Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Archive for May, 2010

Handling Unexpected Challenges in Business Focus of May 31 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on May 27, 2010

Scott Singer, author of How to Hit a Curve Ball: Confront and Overcome the Unexpected in Business, is the May 31 guest for Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. central time.  Listen live online at kazifm.org.

At some point in your life, regardless of what you do or how far up the ladder you’ve climbed, you will be thrown a curveball-an unexpected challenge that comes at you quickly and without warning. The kind that forces you to rethink, well, everything.

As an investment banker  Singer learned this lesson the hard way. But after a series of career challenges and personal setbacks, he started to develop a new approach to dealing with unforeseen problems by adopting a new attitude toward life. He realized that curveballs are a part of the game and the greatest players know how to knock them out of the park.

Singer has spent the past 20 years advising companies on how to adapt to change, to embrace technological advances, and to put the best strategy in place to deal with the next big thing—essentially, teaching them how to hit curveballs.

A noted media industry expert, investment banker, and strategy consultant, Scott serves as Managing Director and Head of Media & Entertainment at The Bank Street Group, a boutique investment banking firm focused on providing sophisticated advice regarding mergers & acquisitions; fairness opinions; private debt, equity, and venture capital raising; as well as bankruptcies, restructurings, and turnarounds to telecommunications, media, technology, aerospace & defense, and healthcare companies.

Prior to Bank Street, Scott held leadership positions at BMO Capital Markets, Deloitte, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and TD Securities.

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Austin Entrepreneur Gary Hoover Guest on Economic Perspectives May 25

Posted by Hopeton on May 24, 2010

Gary Hoover, founder of Bookstop and the company that later became Hoover’s Inc., is the May 25 guest on Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Hoover is the entrepreneur-in-residence in the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at the McCombs School of Business of The University of Texas at Austin.  Listen live at kazifm.org.

Gary Hoover

In 1982, Hoover founded Austin-based Bookstop, which grew to be the fourth largest bookstore chain in the nation before being acquired by Barnes & Noble in 1989. Hoover then started the company that later became Hoover’s, Inc., one of the world’s largest online providers of information about industries, companies and executives. The company went public in 1999 and was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet in 2003. Hoover has served in numerous advisory positions in education and business, including a five-year stint on the board of directors at Whole Foods Market.

Most of Hoover’s energy, however, has gone into igniting entrepreneurial thinking and action in diverse industries worldwide, and he has delivered his message to groups in the United States Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Hoover has mentored hundreds of young entrepreneurs.

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Former Dell Executive Shares Secrets of Corporate Success

Posted by Hopeton on May 21, 2010

Fenorris Pearson, author of How to Play the Game at the Top: The 9 Rules for Consummate Corporate Effectiveness, is the May 23 guest on KAZI Book Review, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at kazifm.org.  In How to Play the Game at the Top, Pearson divulges the unspoken rules of success for corporate executives and shows how to fast track your career.

Pearson is president of Global Consumer Innovations, a consulting firm that uses knowledge of the culture of innovation to help companies better connect to their targeted consumer base and incrementally increase their revenues

Prior to founding Global Consumer Innovation, Pearson served as Vice President of Consumer Innovation for Dell, Inc., a Fortune 50 company with revenues of more than $60 billion where he had the responsibility for more than 300 employees in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. While at Dell, he was responsible for creating a culture of innovation for the consumer business to help transform that business from operational excellence business model to one focused on a product leadership culture and mindset.

Prior to joining Dell, Pearson was Vice President for Global Organizational Development for Motorola, Inc., a global telecommunications leader with revenues of over $40 billion. While at Motorola, he worked with President and Executive Vice-President to lead led the reorganization of a $27 billion business.

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House Committee Approves Legislation to Boost Small Business Lending

Posted by Hopeton on May 19, 2010

Today, the House Financial Services Committee approved key legislation designed to boost bank lending to small businesses struggling to gain access to credit due to the financial crisis. H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act, will establish a $30 billion fund to boost lending to small businesses looking to hire and expand their operations by providing additional capital to community banks.  The program is completely separate from TARP and mandates accountability and oversight by Congress, the GAO, and the Treasury Department’s Inspector General.  The committee also adopted several bipartisan amendments today to strengthen the bill and defeated numerous amendments by Republicans designed to defeat the measure.  The bill calls for the capital to be repaid by community banks over time.

In addition, the committee approved an amendment introduced by Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) that will provide federal funding for state lending programs that use small amounts of public resources to generate substantial private bank financing. Such programs are designed to address many of the reasons banks are having trouble increasing lending to small businesses, including lenders’ desire to hold greater reserves against certain loans and concerns about collateral shortfalls on the part of borrowers.

H.R. 5297 was approved by a vote of 42-23 and now moves to the House floor for consideration. To view all the amendments considered today, click here.

