By By Story by Master Sgt. Raphael Romero, 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron October 05, 2018 The 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron (MSAS) joined efforts with the Salvadoran Air Force (FAS in Spanish) as part of a joint endeavor to give back to the local community of San Martin, located in San Salvador, El Salvador, September 6, 2018. The joint effort was aimed at supporting the Salvadoran Institute for Integral Development for Children and Adolescents (ISNA in Spanish), which serves approximately 88 children, many of them with mental and physical disabilities. During the event, Air Force personnel from both countries donated towels, blankets, pillow covers and personal hygiene kits. The event also consisted of a party with clowns, piñatas and free haircuts. “This is an opportunity that enables us to reach the hearts of the Salvadoran people,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Garcia-Arvelo, 571st MSAS air advisor. “We are not only trying to reach our military brothers, but also leave a good impression on the community.” According to FAS Colonel Raymundo Eduardo Torruella Rico, executive of the 1st Aerial Brigade, one of the pillars of the constitutional mission of FAS is to perform actions that benefit the population in the health and well-being department. “The donation that the U.S. Air Force is providing with the combined effort of the Salvadoran Air Force benefits 88 children that are in need,” Col. Torruella said. “It also allows us to provide and give a little bit more of encouragement to the development here in this center, and at the same time, support the Salvadoran citizens where they need it most.” ISNA plans to replenish all their stock with the donated goods, and whatever is left, will be sent to other ISNA centers around the country. “It was a pleasant surprise that was given to us by both of these institutions,” said Ricardo Matias Lazo, director of ISNA’s Special Education Center. “It is a lot of help and a kind gift.” U.S. Air Force Major Norbertha Cooper, 571st MSAS mission commander, recognized the efforts of the U.S. Embassy Civil Affairs personnel and the municipal government for making the event possible. “We are here working with the U.S. Embassy to build partnerships and increase interoperability between the U.S. and El Salvador’s military forces,” Maj. Cooper said. “This community event helps us highlight our presence here and our interoperability between both forces. It’s a pleasure to be here and we want to thank you for welcoming us into your country and your homes.” Alex Ivan Salinas, director of ISNA’s Social Integral Center for Children and Teenagers, thanked both military units on behalf of all the children and teenage residents in the institution. “We hope that this is not the first nor the last time we welcome you here,” Salinas said. “Our doors are open for all and we will always await your arrival, not only this donation, but also to share some happiness playing football, breaking a piñata or whatever we can do to help these children. Many of them do not receive this attention in their homes nor the required stimuli for the activities that you bring to us, it really motivates our children and teenagers, which brings them a lot of joy
For Accenture Mortgage Cadence, August represents a month of reflection. August 31st is the end of our fiscal year, marking the unofficial beginning of our forward outlook for the year ahead. The second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015 have certainly been unique for the mortgage industry. The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule was supposed to go into effect this month, and it is clear that the refinance era is over. This means credit unions and technology vendors alike are winding down on their TRID efforts and beginning to look to the future of their business. We like to think of this new beginning as a transformational era; we are sure it will be an era unlike anything we’ve seen before.Defining this new era are emerging market participants, like Millennials ready to take on their first mortgage, Gen Xers recovering from the recession and Baby Boomers adapting to the technological world we live in. As a result, innovations in efficiency and technology will be more important than ever. This will not be like the cyclical financial landscape we’ve seen in the past; the way that credit unions deal with this transformational era will shape the face of lending in the years to come.In this environment, we believe that two key factors will separate those who succeed from those who struggle.The first is the ability to go with the flow. Transformation is not something that happens overnight; in the mortgage industry, it is likely to take many years. Think of transformation as a slow-moving wave that eventually finds its way to shore, almost melding into the beach – not the kind that suddenly crashes onto the rocks. The path to accommodate future members looking for mobility and immediacy is not cut-and-dry. No one can predict the rate at which members will demand these enhancements, and some members like the “old way” and will want to stick with it. Along this transformational journey, there will be a need to make numerous tweaks and adjustments.The second factor is an acceptance that reinvention is the new normal. This is perhaps the harshest reality for many credit unions. Old metrics for success will no longer apply as lenders enter uncharted territory. Without tried-and-true metrics to rely on, it’s easy to feel unsure, but it’s essential to stay the course. What will drive process and technology changes if not tried-and-true measurements? The new metrics will be developed by listening to consumers and not making assumptions about members’ needs. Credit unions who solicit members’ opinions, listen carefully and make needed changes will find that reinvention will flow seamlessly.Transformation of any sort takes time. The institution must undertake its own initiatives in the face of a constantly evolving set of external conditions. Our experience, however, has taught us one sure thing: Proactive – not reactive — steps towards transformation versus reactive steps are the way to go. There’s no reason to wait until the end of 2015 to plan for the future. Credit Unions should be taking steps today to enter their own transformational era. 36SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Sarah Volling Sarah Volling is Marketing Manager at Accenture Mortgage Cadence. Beginning her career with the company over seven years ago, Sarah now oversees the marketing department, strengthening brand identity through thought … Web: www.accenture.com Details
40SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Elry Armaza Elry Armaza is passionate about finding proactive solutions in a financial industry riddled with disruption. As Impact Director, he brings the best of Filene’s research and innovation into action. … Web: www.filene.org Details On a recent visit to one of my favorite retail offices, a few things caught my attention. A burnt-out bulb needed to be replaced, magazines in the waiting area had pen marks and ripped pages, and there was a sticky residue on the cluttered counter that I hope was the remnants of a kid’s sticker. My visit was to a credit union.This, coupled with my current work evaluating credit union website design and usability practices (one of my emerging passions since joining Filene), got me thinking of the “Broken window theory”, first introduced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in their 1982 article in The Atlantic. Later referenced in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. And later tested with field experiments by Kees Keizer in The Spreading of Disorder study.They argue the significance of the link between disorder and crime. The “broken window” is a symbol of unaccountability. If one window in a building is broken and left unfixed, they reasoned, it is likely that the rest of the windows will be broken soon, too. This would lead to more disorderly behavior, consequently ending in crime.One of the most cited examples of this theory is the New York police department’s campaign to focus on fighting signs of disorder (like graffiti or litter) and petty crime in the early 90’s to reduce larger crimes. Combined with other measures, their approach worked. New York saw a considerable reduction in crime rates. Since then, many other cities across the United States and Europe have implemented this approach of meticulously dealing with and policing small problems to prevent major issues down the road.What can credit unions learn from this theory? Put yourself in your members’ shoes. What might they be thinking when they find out one of your broken windows?The service I received on my recent credit union visit was great, as usual. But I have to admit I was a little leery about what was happening behind the scenes. If these easy fix items were not being addressed, what might be happening behind that employee entrance door that isn’t visible to visitors?In a digital setting, broken windows take the shape of broken links, heavily written content pages, circular references to the same page, inaccurate information, and others “broken” elements. These little things create frustration and lead to channel thrashing, where a member attempted to self-serve but had to resort to placing a call or visiting a branch, or even abandoning the task, due to a few broken windows. Channel thrashing leads to lower member satisfaction and higher member effort, (both important member service metrics).In the same way a broken window in New York City can lead to undesired behavior and worse consequences, our service, operational execution, and design flaws, can lead members to undesired behaviors: frustration, dissatisfaction, and lower trust. The most damaging consequences come in the shape of complaints about the experience to their social circle, lost business, and loss of trust.How can credit unions spot and repair broken windows in a digital setting? Here are a few recommendations:Functionality should always win over esthetics. We all love the look and feel of a new website, but it becomes meaningless if the site doesn’t offer member centered design. Sites like Wikipedia, Craigslist, and even Amazon are great examples due to their easy to navigate design. If a website re-design isn’t in your budget, create a strategy that enhances functionality. Be ruthless about policing and addressing those broken windows.Do something. Many credit unions find the omni-channel strategy overwhelming. We plan and budget for a website redesign or an even bigger member journey strategy and stop making iterative changes that can make the site stronger today. The gift of the digital age is the ability to get started making small changes today.User observation. The best way to understand how people use your site is by (you guessed it!) observing them using and navigating your site first. Professionally conducted Live Observational Research (LOR) can offer the insights you are looking for and provide a thorough analysis to guide you in the right direction. Continue to observe your users regularly. It doesn’t always have to be in a LOR setting, you should conduct your own observations in smaller settings to test for usability.Instill a culture of testing. If you are introducing a new tech solution and all the elements are not ironed out completely, the poor initial experience can have long-term effects. If for example, your credit union launches Apple pay or Samsung pay options, but members experience a hold-up, they will move to the next card in their wallet. Chances are they will not go through the effort to try your card again and now that other card became their primary smart phone card. When it comes to new tech, you often only get one chance.Pay close attention to channel thrashers for insights. Capture their feedback and use them as case studies to gain awareness on hold-ups, bottlenecks, and broken windows. By the way, they might be open to test new self-service solutions in the future. Use this tactic to re-engage them into their preferred channel.Increase your digital IQ by joining a community of credit unions committed to learning more about digital trends, Search Engine Optimization strategies, and implications of new technology for your credit union and your members. Filene Research Institute offers solutions tied to all the recommendations listed above through our Digital Strategies services. We would be glad to hear more about your digital journey and offer advice to make the most of your site.The approach suggested by Wilson and Kelling to meticulously dealing with and policing the small problems to deter and prevent major issues down the road, translates well to the service industry. If credit unions pay special attention to avoid small flaws in design and service, then we will be better poised to deliver a functional experience that lowers member effort. And that is time and energy well spent.
