7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Brian Hague Brian has more than 25 years’ experience in financial institutions and the capital markets, and has devoted 21 years to serving credit unions through various roles at CNBS, LLC, a … Web: www.rochdaleparagon.com Details After several years of intently watching the Fed for clues as to the economy, the markets and interest rates, 2015 will be the year that we can finally take our eyes off the Fed, and focus on the consumer.Think this year won’t be about the consumer? Think again. The markets easily weathered the withdrawal of quantitative easing, and they no longer seem to be reacting to speculation over when the Fed will start tightening. On the other hand, two pieces of economic data were released in early January that were key to gauging consumer activity: the average hourly earnings component of the December jobs report, and advance retail sales for December, a critical month for retailers.Both numbers missed expectations, and the market reaction to both releases was severe. Equities sold off about one percent the day that average hourly earnings reportedly fell 0.2% in December, and they sold off another percent a few days later when retail sales reportedly declined 0.9% in December – a critical month for retailers. Clearly, markets are focused on the consumer as the new year unfolds; you should be, too, as consumption will drive loan and savings growth trends in 2015. And we believe the consumer is coming out of hibernation this year.Before we explain why, let’s look at those two seemingly pessimistic data releases more closely. The hourly earnings figure defies logic; payroll growth averaged nearly 250,000 jobs a month in 2014, the best year since 1999. Unemployment fell from 6.7% in December 2013 to 5.6% a year later, the lowest rate since 2008. And while underemployment remained elevated, it also fell last year to the lowest level since 2008. Thus we’d expect hourly earnings to rise.Indeed they did, for most of 2014; in fact, December’s was the first monthly decline since October 2012. Annual earnings growth averaged 2.0% last year – not stellar, but positive, and above the inflation rate. Several theories have been postulated to explain the December decline: more highly-paid workers retiring and new hires entering the labor force at lower wages, and the addition of large numbers of seasonal retail workers in December at lower wages being chief among them.Our view is that the data may well prove to be an anomaly. One month doth not a trend make, as we saw when earnings declined in October 2012 only to be followed by 25 consecutive monthly gains. And, while year-over-year wage growth slipped to 1.7% in December, the average workweek expanded during 2014. If we multiply hourly earnings times hours worked, actual earnings were up more than 2.5% in 2014 – again not stellar, but well above the inflation rate.As for retail sales, that could also prove anomalous; this was the advance release, with two revisions to follow. This number too defied logic, as all reports from retailers indicated stronger year-over-year sales for this holiday season. But another explanation is in the fact that this data is seasonally adjusted. On an unadjusted basis, sales rose 14% in December, vs. the reported 0.9% decline. The adjustment factors for each month are relatively static, but the months themselves are not. In this case, the November and December adjustments failed to consider the fact that November only had two shopping days after Black Friday in 2014, thus the December adjustment was overstated.Regardless these two negative releases, we maintain that we’ll see a resurgent consumer in 2015. Household balance sheets are healthier than they’ve been in more than three decades. The labor situation – the biggest driver of most borrowing – should continue to improve. Credit card use is picking up, albeit with a healthy caution. Auto sales remain strong, near pre-recession levels. And let’s not forget that lower prices at the pump will amount to an estimated $100-125 billion windfall for households this year.We also believe that 2015 will be a breakout year for housing, due to the confluence of several factors: mortgage rates near record lows, but expected to rise; the introduction of 3%-down payment loans by Fannie and Freddie, and the 50 basis point reduction in the FHA mortgage insurance premium; slightly elevated supply; and a moderation of prices over the past year.In looking at these trends, credit unions should find opportunities to grow credit cards, auto loans and mortgages in 2015. (Consider selling long-term mortgages to avoid a concentration in loans at low fixed rates in the face of rising rates to come.) Savings growth will likely slow, so liquidity management will be important. But overall, this should be a solid year for credit unions.To receive The Rochdale Group’s full 1Q15 Economic Outlook, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share StumbleUpon Established in 2007, 1xBet is a fast-growing company in the sports betting space, with a platform focused on providing the maximum number of events and the highest level of localisation.We caught up with the company’s Head of Business Development Evgeniy Kiriushin to discuss lessons learned in 2017, utilising sponsorship and social media opportunities in 2018, and getting ready for this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.SBC: What are the biggest lessons learned you have learned, and what are your key targets for 2018?EK: On the one hand, the past year for our company turned out to be very intense, but on the other hand it turned out to be rich in all kinds of achievements and, of course, lessons. As the most important thing, our strategy for creating a bookmaker product with the maximum number of events, markets, and the highest odds has been worth it.We understand that we set a very high level for the entire bookmaker companies’ market and, first, for ourselves. It is not easy to offer bets on so many events in sports and live sections at such odds. I can say more; for most present bookmakers this is simply beyond their power. However, we have learnt (and the last year only confirms it) that we need to offer customers only the best thing.In many ways, our product is truly unique and is developing with an unprecedented speed. I think that’s why users from all over the world choose our bookmaker company with increasing frequency.The second important lesson for our company was that by creating a high-quality bookmaker product, you become interesting not only to ordinary users, but also to partners who are ready to build their business in this area. This year, we noticed a great interest in our platform, so we have seriously considered the development of an independent b2b direction.SBC: The World Cup is set to provide a key battleground for bookmakers in 2018; given that your platform has been translated in 49 languages, do you think localisation will be a stand out feature for 1xBet?EK: The World Cup is a significant event for any bookmaker company. Especially when it takes place in a country where you are the number one at the market. I think that we are well prepared for this event and look forward to serious growth and attracting a huge number of users from all over the world.Of course, now the fact that our platform is translated into 49 languages (at the beginning of 2018 there will be 52 of them already), we have 24/7 support in 27 languages, it distinguishes us from competitors. I can say that no bookmaker company can boast such a number of localizations and this level of service. Undoubtedly, this is an outstanding feature of the platform, which will help us to develop success further.SBC: You have placed great emphasis on offering more payment types and currencies than your competitors; how important is it to cater for different deposit and withdrawal preferences, particularly in the big CIS regions?EK: Stable and various payment methods are a necessary part of the service of any bookmaker company. And the more of them – the more convenient it is for the user in any market. Nowadays, we also exceed any competitor at the number of integrated payment systems.We are always ready to offer the maximum number of methods to deposit an account and withdraw for customers in any market. We consider this to be part of our global strategy; if in some place on the planet customers want to pay with stones or shells, we will be the first to provide customers with this service. By the way, we will also be the first to open a bookmaker office on the Moon and Mars.SBC: How can you effectively utilise your sponsorship of La Liga to promote 1xBet products ahead of next summer’s showpiece event?EK: Next year, we have very serious plans to activate sponsorships with La Liga, Serie A. We discuss new sponsorship contracts with the English Premier League and a number of championships in Africa and Latin America. We promise you many surprises. As for the period of the 2018 World Cup, we will certainly form our marketing activities taking this event into account.SBC: Social media has been earmarked as a key component of World Cup promotion; is there a plan in place for 1xBet in this area?EK: Of course, yes. As you can see, 1xBet is very active in the online marketing area. We spend a huge amount of effort and money on promotion using all popular networks and sites. Unfortunately, the possibilities of SMM-promotion for bookmakers are very limited in comparison with other types of business. However, our company will use any opportunities in this area. Submit Premier League looks to broadcast every behind-closed-door fixture August 28, 2020 Share SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 Spotlight ups matchday commentary reach and capacity for new EPL Season August 21, 2020 Related Articles read more