“Small businesses create two in every three jobs in this country.  Helping them innovate and grow has to be our top priority,” said Rep. Peters.  “States are already engaged in extremely effective efforts to promote small business lending, and strengthening these efforts will create jobs across the country.”

“Small businesses are responsible for the majority of new jobs in the United States, but every day I hear from small business owners who still aren’t able to borrow.  Job creation is our top priority, and we need to ensure that the businesses creating those jobs are able to invest and grow.  This legislation is going to make it easier for small businesses in Cincinnati and across the country access the resources they need and continue on the path toward recovery,” said Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH).

“I have always championed the notion that small business success equals American success. Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy and when I’ve met with small business owners they tell me stories about how lack of access to capital is crippling their growth.  This bill will help create access to capital and spur prosperity in central Ohio and in communities throughout the nation,” Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) said.

“The small businesses that drive our local economies rely on community banks for affordable capital,” said Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL). “While stability has returned to large financial institutions, we need this fund to help our local banks, which remain challenged in their efforts to expand loans to our job-creating businesses.”

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Regional Administrator To Discuss SBA Loan Programs on Economic Perspectives May 17

Posted by Hopeton on May 15, 2010

Yolanda Olivarez

Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VI, will provide an update on the Obama Administration’s special loan initiatives through the SBA on the May 17 edition of Economic Perspectives, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at kazifm.org.

As Regional Administrator, Olivarez is responsible for the delivery of the agency’s programs in Region VI, which is headquartered in Dallas and includes Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.  The SBA helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses.

Before joining SBA, Olivarez has spent more than 35 years in the trade, commerce and financial services industries.  Since 1995 she has been a senior vice president/commercial lender and business development officer at Wells Fargo Bank.  She also served 12 years as a Port Commissioner for the Port of Corpus Christi, where she led public finance bond projects for government entities on the state and federal level.  Olivarez was the first woman and Hispanic to chair the commission in its 75 year history.

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Austin Community College Programs Focus of May 10 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on May 6, 2010

Loretta Edelin, Director of Community Outreach at Austin Community College (ACC) and Cory Walker, Coordinator of the Men of Distinction Program at ACC will be the May 10 guests on Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.  Listen live online at kazifm.org.

Loretta Edelin

With African American unemployment reaching 16.5 percent nationally in March of this year, community colleges can play a major role in providing education and job training that can help the unemployed find new employment opportunities.

The Austin Community College District is the primary gateway to higher education and workforce training in Central Texas. Among the largest and fastest growing two-year colleges in the nation— ACC is home to more than 40,000 credit students, 3,000 faculty and staff, and seven full-service campuses with number eight opening in 2010

Edelin has worked for ACC for 29 years and has served as Director of Community Outreach since 1999.  She served on the Austin Independent School District from 1994 – 2002.

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Financial Myths Concerning Women and Money

Posted by Hopeton on May 4, 2010

The following post was excerpted from remarks given by Elizabeth  Duke, a member of the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, on May 1 at the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Delaware Valley Financially Hers Program, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Duke

Myth 1: Women focus on nonfinancial household roles while men deal with the finances.

This myth is based on the notion of a division of household responsibilities that assumes women have no role in important financial decisions. In truth, women have long had substantial responsibility for family finances. Marketing polls and survey data indicate that American women have a large role in consumption decisions undertaken by the typical household in today’s consumer markets. As household managers, women supervise the budget for and purchase of many of the highest-cost items consumed by American families. These items include food, clothing, child care, eldercare, health care, transportation, family communication networks (including cell phone and computer purchases), vacations, and, finally, financial services and products.

One recent market survey reports that women account for 80 percent of all consumer purchasing decisions, making 93 percent of food purchases and 65 percent of auto purchases, for example.6 Because women engage in more of the family shopping, they are more consistently aware of price changes and inflation. Women running households know just what it takes to make the budget stretch and how to navigate changing market prices, and they are engaged in more financial and consumer decisionmaking than at any other time in our social history.

Myth 2: Women are emotional about money.

It is true that women often face important financial decisions as a result of emotional life events, such as divorce or widowhood. But those emotions do not necessarily carry through to the financial decisions themselves. Just as women are more likely to ask for directions when they are physically lost, women are more likely than men to admit they do not know how to proceed and to seek out advice regarding the best financial path. In fact, in studies and surveys conducted with large groups of women, the emotion most often cited as accompanying a financial decision is uncertainty or worry about being unwise with money or possibly investing in something too risky. This is born out in study after study: women are more risk averse than men.7 Given that women have higher probabilities of outliving their partners, facing eldercare duties, and saving for their own retirement rather than being part of an employer-sponsored plan, it isn’t hard to understand this aversion to risk.

