Long Beach Boardwalk Reopens Saturday

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The first stretch of the new Long beach boardwalk is reopening Saturday, July 27, 2013.The first four-block stretch of the new Long Beach boardwalk is reopened Saturday morning, just shy of the nine-month anniversary of when the old boardwalk was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.Long Beach city officials made the long-awaited announcement Friday that the boardwalk from Magnolia to Long Beach boulevards will be open while construction continues on the rest of the 2.2-mile structure that is slated to be completed by November.“If there were ever any doubts that Long Beach and the South Shore are back, today those doubts have been put to rest,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who joined city officials for the news conference.  “We’re like a boxer that’s been knocked down, but Long Beach has gotten up and delivered the knock out punch against Sandy.”He noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay for nearly all the costs of rebuilding the boardwalk.The replacement boardwalk is being constructed out of stronger materials including concrete and Brazilian hardwoods. Schumer said that boardwalks in New Jersey that withstood Sandy were made out of these same materials.City Council President Scott Mandel said that the material is designed to last 30 to 40 years.“The boardwalk you are standing on is a result of the entire community’s output,” he said.Mandel mentioned that certain aspects of the old boardwalk will be kept to maintain its nostalgic feel. For instance, the old benches will be back after they are refurbished. Although there is new LED lighting, the lights will still have the same retro look.Mandel added that there will now be public WiFi along the boardwalk and the beach.The city’s iconic boardwalk has been drawing visitors eager for its return for months, but their wait is almost over.“We came back to visit because we wanted to see Long Beach and get an update on the reconstruction since it is right in our backyard,” said Tracy Seager-Huber, a Lynbrook resident. “I knew it would be rebuilt because of the spirit here.”last_img read more

Long Island Snow Storm Makes ‘Icy’ Commute

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The sun setting over Long Island on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Sara Fingerman)Drivers who battled snow during the tail end of Tuesday’s morning commute don’t have to worry about any of the white stuff anymore, but wet roads freezing over to ice may make for dangerous conditions during the ride home, meteorologists said.Snowfall has ended across most of Long Island with only the East End seeing a few flurries, the NWS said, adding that temperatures dropping below freezing will now be the major issue facing drivers.“There is going to be some icy patches out there on any roadways that haven’t been treated,” said NWS meteorologist Joe Pollina.Temperatures in some areas have already dipped below freezing. Forecasters said temperatures across the Island are expected to be in the 20s but gusty winds could lead to wind chill values into the teens.“Slippery conditions are anticipated through the commute and tonight,” the NWS said in its hazardous weather outlook statement.Crews have been out since the morning, plowing and treating roads with salt, officials said.The winter storm dropped about 3 inches of snow in some areas of the LI, according to unofficial totals reported on the weather service’s website.Forecasters predicted 3 to 5 inches of snow Tuesday.A winter weather advisory, which was in effect through the morning and afternoon, was cancelled at 5 p.m.As of 5 p.m. mostly all Long Island Rail Road branches were reporting good service, expect for Ronkonkoma and Oyster Bay, though the delays didn’t appear to be weather related, according to the railroad.Wednesday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 29.last_img read more

