Some random stuff you really need to know:
* Where do ex-NFL stars who played on one of the most storied teams in football history go when they no longer get to park in the player's lot? A lifetime of sports banquets and after-dinner speeches? A cushy job as an "analyst" pointing out what we just watched? Las Vegas greeter? You'll find hundreds of ex-footballers doing all of those things (and I didn't even mention drug rehab).
But what about manning the booth at a credit union trade show? You'll find at least one. Rick Woods was a member of some of those famous Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the early 1980s. On the black-and-gold roster from 1982 to 1986, he played alongside guys like Terry Bradshaw, Jack Ham, Mel Blount and Franco Harris. One of the defensive coaches was Tony Dungy, now headman in Indianapolis. You can't miss Bradshaw's mug on Fox Sundays, and one person leading a life better left unexamined has a new book out on his obsession with Harris (the author says Harris' "Immaculate Reception" changed his life).
Not surprisingly for a guy who played defensive back and safety, Woods has pursued an interest in defense. In this case, electronic defense, or computer network security. After leaving Pittsburgh, Woods played one season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before a broken ankle (and perhaps recognition that nothing was worth wearing the Bucs' then creamsicle orange uni's) brought his career to a close.
"I was living in Tampa in 1988. My neighbor was president of the check division of Telecredit and I was looking for something to do," said Woods, a history major who was not interested in going into coaching ("too many hours," he said) or broadcasting ("I love to talk, but it never crossed my mind"). "I started with Telecredit, but the check processing division was bought by Equifax," explained Woods, who missed a Super Bowl by one season.
By the time Woods landed with First Data Resources he was a self-described "jack-of-all-trades in IT processing."
"We used to have to educate people on ATMs," he recalled. "Now we have to educate people on network vulnerabilities. Security is just good business sense. People don't realize how vulnerable they are."
He remains in close touch with the National Football League and is active in its alumni association. Woods, who played at Boise State University, won the NFL Alumni Golf Tournament when teamed with Rex Johnson, who continues to play for the University of Lending. When I spoke with Woods in a booth at a trade show he was on the sales floor swinging a golf club. He says he enjoys working with credit unions.
"I love credit unions," he said. "They're very down to Earth. They have a good reputation and offer a good opportunity."
* Recently received a press release from a marketer in the Midwest announcing she had earned an accreditation in public relations. The release noted, "This credential signifies competence in problem-solving and commitment to professional standards." Several inches below the end of the text of the release was new text, in this case correspondence from someone else within the CU who was apparently asked to review the release prior to its being sent to the media. The reviewer noted that while the quote attributed to the marketer's boss was bogus, it nevertheless sounded nice. And the reviewer's critique included this line, "This sounds overblown to me." Apparently learning to operate the "delete" key wasn't part of the accreditation process.
* During a recent bank trade show, members of the media were informed prior to an event, "You can't get too much information out of these (speakers) that's too specific. This could be proprietary information and they're not allowed to reveal much." In other words, this was a news event at which there would be no news.
* Wasn't it heart-warming to see all that support for credit unions from candidates during the recent elections. After all, backing credit unions really requires going out on a slippery limb and taking a position. For instance, Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina certainly showed her bravery by noting in a letter to the state league that she "supports credit unions' efforts to offer affordable financial services to all consumers." Take that!, American Coalition To Deny Services To The Unprofitable Poor.
* The Credit Union Journal recently published an item noting that Frederick D. Healey, CEO of Worker's Credit Union, was honored as the Harold E. Drake, Jr. Citizen of the year at the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation annual dinner. Healey was recognized on his work in the community, which includes chairing the board of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, being a trustee for the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, the Fitchburg Art Museum, and the Thayer Symphony Orchestra; for serving for the board of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, and the Nashua Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America. One word for anyone who can do all that: Cloning.
* Don't know if you noticed, but if Kinecta FCU in California ever merges with a Department of Transportation credit union, it's new name will be Kinecta DOT.
* Finally, this week's sign of the credit union apocalypse: received a press release describing a new branch as part of a "chain."
Frank J. Diekmann is Editor of The Credit Union Journal. He can be reached at fdiekmann cujournal.com.