One upside of being risk averse is that women incur fewer transaction fees and costs because they tend to invest more conservatively than men and hold onto stocks longer.8 So, while women are demonstrably more cautious than men and are often experiencing transformational life events and investment decisions simultaneously, I would not conclude that they are more emotional than men regarding money.

Myth 3: Women are impulsive shoppers and equally impulsive with financial decisions.

Underlying this myth is the notion that anyone who purchases something on impulse does not have the self control to save in an organized, regular way. Evidence does not necessarily support the vision of women as impulsive shoppers. And impulse purchases, especially small ones made within the parameters of an overall budget, do not necessarily indicate a lack of discipline about financial matters.

For example, Internet shopping data indicate that 51 percent of online shoppers are mothers, and 92 percent of women shopping online share information about bargains with friends and family.9 This picture of women searching out information online, thoughtfully comparing bargains, and then sharing the information with their circle of friends does not support the image of impulsive shoppers.

In addition, women have demonstrated their ability to save, especially for items related to family milestones or the advancement of opportunities for their children.10 Nonetheless, women also need to recognize that saving for themselves, whether to continue their education or provide for their own retirement, is as important as saving for and investing in their children. Saving is an activity that has several important dimensions for the stability of women and their families.

Myth 4: Women don’t have the math skills necessary to make successful financial decisions.

The notion that girls are not good in math has been around for a long time. Somewhere in the K-12 educational experience the rumor that girls aren’t good at math inevitably circulates. I am not sure anyone has any real evidence that women are genetically less able to grasp math concepts. But beyond the debate about whether or not women are good at math, I have seen too many women who believe this myth and avoid financial decisions out of a fear of math. As you have hopefully discovered in your coursework, financial decisions do not necessarily involve any more math than other everyday life activities. Everything from making meals to making the leftovers stretch involves math. If anyone here knows a young girl who doesn’t have confidence in her math skills, remind her of all the math know-how acquired in watching–or better yet–assisting with household duties or shopping.

When I was in school, girls took a home economics class and boys took wood shop. I still remember the three projects required in my home economics course. I had to make a dress. I had to cook a meal. And I had to make a budget for living on my own that included finding and furnishing an apartment. That third lesson has stayed with me for life. Over the years, those home economics courses have morphed into consumer economics courses featuring significant lessons in practical mathematics.11 And more states are now requiring financial education for boys and girls as part of the mandatory curriculum.

More important than the actual math is the increasing complexity of financial services, products, and instruments. In a world where decisionmaking involves not just making a choice between two types of savings instruments or investment products, but dozens, the issue is less about being able to do the math and more about being able to decipher the terms and conditions of financial instruments. Being able to find good information and reliable advice is a key component of good outcomes. This is an area where I am pleased to say the Federal Reserve can be of some assistance. At the Federal Reserve, we have responsibility for designing many consumer disclosures, and we have made great strides recently to make those disclosures more understandable. In addition, we have written rules banning many of the confusing practices in financial services that could not be adequately explained in disclosures. We also provide helpful tools and information on our website, http://www.federalreserve.gov. I hope you remember to take advantage of our resources whenever you need information concerning credit and savings products, financial planning, and investment decisions.

To read the entire remarks given by Elizabeth Duke click here.

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Consumer Alert: E-mail Claiming to Be From the FDIC

Posted by Hopeton on May 4, 2010

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC.

The subject line of the e-mails state: “Just for your time.” The e-mail tells recipients that, “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Online department kindly asks you to take part in our quick and easy 5 questions survey.” It attempts to entice recipients to take the “survey” by telling them “In return we will credit $50.00 to your account – Just for your time!” The e-mail then directs recipients to click on a link to take the survey (a fraudulent link is provided).

This e-mail and associated Web site are fraudulent. Recipients should consider the intent of this e-mail as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users’ computers.

The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT follow the link in the fraudulent e-mail.

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Health Benefits Program for Small Businesses Focus of Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on May 1, 2010

Ann Kitchen will discuss a new health benefits program for small businesses on the May 3 edition of Economic Perspectives, 5:30 p.m. – 6p.m. on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at kazifm.org. Kitchen is Acting President and CEO of  TexHealth Central Texas, a community-based nonprofit offering a low-cost health benefits program for small businesses in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties. TexHealth Central Texas benefits include:

  • Primary and specialty care
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospitalization
  • Pharmacy
  • Lab and X-ray
  • Emergency room treatment
  • Maternity care
  • Behavioral health services

Kitchen is a former State Representative in the Texas House of Representatives, where she successfully passed groundbreaking legislation related to public education, healthcare, violence against women, and the environment.  She has served on the boards of numerous community organizations such as the Austin Rape Crisis Center and People’s Community Clinic.

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