My Squashed Interview With Steve Madden, Shoe Guru-Turned-Ex-Convict

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The reputation of the Long Island Press precedes me.Due to the contributions of countless fore-writers before me, its name has paved the way for sources such as Sen. Phil Boyle to send me an after-midnight text message for a quote, for a phone call from Congressman Peter King to interrupt a father picking up his daughter from a play date at my house, for perks like tickets to Jim Breuer at the Paramount and backstage passes to Foreigner at Jones Beach.But so far the biggest effect its notoriety has had in my short tenure here was that its mere association so terrified women’s shoe mogul Steve Madden that he was forced to hide out in an executive office on the third floor of Macy’s in Roosevelt Field shopping mall pretending to be stuck in traffic.Because besides being known the world over as a peddler of high-end knockoffs, Madden’s name is inextricably linked to one of the most notorious Wall Street scams in recent memory, stock fraud of monstrous proportions that defrauded scores of investors and families, Lake Success-based brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont’s “pump and dump” scheme—which netted the firm more than $200 million, was masterminded by Jordan Belfort and glamorized by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio in last year’s The Wolf of Wall Street.Madden, a key participant in the scheme, according to federal authorities, pleaded guilty to stock fraud and money laundering, was convicted, and served 30 months of a 41-month prison sentence for his role. Besides jail time, Madden had to fork over several million dollars in restitution.Yet I wasn’t looking to corner the guy into some huge Come-To-Jesus tell-all (everybody deserves a second chance, right?) to open the eyes of the hordes of screaming teens and pre-teens who, along with their parents, were flooding the ground floor of the mall as if Justin Bieber were performing; I was simply coming to ask him flowery questions about his shoes for a glowing feature spread in the Press’ sister publication, Milieu Magazine.My ill-fated interview with the shoe titan ex-con began as traditionally as possible. An email from a publicist. Some juggling of schedules. Sure, I knew of his past misdeeds. When the Milieu writer who was originally assigned the interview left for vacation and the responsibility fell upon me, I voiced his name aloud in the newsroom, catching the attention of several Press staffers, who reminded me—hell, we’d just published a scathing feature story about the unseen victims who had gotten no screen time in the Oscar-nominated Scorsese film called “Skinning The Wolf of Wall Street” (which I can only assume at least influenced Madden’s handlers’ blatant unprofessionalism). Madden was played by Dustin Hoffman’s son Jake. (Madden’s complaint, I read, was that he was played “too nerdy.”)During my research, I also discovered that Madden, who grew up in LI’s Five Towns, found a new lease on life upon his release from prison, that he had a renewed commitment to the public and the community, that he’d even gotten married (to a former employee, when he realized he looked forward to her visits in greater capacity than he’d anticipated).I thought maybe I should wear a pair of Steve Madden shoes to the interview, which was confirmed through multiple emails with his public relations liaison Casey Bakker at PMK*BNC. Maybe an in-person interview with the designer warranted a shopping trip!The time spent hemming and hawing and justifying more shoes to my husband ran way over the time I’d allotted it—now I was running late. By the time I hit the road, there was just enough time to make it there for my 1:30 meet-up. I wore my motorcycle boot UGGs and hoped he wouldn’t notice.Lucky for me, the Southern State-to-the-Meadowbrook route I drove to work during the week was fairly empty on this Saturday afternoon.My phone rang. En route, I took the call. It was from Gabriella Weiser, Madden’s marketing director. She wanted to “go over some of the questions” I was planning to ask Madden. See “what tack” we were taking for the piece. I told her I wanted to know what types of shoes were on trend for spring. And about his new lease on life. His renewed commitment toward his public. And about his new marriage.“Yeah,” Gabriella said. “No.”“Um. What?” I asked.“Steve won’t be taking any questions about his life,” she told me. “I just want to be clear so that I won’t have to interrupt you during the interview.”“So I can only ask him about shoes?”“Yes.”“What about his new wife? His sense of community?”“No,” she said, firmly. (The “absofuckinglutelynot” was implied.)I agreed, of course, and continued to the mall—wracking my brain for 30 minutes worth of questions about shoes. I’d only come up with “Why can’t I just wear my motorcycle boot UGGs all the time?” when my phone rang again just as I was pulling into the mall parking lot. (A full 20 minutes earlier than anticipated, since traffic patterns are so different on weekends.)It was Gabriella again.“I’m so sorry, Jaime,” she said. “Steve has gotten held up in traffic. He’s not going to be able to get here until about 2 o’clock and the Macy’s event starts right at 2.”The same traffic that I was just not in?“Can you email me your questions and I’ll have Steve answer them over the weekend?” she asked.I agreed. Terrific.Since I was already there, I walked into the mall and headed toward Macy’s—as my cell phone rang yet again.It was Gabriella. Again.“Hi!!!” her voice wafted from my phone. There was an excitement there, like we were old friends. I was touched by her display of friendliness. And I thought briefly that maybe Steve had made it there after all, and she was calling me with the thrilling news.“Hi!” I enthused, right back.Silence.“Hello?” I said.Crickets.That’s weird, I thought. And then her voice came through again, in a strikingly different, sobering tone. “Hi Jaime,” the new voice said. “I called the wrong number.”“Oh.”“Yeah, again, I’m so sorry that Steve couldn’t make it. I hate to be so unprofessional and cancel the interview so close, but.”“Mmm-hmm,” I said, careful not to say, “It’s okay.” Because it wasn’t. It was unprofessional, at the very least.