COVID-19 has brought on financial challenges to all public entities in one form or another. Who would have thought on New Year’s Day 2020 that we would be thrown into such twists and turns a few months later?
The need to make quick decisions around those you serve, and those who work for you, spiraled in just a few days into a “new normal.” The strains on your organization began by having to work remotely. They continued as you had to wrestle with unforeseen financial demands and questions of potential revenue gaps, all resulting from major disruptions in your community, state, and nationwide.
As you looked around, it was clear that it was not just your entity facing financial un-certainty. Neighboring counties, towns, villages, school districts, community colleges, etc. were all in the same boat.
As the COVID-19 effect continues, public entities are having to plan around current budget gaps due to lower sales taxes, disruption in tax payments, and other various revenue streams that stretched reserve funds and put contingency dollars in jeopardy.
Coupling these challenges with lower interest rates and cuts in revenue, many public entities are being forced to address revenue shortfalls. The desire to borrow on anticipated revenue is leading to the issuance of Revenue Anticipation Notes (RANs) or Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs).
With today’s lower interest rates, the ability to borrow at these rates makes RANs and TANs extremely attractive in addressing potential cash flow concerns.
On the other hand, those entities with cash are finding it very challenging to find investment alternatives for this cash, given lower deposit and CD rates, decreasing state pool rates, and Treasuries near zero. However, based on your Investment Policy Statement, you may be able to buy RANs and TANs being issued by other public entities around you. Doing so, you’d be supporting your neighbors while earning higher rates on your cash; it could be at or above 1.0%. This has become so appealing, even the Federal Reserve is partaking in this practice.
At three+one®, our innovative cashvest® platform allows a public entity to determine (a) the levels of liquidity needed to meet day-to-day needs; (b) whether it needs to borrow a certain amount of money; and (c) if there are dollars available to be invested.
Supporting local communities and providing a platform to make that happen are core values at three+one®. Our proprietary liquidity modeling, forecasting, and data services are designed specifically to help public entities and higher-Ed institutions address all their liquidity challenges.
Together, we can take a challenge and turn it into an opportunity to become stronger in the future. And better able to serve those who depend on us.
It’s 8:00 am on a Monday morning, you grab a mug of coffee and turn on your computer only to have a screen pop-up alerting you that you and everyone else in your organization has been locked out, and all systems and information have been hacked. To make matters worse, you’re told to pay a ransom of $250,000 in digital currency to regain access to your own system; fail to pay and all access and information will be wiped out.
You freeze and wonder who in the world do I call to alert and help figure out our next steps. What to do?
Unfortunately for many public entities and higher Ed institutions this is becoming all too common. But help is on the horizon.
Did you know a network of public, corporate, and higher Ed professionals is available on a 24/7 basis to help you deal with such a crisis? It’s through the National Association of Counties (NACo) Cybersecurity Collaborative. The collective purpose of this network is to proactively strengthen America’s counties to better defend and protect themselves, their communities, and our economy from a cyberattack.
Consider this NACo collaborative as your entity’s cybersecurity SWAT team. It provides a knowledge-transfer platform that gives access to top-tier public and private cybersecurity professionals. Networking together, these professionals are able to give you the latest information, intelligence, best practices, and resources to counter a cyberattack.
- Daily security news and a security alert portal
- Peer-to-peer exchange through community discussion
- Real-time security task forces and SWAT teams
- Online training, webinars, and live tech demos
- Security research and a report repository
- Membership directory
For more information, go to (https://www.naco.org/resources/cost-saving-tools/cybersecurity-collaborative)
In addition, NACo has gone a step further in offering a tailored cyber-education series through its Professional Development Academy’s Cybersecurity Leadership Program. It is a 12-week, PhD-facilitated, peer-based learning program focused on developing vital leadership capabilities. Developing the program involved over 3,000 executives, tens of thousands of hours of executive experiences, and some 150 focus groups. It is all part of a proprietary learning management system specifically designed to help public entity leaders improve their cybersecurity skills—and make them ready to meet unknown challenges.