However, it didn’t stop CVS from installing its system. It didn’t stop installation of a new one for the firehouse, as well as three buildings at the colonoscopy center and the proposed large Stewart’s on the corner. Considering costs, be aware that $1.6 million is added to Phase II to upgrade Phase 1.Homeowners, some of whom will need grinder pumps, should be aware that the warranty is only three years. Today’s approximate cost is $3,500 to $4,000. Expect to replace them several times at who knows what cost.I live in Burnt Hills, but not in the proposed district.This very costly project is not desirable for our rural community and I recommend voting no.Carl J. ThurnauBurnt HillsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Concerning the new Ballston Phase II sewer project: I have carefully reviewed the project map, engineering report and attended informational meetings, town board meetings and the town health board meeting that covered the Alplaus Kill water testing.In my opinion, there doesn’t seem to be an environmental need for a sewer system. There is a desire by a few for economic development.There are about 400-500 acres of undeveloped land in 1.5 miles of Route 50 (a two-lane road). In the proposed district, that could have high-density development.In the March 15 Gazette article, Councilman William Goslin is quoted: “Businesses often cannot afford to put in septic systems,” which implies that the residents should provide a sewer system for them.
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Haven on Greens at Griffin is selling well with stage one sold out and stage two well underway with 66 architect-designed homes and residential lots for sale.STAGE one has sold out and stage two has hit the market as buyers snap up new homes near Northlakes.Villa World is reporting a strong run of sales in its first stage of Haven on Greens, with the first 20 homes in stage one sold out and the second stage of 32 homes hitting the market.The estate has 66 architect-designed homes as well as a range of larger residential sites available for those buyers who have their own designs in mind.Villa World development manager Andrew Ashwood said homebuyers had been quick to pick up on the quality on offer at Haven on Greens.“It’s been a winner from the start for many reasons, not least because of the natural setting at Griffin which gives it a great vibe. “Its position just minutes to the highway makes this all the more appealing.”Mr Ashwood said getting a quality home for under $500,000 was attracting those after value and quality.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home5 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor5 hours ago“Each of the homes are completed, landscaped and ready to move in, which gives homebuyers peace of mind knowing that everything is done for them,” he said.Fully completed four-bedroom homes at Haven on Greens are priced from $468,000 to $509,000 on lots ranging from 330sq m to 420sq m. Villa World offers a diverse range of home designs at Haven on Greens, featuring a mix of traditional timber, brickwork and rendered finishes.All homes have double lockup garages and many come with an extra multimedia room, as well as an outdoor patio area that can be accessed from the main living areas.Three land-only sites, ranging from 579sq m to 690sq m, are available in stage two priced from $320,000 to $335,000.“These lots give prospective buyers the opportunity to bring their own home design to life at Haven on Greens,” Mr Ashwood said.Haven on Greens is located just east of the Bruce Highway and close to the Dohles Rocks Road exit, and within 500m of the North Pine River.It is close to a number of public and private schools as well as the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new Petrie campus and a wide array of retail options including Westfield North Lakes.
