Wing man: Alex Cuthbert combines size and skillFrench changeDespite the change in management, with the outgoing Marc Lievremont widely derided for his selection policy, the supposedly pragmatic Philippe Saint-Andre is still clearly searching for his magic formula. After casting Julien Dupuy aside after a shocker against England, he has parachuted the on-form Dimitri Yachvili back in a No. 9 and said thanks but no thanks to Lionel Nallet thus ending his 12-year international career. Who know’s whether Saint Andre’s tinkering will work? In fact it’s difficult not to roll out that well-worn cliché, ‘you never know which French team is going to turn up’ because it’s true, we simply do not know. What is unequivocal is that they do have the potential to deliver a Gallic masterclass and come away with a win. Amid the pre-match hype, that’s the fear Warren Gatland has to keep repeating to his players.VerdictPrevious games at the Millennium Stadium have been one-sided against the hosts, with France winning seven out of the last eight encounters, but I expect Wales to win, and win ‘relatively’ comfortably to set off a giant Grand Slam party and a fitting tribute to the incomparable Mervyn Davies. I’m going for 28-17.WALES v FRANCE, MILLENNIUM STADIUM, SATURDAY 17 MARCH, KICK-OFF 2.30pm LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The backrow battle will be led by Toby Falatau, seen in action against France during the World CupBy Owain Jones, Rugby World EditorRiding on emotionIf ‘revenge’ for the controversial semi-final loss to France in October wasn’t enough motivation for the Wales squad, Mervyn Davies’ sad passing will ensure the atmosphere in the Millennium Stadium is brimming with emotion. Warren Gatland’s task will be to temper any unnecessary rushes of blood to the head. Wales will need to show maturity for the entire 80 minutes and can ill afford to lose another player to a yellow card, let alone red, after Sam Warburton’s well-documented solitary march to the sidelines in Auckland. In fact, the old adage about using the ‘top two inches’ has never been more important.Prolific: France’s Wesley FofanaRainy daysA top-level sports event is not the same without some form of controversy attached to it. This week’s palaver is the old ‘roof-on or roof-off’ chestnut. Showers are threatening to rain on Wales’ parade, so when Philippe Saint-Andre said he wanted the roof open, Warren Gatland was unimpressed arguing the game would be less of an attractive spectacle with water on the deck. In terms of omens, Wales will cast their eyes nervously back to1988 when the side lost the chance to win the Grand Slam thanks to heavy rain at Cardiff Arms Park, losing in a forward-dominated encounter 10-9. The class of 2012 look unlikely to suffer the same fate. The Lions front-row of Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and Gethin Jenkins should be grizzly and gnarled enough to withstand the attentions of veteran props Jean-Baptiste Poux and David Attoub along with the retiring William Servat, while the battle of the backrow promises to be titanic, with Imanol Harinodoquy, Julien Bonnaire and Thierry Dusautoir looking to hand a salutary lesson to the ‘three amigos’ of Dan Lydiate, Toby Faletau and Sam Warburton. Expect seismic collisions.Clash of the titansMuch has been made of the size of Wales’ gargantuan backline, with some commentators pointing out that Wales are now showing more grunt than guile out wide. This is a little harsh on the likes of George North and Alex Cuthbert who have shown they are fine footballers, not just battering rams. Indeed, any side lacking Shane Williams and an on-form Gavin Henson would lose some subtlety and flair, but there’s no doubt the kids can play. As for the visitors, Philippe Saint-Andre has been forced to shift France’s outstanding back, Wesley Fofana, out onto the wing, due to Vincent Clerc’s injury, so he is banking on Florian Fritz and the statutesque Aurelien Rougerie to stand up to Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies in midfield. He will also be hoping Lionel Beauxis can display a creativity that has so far proved eluded him in his international career. AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – OCTOBER 15: Number eight Toby Faletau of Wales charges upfield during semi final one of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup between Wales and France at Eden Park on October 15, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) Wales : L Halfpenny, A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North, R Priestland, M Phillips; G Jenkins, M Rees, Adam Jones, AW Jones, I Evans, D Lydiate, S Warburton (c), T Faletau.Replacements: K Owens, P James, L Charteris, R Jones, L Williams, J Hook, S Williams.France : C Poitrenaud, W Fofana, A Rougerie, F Fritz, A Palisson, L Beauxis, D Yachvili; JP Poux, W Servat, D Attoub, P Pape, Y Maestri, T Dusautoir (c), J Bonnaire, I Harinordoquy.Replacements: D Szarzewski, V Debaty, J Pierre, L Picamoles, M Parra, F Trinh-Duc, JM Buttin.
54SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield The opportunities for credit union loan growth haven’t been this good for a very long time. According to the CUNA Mutual March 2017 Trends Report (January 2017 data), overall, credit union loan balances rose 0.9 percent in January (better than the 0.4-percent pace reported in January 2016) and 11.5 percent during the past 12 months. Credit union seasonally-adjusted annualized loan growth reached 12.8 percent in January of 2017 – the fastest pace since January of 2000.For many credit unions, loan growth opportunities are found in abundance among existing members and a record number of new credit union members. CUNA reported in its 2016 year-end report that membership in U.S. credit unions increased by 4.1 percent in 2016 overall. When compared to previous calendar year results, this is the fastest growth seen since 1986. U.S. credit unions now report 108.2 million members – a total which is equal to slightly more than a third (33.5 percent) of the country’s population.Growing credit union loan balances reflect an abundance of opportunity in the market today – is your team making the most of these opportunities and finding the optimum amount of success? For those of you looking to make more of these market opportunities (while they last), I offer the following thoughts.Be prepared, and take advance of peak credit card spend timeOverall, credit card spends increases from lows during the first quarter and then peaks annually during the fourth quarter. The chart below illustrates this trend back to 2014.Smart credit unions are preparing now to make the most of this strong opportunity in fourth-quarter 2017. Here are a few suggestions to help you capitalize on what will likely be a very strong year of credit-card activity.First, don’t rely on best guesses, or what you believe others are doing. Use trustworthy data that is relevant to your membership and target market. Trusted sources like Experian have created powerful card spend algorithms, built from credit data, to help credit unions find the best opportunities. This data can help your team:Target high-spending members with your very best offerAssign the credit limit your members need and wantAssign the right APR to make sure you maximize interest and interchange incomeRetain profitable cards and identify those members who provide new opportunityMy experience is that many credit unions miss the boat when it comes to capturing the larger credit-card opportunity. High-performing credit unions are using the best-trended data to have a better understanding of their members, and customizing the product features and offer. Successful card programs are built upon a lot more than a low rate and reward program. Smart credit-union marketers know which members are likely to be Rate Surfers, Balance Revolvers, Transactors, Consolidators, Non-active, or Seasonal users. Card experts know how to present the right card product to the right member at the right time.Why it mattersPortfolio expert and Director Jason Dietrich of Experian’s Global Consulting Practice reports that year-over-year growth for national banks in credit cards is at a higher clip than credit unions: 12 percent for national banks versus 9 percent for credit unions (balance growth). National banks are credit unions’ primary card competitor in the market. This identifies an opportunity to revisit the way credit unions approach their card portfolios, and to take steps to maintain and grow their card share versus national banks.When asked to identify one thing credit unions should be focused on when it comes to managing their card portfolio, Mr. Dietrich replied, “retention.” Good retention activity requires a view toward retaining both spend and balance, aligned toward the needs of individual members. It’s very important that on the balance retention side, credit unions stay in touch with members who are showing the need or desire to consolidate debt, or who have significant revolving balance elsewhere at rates higher than the credit union can offer. Getting an offer for a balance transfer to them in a timely manner is important for balance capture and retention. And for retaining spend, the foundation for effective retention comes from identifying which members use credit cards primarily for spend rather than to revolve. For these members, ensure that proactive steps are taken to make your card product the most attractive one for that purpose. Several tactics are proven effective in achieving these goals, but it all starts with proper and timely identification of member needs.Who knows what tomorrow’s loan-growth opportunities will be. Let’s each win as many of these opportunities as we can TODAY. Be assured that your toughest competitors are using the best data, analytics, and marketing strategies to beat YOU in the market. You can take that to the bank.You’re strongly encouraged to assess your credit-card portfolio strategies. Make sure you are using the very best tools to make the most of today’s opportunities while they exist. http://www.experian.com/consumer-information/consumer-spending-data.html Scott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: www.yourcupartner.org Details
