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Trend predictions

first_imgThe media is awash with trend predictions for 2010. So we’re not about to break ranks, are we? Here’s Stop the Week’s half dozen…1. Whoopie goldmine”The freshest food fad to waft in from American bakeries,” declared The Times on Saturday, “is the humble whoopie pie, a cake-and-cream dessert sandwich”. Always ones to blow our own trumpet, BB predicted this in our appropriately named ’Trend Predictor’ column back in 10 April 2009… Verdict: ****2. Politically incorrect pink cakesGaining traction in the media has been the Pinkstinks campaign (see: www.pinkstinks.co.uk). It “challenges the culture of pink, which invades every aspect of girls’ lives”. Are you guilty of destroying young girls’ self esteem, confidence and “life chances” by decorating pink celebration cakes? Then watch out, the Vikings are coming… Verdict: *3. iPhone influenceMore pervasive than pink is the iPhone, which continues to permeate every corner of our society. Cakes are no exception, and iPhone app-themed cakes are cropping up everywhere (see: http://bit.ly/6phqG9). And if that’s not enough to whet your creativity, the patron saint of doughnut-scoffing has made it on to the iPhone in The Simpsons Arcade game, where you have to steer Homer in his hunt to beat Mr Burns to the perfect doughnut one that happens to hold a deadly secret. Much like the following… Verdict: ***4. Drunk on doughnutsSure to appeal to Homer is the latest breakthrough from Israel the boozy doughnut with the equivalent alcohol content of a bottle of beer. The brainchild of a booze importer that signed up a pastry chef who is also a bartender what a job! they created a doughnut with vodka infused in the jam. They’re designed for “adults and party-goers” we’re presuming not childrens’ parties (though who are we to judge?). The UK has yet to scratch the surface of the binge Britain/bakery crossover potential, so BB is putting its whole weight behind this one. http://bit.ly/70ZOQG Verdict: *****5. The new cupcake? Stealing the ’new cupcake’ mantle from the whoopie pie, even before it has become popular in the UK is, once more, the humble doughnut. Reports from the US say boutique bakeries are turning to gourmet flavours, from pomegranate thyme to cherry balsamic to iced mojito. Meat, grape jam, butternut squash and white chocolate, chamomile, guava and cheese and apple cider have all made it into doughnuts Stateside. It’s all about “taking a relatively inexpensive item and turning it into a luxury item” and “playing with consumers’ notions of creativity and curiosity”, apparently. http://bit.ly/7eRAQA Verdict: ***6. Toasting the futureThere is a revolution going on out there in toaster innovation, folks. Design boffins are tweaking the classic bread heater to within an inch of its life. We’re still a long way from toaster nirvana, but this ’printer toaster’, made to look like a desktop inkjet, recently received design award plaudits. Following data last year showing that bread consumed at breakfast was in growth for the first time in years, the future, if it can be summed up in one word, and without wishing to draw apocalyptic parallels, is toast. http://bit.ly/5aOqUq Verdict: *****Rating: ***** Making whoopie **** Whoopie cushion*** Whoopi Goldberg ** Whoops-a-daisy * Whooping coughlast_img read more

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Panel addresses euro crisis

first_imgThough the four scholars in Monday’s “Crisis of the Euro” panel discussion have differing disciplines, all agreed on one thing: the eurozone is in serious trouble. “Europe has often been the site of hope and good things, but has also often been the site of bad and troubling things,” sociology professor Robert Fishman said during the discussion held by the Nanovic Institute. “We’re again at a moment where Europe is the site of bad and troubling things.” Fishman said he believes the temporary solutions that have and will be put together to deal with this crisis will not be definitive. “There are many reasons why a definitive collapse of the euro is possible,” he said. “I’m not predicting it will happen, it will be very costly for Europeans and others if it does happen.” There is a huge difference between the cultures, identities and economies of the 17 European states that make up the eurozone. “Unemployment in Austria is 3.9 percent,” he said. “Unemployment is Spain is 22.6 percent.” Political science professor Sebastian Rosato said all of Europe’s problems with the euro stem from the fact that Europe is not a single state. “There is no chance that Europe will become a single state and this means that even if Europe rides out this crisis, there will be many more crises in the future,” he said. “And eventually, there will be a crisis big enough that the euro will collapse.” Rosato also said that because Europe is made up of different states, there are different types of fiscal needs. “If you have a one size fits all monetary policy, it’s going to be too tight for some states and too loose for other states,” he said. Political science professor Alexandra Guisinger said one of the problems with the euro is based in history. She said that the first time Europe pushed for a fixed exchange rate, or single currency like the euro, was in 1717. “It seems to me that even if the euro falls tomorrow, you can wait a few years and there will be another attempt [at a fixed exchange rate],” she said. One of the benefits for countries to have a fixed exchange rate is trade opens up. However, there are also huge downfalls, Guisinger said. “One of the things my research tells us is that there are some benefits to fixed exchange rates, and there are some definite costs,” she said. “One of the major costs that people recognize is that countries with a fixed exchange rate are far more likely to have a financial crises.” While the fixed exchange rate of the euro has had some short-term success, Guisinger said that Europeans would continue to pay for this fixed exchange rate in the long run. Finance professor Jeffrey Bergstrand said the eurozone is a centaur, like the half-man, half-horse creature from Greek mythology. “I draw that analogy because, we’re in a Greek crisis and I feel very much that is to think as the eurozone as a centaur,” he said. He went on to quote from an Economist article and said the eurozone is a hybrid, a single currency with 17 different national fiscal and economic policies. “The formal construct of the eurozone is the economic and monetary union,” he said. “One thing to keep in mind there is there is no mention of the word fiscal.” He said one of the largest problems facing the eurozone is fiscal policy. One of the requirements to belong to the eurozone is annual budget deficits cannot be more than three percent of the gross domestic product. However, the average deficit is currently four percent.last_img read more

