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FARMERS BRANCH, Texas – As firsts go, last month’s 12-League-sponsored live interactive Webcast on “Understanding Federal Account Insurance” lacked as much in hassle, drama and distraction as it offered in information. Consensus is that it left an inordinate amount of time for training, and provided very little of the traditional conference travel edge and expense-those smells of burned hotel coffee permeating the training room and stale cigarette smoke wafting from public bathroom stalls, the agony of cramming into shoes two sizes too small to match that travel suit, the heartbreak of forgetting to pack whatever piece of clothing or cosmetic that was imminently unforgettable, and the dual thrill and tragedy of transporting luggage, comparable to the act of throwing an overnight bag filled with irreplaceable personal items and family heirlooms onto the nearest freeway. The high-tech trend in conference training crested for 177 registered credit unions in 12 states Tuesday, May 22-a Webcast sponsored by the Southeast Regional Leagues of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, and joined by Texas and Florida. Participants gave up all that “getting there” bother, to sit in the calm respite in front of their very own computer screens in their very own offices in, yes, their very own chairs. With printed guide notes, a quiz to complete as the seminar dialogue provided answers, and a lecture by popular national financial institution operational and compliance speaker Tyler F. Parker, conference attendees had a better chance to focus their attention on the material during the three-hour training. They were able to ask questions via desktop chatroom or e-mail. With a blanket fee per credit union covering an open number of employees able to view the Webcast on broadcast day and any number of times within the following 30 days, credit unions were spared the gouge of travel and lodging expenditures and the productivity loss from travel, preparation and re-entry. “The May Webcast was so successful, we are planning another one this fall and anticipate offering quarterly Webcast training conferences and expanding the participation base,” said Dan Denning, Vice President of Education with the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, and coordinator of the Webcast training. Denning estimates the Webcast had 1,200 hits overall from 300 main offices and branches on broadcast day. “By the end of the 30-day viewing period, we expect that four times as many individuals will have watched the archived training,” he says. His initial reports cite Texas with the highest number of credit unions registered-50. Louisiana had 23; Tennessee, 20; Virginia, 16; North Carolina 15; Georgia and Arizona each had 13. Mississippi had 8; Alabama, 7; Kentucky, 6; Florida, 4; and South Carolina, 2. Janine McBee, Texas Credit Union League’s Senior Training Director reported preliminary feedback from the 50 Texas credit unions participating. “Pervasively, the participating Texas credit unions appreciated this training being in their backyard, the easy access, and the number of people who could take advantage at a minimal cost,” she said. “Any time we can get the right education to the right place for the right people when they need it, we are excited.” Texas has logged so far “a good 93 % of our feedback confirming interest in future Webcasts like this one,” according to McBee. Each Texas credit union averaged from three to five people sitting in on the training. El Paso had 30 people sitting in, she reported. Each Texas credit union anticipated any number from one to 25, with an average of seven persons who would be accessing the Webcast within the archived 30 days. Each sponsoring credit union was asked to make a financial commitment to help offset expenses for the Webcast. Texas credit unions paid $199 each. Each league set its own registration fee based on what it needed to pay for the broadcast. All states had unlimited participation open to their credit unions. Each credit union’s web site was set up as a portal for the webcast. Denning said the joint cooperation allowed use of a “professional production studio and the expertise of a third-party vendor to produce the Webcast at a fair price with the open-ended participation by the credit unions.” “We discussed the concept of this at a Southeast Regional conference last fall,” Denning said. “Texas and Arizona had expressed an interest. We were aware that Credit Union Village had sponsored a Webcast and had another one coming up. After a December demonstration of a Webcast conference by Internet Broadcast Television Network (IBTV), we signed them on for the May 22 Webcast.” Denning will receive a detailed report next month from IBTV including evaluations sent in by sponsoring credit unions and viewing participants. The report information will be incorporated in to the planning for the fall Webcast, he said. -

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