“He’s still in traffic,” she said again.The other reason it wasn’t okay was because there was no traffic. It was an awkward phone call that we were both relieved to end.SUPPORT THE BUSINESSES WHO HELP MAKE OUR JOURNALISM POSSIBLE – CLICK HEREI headed toward the Macy’s shoe department where there were lines of women behind red velvet ropes awaiting the spectacle of the shoe mogul. A DJ was spinning loud tunes while a perfectly coiffed emcee in a black miniskirt and towering gladiator (no doubt Steve Madden) shoes kept the party going. We all “put our hands together” at the prospect of winning a pair of shoes! The anticipation was palpable.Four security guards blocked the front of the line where a roped-off table where Madden was to appear held center stage. I approached them and asked where they wanted press people to stand, so as not to be in the way. He pointed out a tall man who looked to be in his mid-30s.“He’s the Macy’s manager,” he said. “He’ll know where to go.”Indeed he did.“Oh, you’re here for Steve Madden?” he asked. “Right this way.”“He’s here?” I asked, feeling my cell phone, still warm from my last call from Gabriella just moments before.“Oh yeah,” he told me. “He’s here.”The manager led me up the escalator to the third floor where a beige door was placed discreetly behind the children’s department. Inside the executive office was a receptionist’s desk and some folding chairs. I was instructed to wait on one of those chairs while the manager alerted Steve Madden, who was behind yet another beige door.“I’ll tell him you’re here,” he said, just as a sophisticated woman in a black suit with (undoubtedly) Steve Madden heels walked in, balancing a tray of Starbucks coffee in her manicured hands.She looked from him to me and back again, prompting the manager to make our introduction.“This is Jaime from the Long Island Press!” he said.I’ve never seen anyone stop more dead in his or her tracks or turn as white as a ghost before. But in that moment, those very clichés came to life before me. She looked, quite simply, like someone who’d just been caught in a lie. Because she had.The Starbucks shook, but did not spill.Gabriella tried to regain her composure. She stomped toward me in 2014 spring gladiator heels. The sweetness of her wrong number-dialing voice was gone.“I cancelled this interview,” she said, accusingly.“You must be Gabriella,” I replied, overcompensating for her lack of sweetness with my own. “We spoke on the phone.”She looked at me, but did not speak. Or offer her hand (she was still holding the tray of coffee, so that was moderately understandable).“I turns out Steve is here,” I informed her. “So…” I meant so, unless you’re going to tell me that the security guard is wrong and that the person in the other room doing interviews is actually a Steve Madden doppelganger filling in for him since he really is stuck in really, really terrible, though invisible, traffic, which must be snarling hundreds of other imaginary commuters frantically scrambling to get to the mall to try some of his so-not-in-style, so-yesterday, so…’90s (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in this case I’m using it as if it is), we have some unfinished business to take care of here. Or at the very least, I Am Owed The Professional Courtesy Of An Explanation!“You need to go back downstairs right now,” she said.“There is still no interview? Even though Steve made it through the traffic?”It was 1:30 exactly—a good half-hour before show time and our scheduled interview.“No.”Women’s shoe knockoff titan-turned-ex-con Steve Madden waves to adoring fans during a recent appearance at Roosevelt Field shopping mall. (Jaime Franchi/Long Island Press)Back downstairs I went, to where approximately 300 rabid Madden fans were lined up behind velvet ropes while a DJ blasted Ke$ha’s “Timber!” Security personnel, maybe eight of them, dressed in dark suits with earpieces and scrutinizing eyes, surveyed the crowd. They parked me next to where the red velvet rope marked the boundary of where Steve Madden would sit to meet with his fans and to sign T-shirts. Together we waited, while his national sales manager, in a flowered blue shirt raffled off strappy sandals to all who participated and three lanky models pranced and danced to the pounding rhythm set forth by the DJ. I took this time to chat up the security guys and to question why a shoe designer would need such a tremendous security detail for a mall appearance.Might he have been concerned that the people of Long Island would see in him not the figurehead of fancy footwear, but a swindler, a crook, and an ex-convict? Was the plentiful security there to protect him against an unforgiving Long Island, with their long-term memory intact?From the looks of the excited crowd, he had nothing to worry about.But his handlers’ lies about traffic, their attempt to control our interview by forbidding questions about his life that might have served to humanize him or at least have given him a platform to apologize and explain how far he’s come since his arrest and his staff’s vast unprofessionalism solidified the fact that there was one in the crowd who was decidedly now very much not a fan.At about 2:20 p.m., Madden arrived in his trademark baseball cap, button-down shirt, jeans and what I can only assume were Steve Madden shoes accompanied by more security and some staffers, including Gabriella. The whoops and cheers created a cacophony of excitement as he waved to the crowd and took his seat at the table.It was then that Gabriella spied me taking pictures. After all, it was a public event. She leaned into a security guard and whispered something to him. He then blocked my view and began to move me away from my assigned place.“You can’t be here,” he said. “Step 20 feet back.”“I’m with the press,” I told him.“Oh I know exactly who you are,” he said. “Get back!”And so I did. Back from Gabriella and Steve Madden, back from Macy’s and the Roosevelt Field mall. I’d gotten everything I needed. As Julia Roberts said to the store clerk in Pretty Woman: “Big mistake, Steve Madden.”Huge.And to think: All I was ever going to ask him about—and all I was ever going to write about—were exactly that, his shoes! His handlers’ attempts at damage control were nothing but damaging.PS- The next day, I was alerted to a new Twitter follower—Wendy Madden, who identifies herself as Steve Madden’s wife on her bio, and is obviously very much interested in what I have to say.Wonder if she’ll be re-Tweeting this. Wonder if she wears UGGs. I’m guessing, probably not.last_img read more