To learn more, please go to naco.org/cyberskills.
As a fintech company, three+one® believes useful information we can provide to the clients we serve can help them better protect themselves—and those they serve.
Our team at three+one® is very proud to learn of the selection of Maria Walls, Treasurer of Beaufort County, SC, as a recipient of the 2020 National Association of Counties (NACo) National Achievement Award in Financial Management.
In the development of her award-winning, countywide financial-management initiative, Treasurer Walls utilized cashvest® by three+one® liquidity analysis services to maximize investment opportunities for public dollars under the management of her office. As a result of putting all available cash to work, rather than letting it sit idle in reserve, Beaufort County realized over $8 million in new income, increasing investment returns over 1100%, while saving significant taxpayer dollars in reduced fees.
Prior to her relationship with three+one, Beaufort County had relied on a financial advisor for its investment decisions for over 25 years. Once elected to public office, Maria began wondering if that was truly the most efficient model; those investment decisions had been based on estimates and institutional knowledge, rather than the intensive analysis of financial data.
By partnering with three+one—and harnessing the reliable, expert data supplied by cashvest—Maria Walls’ finance department had an easily managed program that advised them when cash needed to be liquid—and when it could be put to work generating new revenue. She was especially pleased that this responsible investment policy was in full accordance with state and federal guidelines.
Congratulating this year’s Achievement Award recipients, NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson said of Beaufort County, “We are seeing firsthand—now more than ever—that counties work tirelessly to support its residents. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties build healthy, safe, and vibrant communities across America.”
We beam with pride for Treasurer Maria Walls, a leader in her community and a champion to her county’s taxpayers.
Our company’s innovative, data-driven solutions have gone a long way to help Beaufort County. As we all drive forward on the Pathway to Recovery®, three+one® stands ready to help public entities of all sizes do more with less in these fiscally challenging times.
The color of the four walls we now call our office has changed, let alone the way we conduct business. Who would have ever thought that the four walls within our own home would be the office we conduct our day-to-day business, not just for a day or two, but for months, maybe more? Just imagine considering a vacation day being a day you leave the house to go to our regular office.
The health crisis of COVID-19 has changed all of our lives, which will surely have long-term ramifications.
They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, and for many, the last 90 days have created lifetime changes that have led to new ways in how one transacts business.
It was over six years ago when we started blogging about how the way public entities and higher Ed institutions conduct their banking was going to change, as was the landscape of banking itself. We knew it would be a process that would evolve, with some adapting readily, while others would be reluctant.
Fast forward to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtually overnight, organizations of every type were forced to embrace banking digitization and remotely. Even the New York Stock Exchange went 100% online for two full months!
Three months ago, the idea of working remotely, while also accepting or sending money electronically was a “remote” possibility. The COVID-19 crisis provided us no other option than learning to adapt, while forming new habits that may very well lead to long-term trends.
Some of these trends may include:
- Fewer bank branches and greater online banking technologies, led by artificial intelligence.
- More virtual conference calls, fewer in-person meetings.
- Conferences will still be held, but with new parameters.
- Electronic banking will become a norm, rather than a request.
- Changes in hardware and software that will provide greater flexibility to work remotely.
- A move to less office and counter space.
- Embracing greater technology capabilities with stronger fraud protections.
- A general shift toward more remote work being done from home as initial research shows a recent 20% increase in productivity across all sectors
Though the way we conduct business may have changed, the desire to have a personal relationship with the person on the other side of the phone or computer will not change. Being able to blend personal contact with technology will be essential if we are to create a new norm.
At three+one®, we had a vision to help public entities and higher Ed institutions navigate through an ever-changing landscape of banking, whether through new regulations, changes in interest rates, or advances in technologies. Most importantly, the idea that each client has different needs, yet many common experiences, has been built into our firm’s DNA.
While the four walls that you conduct business may have changed, the spirit of the institutions we serve has not. Our mission remains the same: to help you succeed through unchartered and unexpected environments, especially as new habits are being formed.