New research reveals the Brisbane suburbs where rents have fallen the most.REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said investor activity in Brisbane’s inner apartment sector had increased the supply of rental housing.“There are just so many more option for renters,” Ms Conisbee said.“The majority of apartments are owned by investors and they are all competing for tenants.”Ms Conisbee said that explained why unit rents had fallen, but she was a bit surprised that house rents had also dropped significantly in some locations. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE “I think that although buyers are quite specific about what they buy — either a unit or a house — I think renters are far more fluid,” she said.“A lot of people who might have rented a house are now looking at these brand new apartments that have been built and seeing what they can get for their money. “It’s great news for renters in Brisbane because you can get some pretty good deals quite close to the city.” New research reveals the Brisbane suburbs where rents have fallen the most.In Banyo, also on Brisbane’s northside, tenants are paying nearly 19 per cent less rent than they were a year ago, and in Sunnybank, rents have dropped by $63 a week.When it comes to houses, rents in Hamilton have fallen by more than 17 per cent in a year to $560, from $680. LUXURY RIVER HOMES SELL OUT Mount Ommaney tenants are pocketing an extra $117 a week, while in trendy Teneriffe, you can now rent a house for $583 a week, compared to $685 a week 12 months ago.Even in Karana Downs, where the median weekly rent is only $400, renters have saved about $70 a week over the past year. New research reveals the Brisbane suburbs where rents have fallen the most.TENANTS are saving up to $120 a week in rent in some parts of Brisbane, where prices have fallen by as much as 25 per cent in the past year.The good news for renters comes as the inner-city market continues to suffer from an apartment glut, providing more options to choose from and an influx of landlords offering discounts and incentives as they compete for tenants.New research from realestate.com.au reveals the best deals for units can be found just 8km from the CBD in Stafford Heights, where the median weekly rent has dropped more than 25 per cent in the past 12 months to $225. HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee.According to the latest SQM Research data, Brisbane’s vacancy rate remains relatively high at 3.4 per cent.Weekly asking rents for houses across Brisbane rose a modest 0.4 per cent over the year to the end of November to $443, while asking rents for units in the city during the same period fell 1.2 per cent to $366 a week. The Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s Market Monitor for the September quarter, released yesterday, reveals Brisbane’s rental market tightened during the period, except for the outer Brisbane region of Moreton Bay. WHERE YOU SHOULD INVEST The report found outer Brisbane has become more affordable for tenants, with rents for three-bedroom houses, three-bedroom townhouses and two-bedroom units in Logan, Ipswich andRedland holding steady or falling in the three months to the end of September.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus22 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market22 hours agoREIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said a third of Queenslanders, or 34 per cent, rented their home and the market relied heavily on private landlords providing rental accommodation. Ms Mercorella said Brisbane’s rental market offered many affordable options for tenants, and rents were significantly cheaper than in Sydney and Melbourne as a result of lower wages and fewer cost-of-living pressures.BRISBANE SUBURBS WHERE HOUSE RENTS HAVE FALLEN THE MOSTSuburb Median weekly rent (Nov 2017) Median weekly rent (Nov 2016) % change Hamilton $560 $680 -17.65Mount Ommaney $583 $700 -16.79Chuwar $320 $380 -15.79Teneriffe $583 $685 -14.96Bowen Hills $520 $605 -14.05South Brisbane $450 $518 -13.04Fortitude Valley $470 $540 -12.96Shorncliffe $493 $565 -12.83Karana Downs $400 $458 -12.57West End $550 $615 -10.57(Source: realestate.com.au. Based on rental decreases within 30km of Brisbane’s CBD)BRISBANE SUBURBS WHERE UNITS RENTS HAVE FALLEN THE MOSTSuburb Median weekly rent (Nov 2017) Median weekly rent (Nov 2016) % changeStafford Heights $225 $303 -25.62Banyo $260 $320 -18.75Sunnybank $330 $393 -15.92Deagon $240 $280 -14.29Highgate Hill $350 $398 -11.95Tarragindi $300 $340 -11.76Newstead $435 $490 -11.22Clontarf $293 $328 -10.69Birkdale $360 $400 -10.00Warner $320 $355 -9.86(Source: realestate.com.au. Based on rental decreases within 30km of Brisbane’s CBD)
On Monday, State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) unveiled its Fearless Girl statue in London, outside the London Stock Exchange.The statue, created by sculptor Kristen Visbal, was transferred from Wall Street in New York City, where it has been situated facing Manhattan’s iconic ‘Charging Bull’ since March 2017.In a press release announcing Fearless Girl’s relocation, SSGA claimed that 445 companies had “responded to the call to action” by adding or committing to add a female director.SSGA’s deputy CIO Lori Heinel said: “Studies have shown that companies with greater gender diversity at the senior leadership levels generate better returns than their peers. That drives our conviction to continue our engagement and voting efforts as we look to make further progress on this important topic.” Further readingDutch pension funds ‘falling short’ on board diversity Pension funds in the Netherlands are improving their compliance with the country’s code of conduct but still falling short on improving gender and age diversity, according to the code’s dedicated monitoring committee. However, data from the $2.5trn (€2.2trn) asset manager indicates that there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve female representation on corporate boards.In 2018, SSGA identified 1,265 companies globally that did not have a single female board member, up from 1,228 in 2017.Companies without a female board memberChart MakerSSGA said that, from next year, it would vote against “the entire slate of board members” on nomination committees if a company does not have at least one woman on its board, and has failed to engage with the manager’s diversity project for three straight years.Number of companies adding a female directorChart Maker