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Merchants Bank opens new Rutland office

first_imgExecutive Vice President Thomas S Leavitt announced that the newest office of Merchants Bank celebrated its Grand Opening on January 15. The new facility, located at 92 Woodstock Avenue in Rutland, replaces and doubles the capacity of the previously operating branch at that same location.The new full-service ADA-compliant branch includes four lobby teller stations; two drive-up service lanes; an additional ATM drive-up lane; and offices for Community Banking, Corporate Banking, Government Banking and customer service.Special events for the Grand Opening included a book signing by James A. “Buddy” Edgerton and Nan O’Brien, authors of “The Unknown Rockwell.” Bank hospitality also included refreshments and tours of the new facility. A ribbon cutting and bank official remarks complemented presentations of special donations to the Rutland City Rescue Mission and Neighborworks of Western Vermont.Leavitt stated this facility is the fifth Connor Contracting of Berlin and St. Albans, VT has constructed for the Bank. “We are very pleased with the great Vermont craftsmanship and working relationship with have with Connor. These beautiful and comfortable surroundings offer a great place to welcome and serve our customers.”“The space is a warm and inviting environment for both customers and staff,” adds Deanna Wetherby Branch President. “Our new Woodstock Avenue home presents a wonderful opportunity to bring the best of service to our existing customers and reach out to new friends as Vermont’s independent statewide bank.”Merchants Bank’s new Woodstock Avenue branchFrom left to right:  Michelle LaMoria, Market Manager, Merchants Banker; Tammy Duclos, Rutland City Mission Rescue; Kevin Coleman, Alderman, City of Rutland; Deanna Wetherby, Branch President; Nan O’Brien, Co-author, “The Unknown Rockwell”; Jim Edgerton; Tom Bernheim, Publisher, “The Unknown Rockwell”; Alexis Williams, Merchants Banker; Amy Brown, Merchants Banker; James “Buddy” Edgerton, Co-author, “The Unknown Rockwell”; Kristy Cardi, Merchants Banker; Tom Leavitt, Executive Vice President; Jamiee Kuhl, Merchants Banker; Wayne Hickey, Merchants Banker; Mike Tuttle, President and CEO; and Ludy Biddle, Neighborworks of Western VermontVermont Matters. Merchants Bank strives to fulfill its role as the state’s leading independent community bank through a wide range of initiatives. The bank supports organizations throughout Vermont in addressing essential needs, sustaining community programs, providing small business and job start capital, funding financial literacy education and delivering enrichment through local sports activities.  Merchants Bank was established in 1849 in Burlington. Its continuing mission is to provide Vermonters with a statewide community bank that combines a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank delivers this commitment through a branch-based system that includes: 34 community bank offices and 42 ATMs throughout Vermont; local branch presidents and personal bankers dedicated to high-quality customer service; free online banking, phone banking, and electronic bill payment services; high-value depositing programs that feature Free Checking for Life®, Cash Rewards Checking, Rewards Checking for Business, business cash management, money market accounts, health savings accounts, certificates of deposit, Flexible CD, IRAs, and overdraft assurance; feature-rich loan programs including mortgages, home equity credit, vehicle loans, personal and small business loans and lines of credit; and merchant card processing. Merchants Bank offers a strong set of commercial and government banking solutions, delivered by experienced banking officers in markets throughout the state; these teams provide customized financing for medium-to-large companies, non-profits, cities, towns and school districts. Merchants Trust Company, a division of Merchants Bank, provides investment management, financial planning and trustee services.Please visit www.mbvt.com(link is external) for access to Merchants Bank information, programs and services. Merchants’ stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. .For information about the Rutland City Rescue Mission and Neighborworks of Western Vermont please visit http://vermontpet.com/mission/(link is external) and http://www.nwwvt.org/(link is external) respectively.last_img read more

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A year of credit union advocacy, education, and compliance

first_img 110SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In NAFCU’s 50th anniversary year (so far), we have:Had 6 member credit union Congressional testimonies in the first 7 months of the year;sent 315% more messages to Congress in our grassroots campaigns;delivered 151 new compliance blog posts, summaries, analysis, articles, whitepapers, charts and guides to members;produced 341 hours of education; andhad over 570,000 people use our CULookup.com Financial CalCUaltors.And that’s just a handful of the numbers that have summed up our work with credit unions this year so far.  At NAFCU, our mission is to strengthen credit unions by providing the best in federal advocacy, education and compliance assistance. Everything we do is for credit unions and in the best interests of our members. From working tirelessly to advocate your positions with legislators and regulators, to delivering timely compliance assistance resources and valuable training opportunities – we do it for the industry we love – we do it for credit unions.We look forward to the next 50 years working together to grow stronger!View and download the full infographic.last_img read more

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