Cops: Man Ransacked Oyster Bay Cove Home, Killed a Pet Cat

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 23-year-old Huntington man who lost control of his vehicle Wednesday morning in Oyster Bay Cove and plowed into a snow bank is accused of ransacking a nearby residence after the crash, killing a pet cat, and menacing drivers with a kitchen knife taken from the home, Nassau County police said. The bizarre incident ended with police apprehending Nicholas Patrikis around 11 a.m., after he entered a school a bus and allegedly robbed two students for a school bag and video game, a police spokeswoman said. Patrikis also resisted arrest, police alleged. Patrikis was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation and released. Patrikis will be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead on at least 10 different counts, including burglary, robbery, criminal mischief, and aggravated cruelly to animals, among other charges. Police said the Huntington native was driving a 2000 Jeep Wrangler northbound on Cove Road when he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to slam into a snow bank and a fence. After exiting the Jeep, Patrikis allegedly scaled the fence of an unoccupied home, broke the front glass door and entered the home. That’s when he allegedly ransacked several rooms and proceeded to destroy property and grab an unknown amount of jewelry, police said. Patrikis is also accused of killing a pet cat. Police did not say how the cat died. As he exited the home, Patrikis allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife, which he used to menace drivers on Cove Road, police said. Police could not immediately say which school district the students on the bus belonged to. No injuries were reported, police said. Patrikis was also charged with menacing, possession of a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle and resisting arrest.last_img read more

Blizzard Watch Issued for Long Island, Foot of Snow Possible

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island will be under a blizzard watch starting Saturday morning as the first major winter storm of the season barrels toward the region.The National Weather Service’s advisory warns that the impending Nor’easter could dump up to a foot of snow on the Island. Strong winds and the heavy snow are expected to limit visibility to ¼ mile or less. The blizzard watch will be in effect until Sunday afternoon.“Extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds with whiteout conditions likely,” the weather service said in a statement. “Secondary and tertiary roads may become impassable. Strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs.”A blizzard watch means there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong winds and extremely poor visibility, making travel dangerous, the agency explained.Forecasters are expecting 35 mph winds and 50 mph gusts Saturday. The current forecast has snow arriving Saturday afternoon, followed by periods of rain, snow and sleet. The snow could be heavy at times, forecasters said.Up to a foot of snow is possible across Long Island over the weekend. (Photo credit: Accuweather)Dubbed “Jonas” by The Weather Channel, the powerful storm could impact up to 15 states with blizzard conditions as south as Washington D.C. and Maryland.Officials on Long Island are warning residents to use caution while traveling.“The message from the Suffolk County Police Department today is please be careful with the storm coming this weekend…Be prepared,” Deputy Commissioner Tim Sini told reporters during a press conference Wednesday.The department already has equipment and people in place throughout the county to ensure road safety, Sini said.“If you can stay off the roads, stay off it,” he said. “And if you have to travel, please use caution. Speed is your enemy.”At a press conference Thursday morning, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano echoed Sini’s warnings, urging residents to stay off the roads if travel isn’t necessary. The county has more than 200 employees at the ready and more than 28,000 tons of salt available to treat roadways, Mangano noted.Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is preparing to allocate resources to localities caught in the storm’s path.“This storm could have a significant impact in communities throughout the downstate area–so I am directing all relevant state agencies to be on alert and ready to respond as the weather develops,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We will be closely monitoring storm conditions throughout the weekend, and deploying resources and equipment as necessary.”PSEG Long Island is conducting logistics and system checks ahead of the Nor’easter to “ensure the availability of critical materials, fuel and other supplies.”“While snow and wind normally don’t pose a serious problem to the electric system, icing on lines and trees can increase the possibility of downed wires and power outages,” PSEG LI’s John O’Connell said in a statement.Forecasters expect highs of 32 and 36 degrees Saturday and Sunday, respectively.Friday is expected to be dry and chilly. The forecast calls for a high of 22 with wind chill values as low as 15.last_img read more