The Foundry by Habitat Development GroupThe scaffolding is coming down and construction is nearing its end, with prospective renters invited to check out the finished product next month.The Foundry at Woolloongabba will be completed by the end of May, and only nine of the 88 one, two and three bedroom apartments remain on the market.A render of an apartment kitchen at The Foundry in WoolloongabbaMore from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus19 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market19 hours agoBrisbane-based Habitat Development Group is behind the project, which has seen strong interest from both owner-occupiers and investors. Sales and marketing manager Michael Schenk said potential renters would soon be able to walk through.A render of an apartment kitchen at The Foundry in Woolloongabba“We are having a renters’ open day May 12 … we have done a few on the Sunshine Coast but I don’t know of anyone who does it in Brisbane on this level,” he said.Inner Brisbane residential vacancy levels fell from 4 per cent to 3.5 per cent in the March quarter, according to the latest REIQ report.The report found the inner ring (0-5km radius) tightened and returned from the weak range to a healthy 3.5 per cent, reflecting “good rental options for tenants, and good opportunity for landlords to secure good tenants”.“It’s gratifying to see that all areas of the Brisbane rental market are operating in the healthy range,” REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella a said. “The data shows a resilient market capable of absorbing the perceived oversupply.”The Foundry is being built on a site that was held by the same family for over 50 years. It had been home to light industry and mechanic workshops. Woollongabba as a whole is undergoing a revitalisation, with infrastructure upgrades and new residential and retail developments including South City Square and Boggo Road Village. A number of other development approvals are before council.Ray White Stones Corner agent Nick Papi-Morini said the lower body corporate rates and the large size of the two bedroom apartments at The Foundry were key selling points.
(REUTERS) – England all-rounder Ben Stokes followed his bowling masterclass against West Indies with a half-century and Stuart Broad blazed away for a vital 38 as the hosts took a 71-run first-innings lead on the second day of the third Test at Lord’s yesterday.Resuming on 46 for four in reply to the tourists’ 123, England were bowled out for 194 and were again indebted to Stokes who struck 10 boundaries in a fluent innings before being bowled out by Shannon Gabriel.On a chaotic opening day, Stokes took a career-best six for 22 with a devastating spell of swing bowling as West Indies lost their last eight wickets for 45 runs.West Indies stayed in contention to claim a first series victory in England for 29 years, however, as paceman Kemar Roach finished with five for 72, although they may come to rue allowing England to stretch their lead.Rain meant only four overs were bowled before lunch with Roach having Dawid Malan caught behind for 20 to leave England on 63 for five, still 60 in arrears.Two balls after a rain-extended lunchbreak Stokes was dropped on 24 and went on to reach his 12th Test half-century in 51 balls with 10 boundaries.With Stokes scoring freely and England edging ahead of West Indies’ feeble first-innings score it looked ominous for the visitors. But they hit back in style.CARBON COPYShannon Gabriel looked crestfallen after bowling Stokes with an inswinger only to be no-balled for over-stepping, but two balls later he broke Stokes’ stumps with a carbon copy ball and this time there was no reprieve for England’s vice-captain.Stokes had earlier shared in a 56-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow who fell lbw to the impressive Roach for 21.With the game tantalisingly poised, Moeen Ali was the next to fall for three, as he edged Roach to Kyle Hope who made up for his earlier drop of Stokes with a head-high