Rachael Ray and John Cusimano visit Vermont Institute of Natural Science

first_imgThe Vermont Institute of Natural Science recently welcomed Food Network star Rachael Ray to the VINS Nature Center in Quechee. On Wednesday July 22nd, Rachael and her husband, John Cusimano, lead singer of the band The Cringe, visited VINS to film a segment for Rachael s popular television show, Rachael s Vacations.During their visit, Rachael and John were given a personal tour of VINS natural science exhibits, live birds of prey enclosures, and avian rehabilitation facilities by VINS naturalists. “Our staff was really impressed by Rachael s interest in VINS environmental education programs and rehabilitation work. It was an honor to have her and John choose the VINS Nature Center from among all the exciting visitor destinations in this region, and we appreciate the national media exposure she is giving us,” commented VINS president John Dolan.Rachael and her husband got an up-close look at a few of VINS resident raptors, including an American Kestrel, a Red-tailed Hawk and a Great Horned Owl. The celebrity couple also participated in one of the most important events held at the VINS Nature Center: the release of successfully rehabilitated wild birds. With guidance from VINS naturalists, they released five yellow-bellied sapsuckers to excited applause from onlookers.Rachael s Vacations will air the segment on VINS and the VINS Nature Center in early 2010. Rachael s Vacations takes Rachael and John across the country to discover how to “rough it” in style, showing viewers new ways to enjoy the outdoors, 21st Century style. From river rafting in Upstate New York, to waking up in a cozy Bed & Breakfast on a Vermont farm, Rachael uses her unique take on travel and lifestyle to offer fresh and affordable ways to enjoy the great American outdoors.Founded in 1972, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) is a non-profit, member-supported environmental education, research and avian rehabilitation organization headquartered in Quechee, Vermont. VINS mission is to motivate individuals and communities to care for the environment with a priority placed on making high-quality, compelling and fun environmental education programs and learning opportunities accessible to more people and communities.Source: VINS. July 28, 2009 – Quechee, VT –last_img read more

Maintaining your position as a primary financial institution with connected payments

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dr. Debbie Bartoo Dr. Debbie Bartoo focuses on creating innovative new service offerings in financial services in her role as Head of Innovation at PSCU. Her experience spans innovation, strategy and analytics in … Web: www.pscu.com Details Findings from a recently released white paper indicate that the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a massive opportunity for credit unions. The white paper – which is based on a report by Javelin Strategy & Research – can be downloaded in its entirety here. According to recently released findings by Javelin Strategy & Research, customers of giant banks are more willing to adopt the latest technologies, such as fingerprint authentication and mobile wallets, and tend to have higher ownership rates of smart devices such as smartphones, fitness bands and smartwatches. In contrast, credit union members appear to lag or be at par with the general population in a number of categories, such as smartphone ownership and usage of fingerprint authentication. However, slower adoption rates and lower willingness to use the latest technology should be viewed as both a potential opportunity and challenge for credit unions.The opportunity rests with how credit unions introduce new technologies and features to their members in a way that does not take away from the desired personal relationship. The challenge is that as new technologies become proven and mainstream, credit unions must be able to offer them to their members or else face potential attrition. One potential key driver to consider is that credit union members tend to prefer having a personal relationship with their financial institution (FI) over using technology. For example, among nonusers of mobile banking, 39 percent of credit union members report they, “prefer dealing with people,” compared with 34 percent in the general population. Further, skepticism for new and unproven technology, such as voice banking, is high among credit union members, with 36 percent stating they do not feel it is secure, compared with just 29 percent of the general population. Given these findings, credit unions should consider implementing four strategies to ensure they remain the primary FI relationship:Encourage members to adopt a “set it and forget it” payment preference for all new connected devices and mobile wallets.Promote the credit unions’ debit and credit cards as the preferred payment method, allowing members to concentrate their digital spend with their primary FI (the credit union) and have the greatest control over their cash flow. Getting members to initially sign up with their credit union card as the payment choice (“set it”) for each new connected technology adopted (e.g., smart washing machine) creates an obstacle for competitors due to the mindset of the consumer to “forget it” when it comes to changing the preferred payment method. Only in cases of dissatisfaction or an extreme competitive reward offer will a consumer go back into setup to change a payment preference, and the same holds true for mobile wallets. This “set it and forget it” approach can be a powerful tool for credit unions, as it becomes an educational awareness program that can be accompanied by small, one-time incentives to be effective.Drive mobile wallet adoption among credit union membership. It is no longer a question of if a member will use a mobile wallet but rather a question of when. In order to get ahead of the game, the credit union should proactively educate members about how to use the wallet and incentives to drive its payment cards into that wallet. Once the card is in the wallet, the consumer mindset becomes “set it and forget it,” as described earlier. Develop a strategy to drive credit union cards as the preferred payment choice for six key companies, due to their size and relation to digital payments.Amazon is the largest e-commerce player and has deployed Alexa, its digital assistant, to control connected device paymentsWalmart is the largest physical point-of-sale merchant that has deployed its own wallet and is investing heavily in e-commerceSamsung, a leader in digital technology and IoT devices with its own wallet, is positioned to perform well in tomorrow’s connected homeApple, a key wallet player, is gaining power in the connected world and will soon deploy its digital assistant for the homeGoogle, which is investing heavily in the IoT, the connected home (e.g., Nest) and Android Pay/Google Wallet, is critical to future adoption for credit union members Facebook, the largest social media site and owner of Instagram, is investing heavily in e-commerceCredit unions should focus on these companies as critical to driving their future payment strategies, as these six players are likely to control the majority of digital dollars spent in the near future by all consumers, including members. By promoting their cards as preferred payment choices, combined with a “set it and forget it” approach, credit unions can position themselves to capture significant payment volume from the IoT, e-commerce and mobile wallets. Consider using education to drive adoption of more advanced banking technologies in combination with the desire for a face-to-face relationship.The desire for members to prefer interacting with actual people presents an opportunity for credit unions. For example, they can use this personal touch to explain how fingerprint biometrics can be used as an improved method of authentication for mobile banking login. Credit unions should always consider how they deploy new technologies in light of members’ desire for human interaction. This could be as simple as hosting mobile banking tutorial sessions at a branch or deploying a button on a mobile banking app allowing the user to contact a live agent during a mobile banking session. Providing the option for members to interact with a human being while using their smart devices will further enhance their experience with your credit union. last_img read more