline.” This architecture may exploit GPUs for machine learning, FPGAs for custom functions, and offload engines for algorithmic data services such as dedupe, compression and encryption.These raw materials eventually become services, delivered across a low-latency datacenter fabric. This forms the architectural substrate for truly composable infrastructure. Our job will be to manage and orchestrate the dynamic provisioning of those IT services. We’ll start seeing these new capabilities delivered as POCs in 2018.2018 will be an exciting time for IT infrastructure and our customers. The contemporary IT Architect will have an unprecedented set of capabilities at their disposal, from new processing models, a new class of storage media, and advances in system and data center interconnects. This is especially the case in storage. With major technology advancements in both capability and affordability on the horizon, 2018 will be a year where we can truly expect to do more for less.last_img read more

The Observer announces 2018-2019 department heads

first_imgFive new and two returning department heads will complete The Observer’s 2018-2019 Editorial Board, incoming Editor-in-Chief Courtney Becker announced Sunday. The new department editors will join Becker, incoming Managing Editor Tobias Hoonhout and Assistant Managing Editors Elizabeth Greason, Lucas Masin-Moyer and Claire Radler in running the paper’s editorial operations.Juniors Jordan Cockrum, Dominique DeMoe, Joe Everett, Mary Freeman and Nora McGreevy and sophomores Ann Curtis and Natalie Weber will take over their respective departments March 18.Cockrum, a native of Munster, Indiana, is the incoming Saint Mary’s Editor. She began her work with The Observer her freshman year and has covered a variety of topics, most recently the student health fair and human rights efforts on campus. She is pursuing degrees in humanistic studies and communication studies, and she currently resides in Le Mans Hall.DeMoe, hailing from Clayton, Delaware, and a resident of Flaherty Hall, will take over the role of Graphics Editor. Majoring in industrial design and minoring in computing and digital technologies, DeMoe began working with The Observer’s Graphics department during her sophomore year to develop her graphic-design skills. She also does graphic-design work for Legends and The Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing.Everett, who has been writing for The Observer since his freshman year, will take over as Sports Editor. A native of South Bend and a resident of Stanford Hall, he is currently pursuing a degree in the Program of Liberal Studies with a minor in peace studies. Before leaving to study abroad in London this semester, he covered men’s basketball, men’s soccer and cross country.Freeman is returning for a second year as Viewpoint Editor. She began working for The Observer as a copy editor for the department during fall of her sophomore year, and she is a current resident of Walsh Hall. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Freeman is a Program of Liberal Studies major and theology minor.McGreevy will be the Scene Editor after serving as interim head of the department during spring of her sophomore year. She is from South Bend and majoring in history and Spanish and minoring in art history. McGreevy began writing for Scene in her freshman year and enjoys writing about museums, movies and all things related to South Bend. She is a member of the Badin Community in Pangborn Hall.Curtis will take over as Photo Editor, and she is pursuing a degree in communications with a focus in public relations at Saint Mary’s. Originally from Frankenmuth, Michigan, Curtis now lives in Holy Cross Hall and has enjoyed working for the Photo department since her freshman year. Her favorite sport to photograph is hockey, and she has covered a variety of other events for the paper.Weber, a resident of Cavanaugh Hall, will head the News department. She began her work with The Observer in fall of 2016 and has since covered a range of topics, including Notre Dame’s relationship with the Naval Academy and the University’s various student organizations. Weber hails from western Colorado and is pursuing a degree in English with minors in journalism, ethics and democracy and computing and digital technologies.Tags: department editors, Editorial Board, Observer editorial boardlast_img read more

Rasheeda Speaking’s Cynthia Nixon on Making Her Directing Debut

first_img Rasheeda Speaking Rasheeda Speaking, which also features Darren Goldstein and Patricia Connolly, plays The Pershing Square Signature Center through March 22. Opening night is set for February 11. Even though she’s psyched about her directorial debut, Nixon admits she likes keeping it simple: “It’s four characters; it’s one set. It’s an office that’s very realistic. People are seated at desks for a lot of the play. It’s sort of psychological warfare rather than big crowd scenes and fight scenes and dance numbers and that sort of thing.” “The themes of it are very big, but it’s very contained,” Nixon tells Broadway.com about Joel Drake Johnson’s play, which explores racial tension and office politics. She adds that she’s “eternally grateful” to New Group Artistic Director Scott Elliott, who saw her potential as a director and brought her the piece. “Whether I go on to direct a million plays or this is the only one I ever direct, this opportunity has been so wonderful.” Cynthia Nixon has never directed anything…until now. Best known for Sex and the City, Nixon’s been working as an actor nonstop since she was a teenager. Now the Tony winner is finally taking on the role of director with the New York premiere of the New Group’s Rasheeda Speaking, starring Tonya Pinkins and Dianne Wiest.center_img Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2015 View Comments Related Showslast_img read more