A planned inflation measure change by the UK’s statistics authority could improve or knock funding positions of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes by as much as 10%, according to consultancy LCP.In a new report, Phil Cuddeford, partner and head of corporate consulting at LCP, said the reform by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) would introduce big risks and opportunities.“With a potential change to the funding position of +/-10%, the change will be huge good news for some and huge bad news for others,” he said.“Regardless of the impact for each scheme, sponsors who engage now will be best-insulated from future shock,” he said. LCP said it urged all sponsors to consider the issue of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) change carefully, but particularly if they were involved in any significant pensions action.This could include buying or selling index-linked gilts or similar swaps, buy-ins and buy-outs, changing the index used for pension increases, transfer value or pension increase exchange (PIE) exercises, and “long-term journey planning”, it said.On 4 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his intention to consult on whether to bring the methods in CPIH (Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs) into RPI between 2025 and 2030, effectively aligning the measures, according to the ONS.The chair of the UK statistics office David Norgrove had written to the previous chancellor on 4 March recommending the publication of the RPI be stopped at a point in future.According to LCP, the CPIH measure is expected to be around 1% a year less than the current RPI. “This means that DB scheme members with RPI-linked increases will expect to get lower pensions from 2030 than they otherwise would have had,” the firm said.“While a net financial gain is expected if the scheme increases are mainly RPI-linked and this is only partially hedged, schemes are likely to suffer a net financial loss if they are mainly CPI-linked and RPI instruments are in place to hedge this,” it said.Actuarial valuations, company accounting, and long-term funding targets would all be affected by the change, it said, adding that buy-in and buy-out insurers and consolidators may eventually charge less to take on RPI-linked benefits.“Year-end accounting assumptions for RPI and CPI must be set consistently to avoid unwanted volatility, and sponsors with upcoming year-ends need to address this now,” the firm said.
Bargain?But for those wanting to live a more luxe life, Malumba Estate at Buderim could be yours for $6500 a week, and a bond of $26,000. MORE: Hottest listing of 2018 has sold Phwoar levels of awesome!THE weekly rent may be two and half times the average monthly mortgage repayment, and the bond alone would be a handy house deposit.But this Ascot house could be Brisbane’s coolest rental house. At $2800 per week, this Hedges Avenue luxury home is a bargain by comparison.Spanning three levels, the freestanding mansion is located on the Gold Coast’s hottest street, and has 180 degree ocean views. Here, you could rent your own estateSituated on 10 acres, the Hamptons home comes with its own groundskeeper whose primary job is to weed the field of lavender. Aint no boring abode hereIt has three living areas including a media room, a gourmet kitchen, a gym room, a study, a powder room, four bedrooms with ensuites including a master suite with spa. The view from the Hope Island rental For $5000 a week, you could live here.For a cool $5000 per week, and $20,000 bond, you could live like a rockstar on Bartley’s Hill in Ascot.Built over four storeys, this house has five bedrooms, six bathrooms and space for 10 vehicles. RELATED: Is this Victoria’s most fun rental? The pool and outdoor areas are fit for rock royalty More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoThe other kind of pool (or rather, snooker)A secluded parents’ retreat with views of the CBD, Brisbane River and mountains has a separate ensuite, large balcony and spacious dressing room.It is listed with Eadan Hockings of LivingHere. “It is definitely one of the coolest,” he said. “I have not seen one at this level before.”Mr Hockings said there had been a “surprising number of enquiries”, with a few coming from doctors but the bulk coming from interstate.For a grand less, 2112 Carlton Drive at Hope Island is also up for grabs.Overlooking the canal and golf course, this four bedroom house is more holiday home than humble abode. And kick back while the groundskeeper takes care of the lavenderThe house itself has four huge suites, a Martha Stewart kitchen and butlers pantry, an open plan formal living area and log fireplace, a hall, children’s playroom, a gym/yoga studio, a heated resort-style pool, sauna, surveillance cameras, smart home wiring, Tesla electric vehicle plug in, a fire pit, croquet lawn, spring fed dams, an organic veggie patch and much more. The 1470sq m house has a modern commercial grade calacatta marble kitchen, an infinity lap pool located off the main living area that appears to cascade over the hillside, an oversized bar and entertaining area currently housing a full size snooker table, a climate-controlled wine cellar, a private gym, shower and steam room, and an internal lift.
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