Ready for Takeoff

The plane truth about dealing with adversity and other issues.

February 6, 2012

Those of us flying Atlanta to Minneapolis experienced a mini-crisis last week when the “check engine” light came on. We deplaned for repairs.

We paced nervously, awaiting news. The flight crew was replaced; too tired.

We waited.

My new friend, a delightfully outspoken librarian from Minnesota, encouraged me to consult with Gate Guy as I had a tight connection to Madison. Gate Guy told me if we left by 8:00, I’d make it.

We waited.

We departed at 8:20.

The “strangers” around me empathized as I would need to run like the wind to make the connection. The Southern Gentleman across the aisle whipped out his terminal map and plotted my course. The young engineer lady next to me soothed, and my librarian friend, advised, “OK, Lora—don’t ‘go librarian’ now. You let them have some of that Midwestern gusto! I’ll help you...”

Lora Kloth is a research librarian at CUNA.
Lora Kloth is a research librarian at CUNA.

After we stopped, my demure pal bellowed, “Let her through! She has a five minute connection!”

I bolted, cheers and encouragement in my wake. My 3.5” heels pounded as I ran through the terminal. I arrived wheezing at the gate. The plane? Gone. Devastating!

This frustrating experience is a great example of how in times of turmoil, strangers band together with good effect. I had an action plan, reassurance, and the assistance of my cohorts. “Strangers” felt my pain. I felt the love.

Consider your disaster plan. If service is disrupted to your membership, will they “feel the love?” Do your employees work together in a crisis, even as “strangers”? Have you considered emotional responses of troubled membership? How will you support a stressed staff?

Let’s take off with this week’s research.

Fraud flies high in “Do Newspaper Articles on Card Fraud Affect Debit Card Usage?” by the European Central Bank. “The results show that newspaper articles that somehow make mention of the phenomenon of skimming fraud significantly affect the number of debit card payments.”

How are fraud threats shaping your credit union?

Next: Employee issues

Employee issues

Unload your baggage with a report from PLoS One: “Overtime Work as a Predictor of Major Depressive Episode: A 5-Year Follow-Up of the Whitehall II Study.” 

Results are inconclusive, but the interesting analysis notes that “Data from middle-aged civil servants suggest that working long hours of overtime may predispose to major depressive episodes.”

Parachuting through health news brings to earth some interesting studies.

In “Health and Access to Care Among Employed and Unemployed Adults: United States, 2009-2010” from the Centers for Disease Control, several points indicate unemployment has grim repercussions for health care. Among them:

  • Unemployed adults aged 18-64 years were less likely to have private insurance and more likely to be uninsured than employed adults;
  • Unemployed adults in 2009-2010 were more likely to have fair or poor health care than employed adults; and,
  • Unemployed adults were more likely to have serious psychological distress than employed working-age adults.

Tracking Employment-Based Health Benefits in Changing Times” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics iterates, “One measure of the current state of the health care system is the number and percentage of people with access to health insurance coverage.

“According to March 2011 data from the NCS, 70% of all private industry workers had access to health care benefits through their employers; among the lowest 10% of wage earners, however, only 20% had such access.”

One final boarding call on healthcare comes from the Knowledge Center in “Medicaid Spending,” which explores trends in health-care spending by region: “The average annual growth in Medicaid spending lags behind the growth in all health care spending, suggesting that states have successfully implemented public policies to control Medicaid spending.”

Are you prepared to predict how health care costs and various ramifications in the health care industry may affect your members and business operations?

Let’s change gates to housing issues. “FHFA Releases Analysis of Principal Forgiveness As Loss Mitigation Tool” provides the analytic and legal basis for FHFA’s previously announced determination on the use of principal forgiveness as a loss mitigation tool.

And, “Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Fiscal Years 2011 and 2010 Financial Statements” by the Government Accounting Office is worth noting.

Welcome aboard “The Next Evolution: Store 3.0” by Deloitte. This report examines consumer attitudes with regard to the retail experience and concludes that “retailers who combine the best of both retail worlds—the sensory experience of a brick-and-mortar store with convenient access to extensive online information—can gain the upper hand in an intensely competitive environment.”

Is your credit union aligning with consumer preferences in product and service delivery? How can you create a competitive advantage with such a goal?

The “plane truth” is that every cloud has a silver lining. I was delayed overnight in Minneapolis—but I made other connections onboard my first flight.

This camaraderie allowed us to view our inconveniences as common challenges to overcome.

After the missed flight, I ran into my Southern Gentleman friend at baggage claim. He’d missed his connection to La Crosse, Wis. But we smiled about it anyway.

LORA KLOTH is a research librarian in CUNA’s business-to-business publishing department.