Thursday, September 25, 2008

Technology enhanced design : Bank of America ATM on Michigan Ave

I was in Chicago last week, visiting friends and family. It had been awhile since I had been back, great to see the folks, my brother and his family, and some close friends.

My wife had been to Chicago before, but somewhat briefly. So we spent a lot of time going to museums, a play at the Chicago Shakespeare theater (great venue!), the Hancock, some restaurants... and of course, some shopping on Chicago's famed Michigan Ave.

I had two very small checks in my wallet that I hadn't deposited for a couple weeks. We stopped into a Bank of America to withdraw some money and there was an ATM in there that was really impressive from a user experience perspective. It looked like most ATM's, but no need for envelopes to place your checks into. I took out the dog-eared and worn checks from my wallet, and slid one in on the prompt. Immediately a display of the check was on the screen, along with the Optical Character Recognition of the value of the check: $27.88. I confirmed the deposit amount via the touchscreen, and then deposited the second check. Once again, perfect. After depositing, the receipt that was disbursed also contained images of the checks as they had been scanned, along with the total deposit amount.

If you are in Chicago, near the Bank of America on Michigan Ave, give that ATM a try. :) Often times I find some implementations of technology to be cumbersome, or not yet mature enough to actually aid us -- whether it be the speed, the edge case errors, etc. But in this case, I hope to see these ATM's utilized throughout the country, as the user experience as enhanced by technology was an A+.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Syrin and Mudd ... are rewarded for this??

...thankful, in one respect, I don't own more than a marginal amount of Fannie/Freddie stock in the mutual funds...

...but boy, it sure worked out for Syrin and Mudd who will each exit with ~$15+ million each. We, the taxpayers, ultimately are paying that bill of course. ..$14 BILLION in losses the last 4 quarters... and it's far from over, as Paulson commits $200B from the Federal coffers to assuage the country's fears.

"As early as 2005, Fannie executives publicly expressed concerns about growing risks in the mortgage market In May of that year, Thomas Lund, a Fannie Mae executive vp, said that lenders should be concerned if borrowers straining to afford homes were given loans allowing for low payments in the early years but storing up much higher ones for later"

"$5 trillion of debt and mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie and Freddie is owned by central banks and other investors world-wide."

While I mind chipping in to pick up the $200B with my N% in taxes, obviously we have no choice ... what I really mind, is these two "leaders" walking out of this with $15M cash after steering the ship into a glacial iceberg. Absolutely insulting, money out of our pocket, while the guilty gets rewarded with a golden parachute of 7 figures.

Where have all the leaders gone??