Copiague Man Dies After Hit-and-run Crash

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 23-year-old man died after he and two other people were in an SUV that was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Copiague over the weekend, Suffolk County police said.Pierre Prophete, of Copiague, had been critically injured when a speeding Infiniti rear-ended the southbound Chevrolet Blazer in which Prophete was a passenger on New Highway near the corner of New Horizons Boulevard at 8 p.m. Sunday, police said.The Blazer overturned, leaving the driver and a front-seat passenger hospitalized with serious injuries.After hitting the SUV, the Infiniti struck two parked vehicles. The driver of the Infiniti fled on foot, police said.Before hitting the SUV, the Infiniti and a southbound BMW that was also speeding had sideswiped each other, causing the BMW to veer off the road and hit a fence, police said. The BMW driver was also hospitalized with serious injuries.Major Case Unit detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone who witnessed the crash or stopped at the scene of the crash to call them at 631-852-6553 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.last_img read more

Millennials love technology…Everybody knows that

first_imgby: Joe WinnBut did you know…?Geico has created a marketing machine, one that can pump out memorable ad campaigns on a near-weekly basis. After looking at the competitive landscape, they realized their own tagline had grown stagnant. The old, “15 minutes could save you…” was so over-used that it had become a joke upon itself. So they made fun of themselves.Embracing the near-universal knowledge of their tagline, they added to it non-sensical responses. “The pyramids were a mistake.” “Endings can hurt.” I can see you remembering more as we go.What has Geico shown with their strategy?Just because something is known by a target audience doesn’t mean it is understood. The line, “15 minutes…” became more a representation of them rather than a statement of fact. By blatantly telling potential customers, “everybody knows that”, they reaffirmed the mental processing. In a sense, they backed up their marketing points with their marketing points.Those of us in the credit union industry could use a dose of their genius. Keep an eye on the publications, posts, tweets, and blogs. I guarantee it will take you less than a day to see a new article on how Millenials are essential to growth and why they must be engaged with technology solutions. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Millennials: Not so cheap, after all

first_imgby: Derek ThompsonOne of the hazards of being paid to think out loud is that most ideas are wrong, and some of those wrong ideas are bound to be yours.Several years ago, I wrote a column with Jordan Weissmann, now the senior business and economics correspondent for Slate, about how young people, gutted by the Great Recession, might turn against the culture of suburban homes and cars, the two big-ticket items that have powered the country through previous recessions. For many years, my chief frustration with the article was that the only words that commenters seemed to read were also the only three words we didn’t write: “The Cheapest Generation,” which was the headline. But this week, I have another frustration with the article, which is that, inconveniently, reality is messing with our prediction.When we reported the column in 2011 and early 2012, car companies were legitimately terrified that young people were abandoning their product. Young people value “access over ownership,” Sheryl Connelly, head of global consumer trends at Ford, told us. “I don’t think car-buying for Millennials will ever be what it was for Boomers.” As young people moved closer to city centers, public transportation would replace the function of a car for many young families and another mobile technology, the smartphone, would replace the spirit of independence, connectivity, and responsibility that used to be intrinsic to a teenager’s first car. This week, Bloomberg reports new data from J.D. Power & Associates, which finds that Millennials, or Generation Y (essentially: anybody born in the 1980s or 1990s), now account for 27 percent of new car sales. That’s more than Generation X, and second only to Boomers. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Bear reality: Credit unions focus on youth savings