Credit union event planning on a budget

first_imgIs your credit union planning an event this summer or later this year? A new branch opening? A staff party? Looking ahead to your next annual meeting or board planning session? Parties are fun to attend but are a challenge to plan, especially without spending a small fortune. But as CUES’ VP/executive education & meetings, I’ve learned a few things about putting together a beautiful event while sticking to a reasonable budget.There are three components to an event or party that make the most impact: Venue, décor and food. I’ll share a few tips for saving on each.Venue: Some venues come at premium at certain times of year (such as spring and summer for proms and weddings). Try a pricey venue during an off season. For example, a botanical garden may still be beautiful inside in the winter. Also, at many locations and restaurants, weekday events will be more affordable than weekend dates.Décor: Pick a venue with a built-in décor—like that botanical garden!—you won’t need to spend a lot to dress up your venue. Choosing a theme for your event or party will help set direction for décor and food. For example, for a baseball theme, you can find affordable decorations at any party store or even on Amazon. Continue the theme by serving hotdogs, nachos, peanuts, pretzels and cracker jacks and you’ll have a fun event with inexpensive décor and food!Food: You can save on your budget by having a mid- or late-afternoon event with passed appetizers. Typically, people will take just one item when it’s passed vs. three to four at a buffet. A good rule of thumb is to plan three or four pieces of passed hors d’oeuvre per person for every 30 minutes. 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Joette Mitchell Joette Mitchell is CUES’ VP/executive education & meetings. She plans more than 35 events a year, including CEO/Executive Team Network, Oct. 23-26 in Savannah, Ga., Directors Conference, Dec. … Web: https://www.cues.org Detailslast_img read more

Empathy through technology

first_imgNot everyone can understand the details, nuances, and challenges around today’s technologies. But Ram Ridgeway does.As director of retail support at $3.63 billion asset Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) in Beavercreek, Ohio, Ridgeway gained this understanding while moving up in the ranks of the organization during the past decade.He describes retail support as “our back-office operations.” That’s a simplified way to say he oversees online and mobile banking, card products, the ATM and personal teller machine fleet, deposit products, and processing mailed-in checks.“We look at our responsibilities through the lenses of supporting retail partners/employees, channel management, and vendor management,” Ridgeway explains. 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Increase borrower satisfaction through payment convenience

first_imgImagine a world where ‘It got lost in the mail’ is no longer a viable excuse for late or missed payments. Not only is payment processing an essential operation for any business, it is also a point of contact that directly correlates with customer satisfaction. If there was a way to increase borrower satisfaction by tweaking your payments process to a more convenient model, would you buy in?Companies in every industry have had to adapt to growing consumer expectations for financial interactions that are fast, easy, and secure. Experiences with online retail firms like Amazon have conditioned consumers to expect a seamless payment process where debit or credit cards can be used with the click of a button from any device—or even activated through voice commands. That retail experience has evolved into strong payment preferences that have influenced how consumers want to manage their loan payments.Both consumers and servicers benefit when servicers offer debit card payment options. For consumers it’s easier, instant, convenient, and cheaper, resulting in a positive user experience. Since people typically have their debit cards on hand, it’s easier to make a payment on the go rather than trying to recall a routing or account number. For collections servicers, for example, a study conducted by Visa found that implementing payment by debit in collections cut 80% from customer call times— an incredible savings of time and resources. Millennials, the largest generation at more than 75 million, 78% have shown a definite preference for debit cards. Providing them with an easy, seamless bill-paying experience is an opportunity to build relationships with a cohort that has less entrenched loyalties to name brand lenders or servicers—and a long runway for financial service needs. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more