That's What Friends Are For

Mentoring arrangements benefit all involved parties.

April 1, 2012

In my extracurricular activities as a librarian, I have the good fortune to be president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA).

This leadership role has given me the opportunity to interact with many interesting people. Some have been kind enough to mentor me. Hopefully their influence is felt by those I serve in my job with my increasing confidence, depth of knowledge, and desire to continually evolve.

Thus, I proposed the idea of a mentorship program for students through our SLA chapter to help repay the favor. Students are excited to connect with a professional “coach,” and professionals are excited to hear the fresh perspectives and enthusiasm of the next generation of librarians.

Have you considered the benefits of mentoring someone at your credit union? Or have you realized that talking with others will guide you on your path to success?

Mentorship requires a mutually beneficial information exchange. Often, life-long friendships are made in the process.

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

Let’s look at this week’s research and foster some win-win situations with our own information exchange!

Mobile technology remains a hot topic as Pew Internet reports in “Nearly Half of American Adults Are Smartphone Owners.”

“Two in five adults (41%) own a cell phone that is not a smartphone, meaning that smartphone owners are now more prevalent within the population than owners of a more basic mobile phone.”

How does this trend affect financial institutions? See the Federal Reserve’s survey, “Consumers and Mobile Financial Services,” to examine mobile banking and its potential use for under- and unbanked consumers. “While there remains a digital divide in computer Internet access across the socioeconomic spectrum, this divide does not hold true for mobile phone access.”

To round out our look at the impact of innovative technologies, see “Engaging Health Care Consumers Through Information Technologies” by Deloitte.

Here you’ll learn that although privacy issues remain a concern, there’s an interest in the use of technology in information exchange. “Two in three consumers say they are interested in seeing physicians who use information technologies in their practice,” and, “Effective use of information technologies represents both an unmet need and an opportunity for the health care system to better engage consumers.”

Consumer concern about fraud is reflected in Javelin’s “2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier.”

Interestingly, despite apparent concerns about privacy, consumers often put themselves at risk when using technology: “Consumers are still sharing a significant amount of personal information frequently used to authenticate a consumer’s identity.”

Specifically, 68% of people with public social media profiles shared their birthday information, 63% shared their high school name, 18% shared their phone numbers, and 12% shared their pet’s name—each a prime example of personal information a company would use to verify your identity.

What lessons do consumers impart to us in their adoption of innovative technologies and how can financial service providers meet their needs through these channels? How can we help protect members from fraud?

Back to basics

Examinations and explanations of economic truisms are reflected in a few studies this week. See “Understanding the Modern Monetary System” for “a very broad understanding of the workings of a modern fiat monetary system that is applicable to countries that are autonomous issuers of currency in a floating exchange rate system.”

Not sure about activities at the Fed? See “Changing the Federal Reserve’s Mandate: An Economic Analysis” by the Congressional Research Service.

“This report discusses a number of implementation issues surrounding an inflation target. These include what rate of inflation to target, what inflation measure to use, whether to set a point target or range, and what penalties to impose if a target is missed.”

And in case our government’s executive branch has you stymied, perhaps some answers can be found in “CBO Releases Analysis of the President’s 2013 Budget.” 

Here, the Congressional Budget Office “analyzes the budget proposals and, using its own estimating procedures and economic assumptions, projects what the federal budget would look like over the next 10 years if those proposals were adopted.”

Does the federal budget have all the answers? See “What States Can, and Can’t, Teach the Federal Government About Budgets” by Brookings.

“This policy brief examines potential budgeting lessons for the federal government from the states… [and] reviews how states addressed major budget shortfalls. It next considers the effectiveness of state balanced budget requirements and other restrictive fiscal institutions. The brief concludes by exploring differences between state and federal policy environments and limits to generalizing from state experiences.”

How do these broader economic and budgetary issues affect your members and your credit union’s operations?

To conclude this week’s theme of mentorship and for a look at mutually beneficial fiscal interaction of “partners,” consider Pew Research findings in “The Boomerang Generation: Feeling OK About Living With Mom and Dad.” 

More young adults are living in multi-generational households—which, evidently, is a good thing: “More than three-quarters of young adults ages 25 to 34 who have moved back home with their families during the Great Recession… say they’re satisfied with their living arrangements and upbeat about their future finances…

“Those arrangements have benefited their parents as well. Almost half of boomerang children say they have paid rent and almost nine-in-ten have helped with household expenses.”

Diana Ross said, “You do need mentors, but in the end, you really just need to believe in yourself.”

This may be true, but Dionne Warwick has a great message, too: “That’s what friends are for!”

LORA BRAY is a research librarian in CUNA's business-to-business publishing department.