first_img 26SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Gigi Hyland Gigi Hyland serves as the Executive Director for the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), the philanthropic and social responsibility leader of America’s credit union movement. Prior to her work with … Web: www.hylandhighway.com Details Over the past few months, there’s been quite a bit of focus on youth savings and financial capability. In February, the Financial Literacy Education Commission (the FLEC), held a hearing on youth savings program. The FLEC is comprised of 21 federal agencies and was established under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 and is tasked to develop a national financial education web site and a national strategy on financial education.In addition, in a special issue of The Journal of Consumer Affairs, there is an editorial by the FLEC Research and Evaluation Committee on four key insights for policymakers from the research included in the special issue and discussions at the related research symposium co-hosted by the CFPB, Federal Reserve and FDIC last September. One of the key insights is that financial capability requires skill development and mastery, along with financial knowledge, and these are a function of practice, repetition, and experience.This aligns with the Foundation’s own information around experiential learning. Through high school financial reality fairs, the Foundation and field practitioners have seen the true value of learning by doing. High school students who attend learn through this hands-on experience in which they identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food.So, why the title “Bear Reality?” Well, another amazing example of how children can learn financial skill development through practice and experience is a great program that Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union (FMFCU) has launched. In 2013, the credit union formed an exclusive partnership with Berenstain Enterprises, Inc. to open a Financial Literacy Center, Bear Country Credit Union, using the Berenstain Bears© series of children’s books to teach financial education. The Center, located at FMFCU corporate offices in Broomall, PA, creates a hands-on, interactive experience for young children (typically, kindergarten to third grade) to learn about money.Over a decade ago, FMFCU realized that young people were not learning about budgeting and handling money. So the credit union developed a financial literacy program to help parents and younger members. In the 1990s, FMFCU’s multi-pronged approach included field trips for young kids teaching them to Save, Share, Spend and Earn. Rick Durante, VP of Education and the FMFCU Foundation Executive Director, started incorporating The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money to reinforce the important messages of the program. Children relate to the bears as do the parents.FMFCU’s president and CEO, John Unangst, strategically took the success to the next level. He envisioned using The Bernenstain Bears© to teach young children about saving money. Working with second-generation author and illustrator of the series, Mike Berenstain, who loved the idea, the credit union developed Bear Country Credit Union and The Berenstain Bears Cub Account so the children can learn by doing. When they visit the Broomall branch, children visit the “human” credit union, and then Bear Country Credit Union. At the “human” credit union, the kids get to talk with the branch manager, a teller and member service representative, learn about loans, deposits, count coins at the coin counter and even visit the vault.When they get to Bear Country Credit Union, they are enthralled by a colorful, interactive display complete with Berenstain Bears illustrations that offer kids lots of ways to experience what running a credit union is like while having fun. Kids get passports where they earn stamps when they visit each of the stations and displays at Bear Country Credit Union. Parents and kids are encouraged to open up a Cub Account at FMFCU so they can save money and make regular deposits. Children receive a $10 one-time mate from FMFCU when they deposit the contents of their pigging bank, and another match for a birthday deposit.FMFCU’s team of educators packaged their financial literacy lessons and marketing material into The Berenstain Bears Financial Literacy Program, which is now available to credit unions nationwide through the credit union’s CUSO, Credit Union Network for Financial Literacy (CUNFL). One of the many perks to becoming a licensee is the ability to purchase and customize the credit union edition of The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money and the series’ book written exclusively for credit unions, The Berenstain Bears Visit the Credit Union.This is just one example of what credit unions are doing every day to look through their members’/consumers’ eyes – in this case young members – to deliver financial information and education to improve the financial well-being of those members. Incorporating experiential learning and “reality” into those efforts, offers a better chance that the financial lessons are truly learned and will be applied as those kids grow up and make financial choices for their future.For more information on the Foundation’s experiential learning programs, click here. last_img read more

Credit unions must embrace technology to stay ahead of consumer expectations

first_imgCredit unions are known for their community focus and commitment to member service, but they’re also becoming renowned for transparency and fairness regarding members’ banking needs. That was one of the findings in a new study from FIS, a digital payments technology company, and it bodes well for credit unions going forward. Consumers are more interested in digital money management options than ever, and credit unions that provide technologically advanced services while retaining their member-focused identity will set themselves apart.Exceeding expectationsSmall banks and credit unions outperformed consumer expectations and fared much better than large banks, particularly regarding in-person customer service. This is an area where credit unions have typically performed well, and it’s clear that it remains a strength for these organizations. Consumers indicated that larger institutions lacked transparency and fairness, and this sentiment lowered the scores for larger organizations throughout the survey. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more