This week, I am sharing a personal perspective.
Last week our country lost a very special person: former First Lady Barbara Bush, wife of President George H. W. Bush and mother of President George W. Bush. While I had met both presidents, I never had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Bush. However, her words of advice have been interwoven in the way I conduct business every day.
As First Lady, I remember Mrs. Bush being asked what words of advice she would give to others. Her answer resonated with me. She said, “In serving the public I always go beyond what is expected. At the end of the day, even if tired, I ask myself what is the one more thing I can do to make a difference—whether it be a handwritten note, a phone call, or a kind gesture—and then I do it without fail. Doing ‘one more thing’ a day makes a big difference over a lifetime.”
So if you get a call from me at the end of the day, a handwritten note or an email, a text or a follow-up from a last-minute request, please know that it comes directly from the inspiration of Mrs. Bush.
Hopefully, going beyond what is expected will have a great public impact over my lifetime.
Two years ago, I blogged about the impressive level of cash reserves public entities have on hand for investment. These levels have only continued to grow over the last two years and I do not expect that trend to change into 2019.
The nationwide level of cash reserves held by public entities of all sizes tops $2 trillion, double the size of the U.S. treasury holdings of the Chinese government.
I reiterate this point, given the growing concern over the last two weeks of the possible sale of U.S. treasuries by the Chinese in response to the recent tariffs imposed by our country on China goods.
Currently, a majority of public funds held in American banking institutions are at rates lower than the present rate level paid by U.S. treasuries. In addition, such deposits are not fully available for banks to lend against, making them expensive and the least desirable banking deposits.
Just consider if public entities took the proactive approach of buying U.S. treasuries: our dependence on China would diminish, while our public entities would become more financially stronger by securing higher interest rates on lower-paying deposits—all while staying legal, safe, and liquid.
At three+one we work hard to stay ahead of the trends in the changing landscape of banking and the U.S. economy.
Because cash is an asset—and worth more in today’s market—public entities can take advantage of its greater earning potential while staying within all legal and liquidity guidelines.
Who would have thought that our local communities would have the power to head off a Chinese threat and earn more for the people they serve?
If you would like to learn more about how your entity can optimize the earning power of its available cash, contact us.
Inflation numbers continue to stay low, but does that mean costs are staying flat for public and higher Ed entities? Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”
As the treasurer of a public authority, I see our costs for health care, equipment, labor, and vendors continue to climb. This is especially true for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB). These expected and unexpected costs put pressure on an entity to evaluate and determine the need to raise taxes, rates, or tuition, sometimes beyond the level of inflation. Even though this is often beyond your control, do you think the people you serve understand that?
The answer is “yes and no.”
Regarding public entities, the taxpayers will be supportive if measures have been taken to be prudent and proactive in dealing with financial stresses. Sharing services among other public entities are being encouraged, coupled with common sense best-management practices to make ends meet. We’ve noted that capital projects with a strong infrastructure purpose are also being supported.
On the higher Ed side, annual tuition increases have been pared back compared to those in the past. But the need to stay competitive—in enrollment, new programs, and physical facilities—will always be a challenge.
In both cases, the need to be innovative in finding new sources of revenue is essential in dealing with public perception and reaction.
That’s why three+one continues to urge every kind of public institution to be proactive in managing its cash as an asset. Done right, this will lead to tens—if not hundreds—of thousands of dollars in new revenue to your bottom line. That can be a major way to offset the pressure of rising costs.
As we all know, the people we serve expect us to look under every rock to keep costs under control and find new sources of savings and revenue. The time spent on this effort will serve all of us well, especially in preserving jobs and the quality of services the public has come to expect.
Want to learn more about what we can do for you at three+one? Click here or on the picture above.
What kind of banking relationship would like to have: good, better, or best?
The decision is yours to make.
In today’s banking environment, the way you bank and with whom is changing. The idea of a bank on every corner is fading, but having a bank icon on your computer is more the norm.
As technology advances and access to banking becomes more and more an online approach, banking will continually offer options well beyond town, city, or county lines. Having a bank that’s tailored to your needs and one with greater touch points will determine what level of banking you are truly receiving.
Here are a few tips in achieving the best level in your banking relationships:
Do not limit your banking options to those that are solely within your community. If you do, you may find that one day you’ll have only one bank left to respond to your needs or banking RFPs. That can lead to higher fees and much lower bank deposit rates.
By having a greater number of banks compete for your business, the better are your chances to lower banking fees and earn higher bank deposit rates.
You should still expect in-person meetings with your banker. The more personal your communications, the better your banking relationship.
Mandate that any bank you agree to work with will offer online banking services, 12-month banking and analysis statements, and a strong fraud-protection policy.
Develop and have in place an electronic banking policy. Today’s banking is conducted more “online” than “in branch.”
A good or better banking relationship means you are getting what you expect.
At three+one, we can help you drive the best possible banking options with policies in place that will lead to the best banking relationship.
That is what you deserve.