catch in the slips.England were 11 runs ahead with two wickets in hand and put on 60 for the last two wickets. Stuart Broad scored 29 with Toby Roland-Jones before his entertaining last-wicket partnership with James Anderson saw him swipe two sixes.Broad was eventually caught behind off the last ball before tea leaving Anderson, who needed one wicket to reach 500 in Tests, unbeaten on eight.The series is locked at 1-1 after West Indies hit back from a first-Test drubbing at Edgbaston to win a thrilling match at Headingley, their first Test win in England for 17 years.SCORECARDWEST INDIES 1st innings 123ENGLAND 1st innings (o/n 46 for four)A. Cook c wkp. Dowrich b Roach 10M. Stoneman c wkp. Dowrich b Roach 1T. Westley lbw b Holder 8J. Root c Powell b Holder 1D. Malan c wkp. Dowrich b Roach 20B. Stokes b Gabriel 60J. Bairstow lbw b Roach 21M. Ali c K Hope b Roach 3T. Roland-Jones c S. Hope b Holder 13S. Broad c wkp. Dowrich b Holder 38J. Anderson not out 8Extras: (lb-4, nb-7) 11Total: (all out, 52.5 overs) 194Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-15, 3-19, 4-24, 5-63, 6-119, 7-128, 8-134, 9-163.Bowling: Roach 24-8-72-5, Gabriel 15-1-64-1, Holder 13.5-1-54-4.WEST INDIES 2nd inningsK. Brathwaite b Anderson 4K. Powell b Anderson 45K. Hope lbw b Broad 1S. Hope not out 35R. Chase not out 3Extras: (lb-5) 5Total: (3 wkts, 31 overs) 93Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-21, 3-69.Bowling: Anderson 9-2-17-2, Broad 8-2-25-1, Roland-Jones 6-2-17-0, Stokes 8-2-29-0.Position: West Indies lead by 22 runs with seven second innings intact.Toss: West Indies.
NEON DEION—Deion Sanders poses with a bust of himself during the induction ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Aug. 6, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo-Tony Dejak) by Barry WilnerAP Pro Football Writer CANTON, Ohio (AP)—Prime Time has come to Canton—with an extra touch of gold. And a black do-rag.Deion Sanders strutted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night sporting a pair of gold shoes to go with the gold jacket emblematic of the special company he has become a part of. At the end of his riveting acceptance speech, he placed his ubiquitous do-rag on his hall bust.Neon Deion indeed.“This game,” Sanders repeated dozens of times, “this game taught me how to be a man. This game taught me if I get knocked down, I got to get my butt back up.“I always had a rule in life that I would never love anything that couldn’t love me back. It taught me how to be a man, how to get up, how to live in pain. Taught me so much about people, timing, focus, dedication, submitting oneself, sacrificing.“If your dream ain’t bigger than you, there’s a problem with your dream.”Sanders joined Marshall Faulk in entering the hall in their first year of eligibility. Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter and Ed Sabol also were enshrined before an enthusiastic crowd of 13,300—much lower than the usual turnout. With Sunday’s Hall of Fame game a victim of the 4½-month NFL lockout, Fawcett Stadium was half full.Not that Sanders needs a big audience.The dynamic cornerback and kick returner ran off a list of people who influenced him as smoothly as he ran past opponents, whether running back kicks or interceptions—or even catching passes when he appeared as a wide receiver, or dashing around the bases in the major leagues, including one World Series appearance.He spoke of promising his mother she could stop working in a hospital when he became a success, and of how he created the Prime Time image at Florida State—then turned it into a persona.A Hall of Fame persona.“What separates us is that we expect to be great,” he said. “I expect to be great, I expect to do what had to be done. I expect to make change.”Just as Sharpe expected to change his life as a kid who went to college with two brown grocery bags filled with his belongings.When Sharpe headed to Savannah State, all he heard was how he was destined to fail.“When people told me I’d never make it, I listened to the one person who said I could: me,” Sharpe said.Failure? Sharpe went from a seventh-round draft pick to the most prolific tight end of his time. He won two Super Bowls with Denver and one with Baltimore, and at the time of his retirement in 2003, his 815 career receptions, 10,060 yards and 62 TDs were all NFL records for a tight end. Three times he went over 1,000 yards receiving in a season—almost unheard of for that position. In a 1993 playoff game, Sharpe had 13 catches against Oakland, tying a record.Sharpe patted his bust on the head Saturday before saying, “All these years later, it makes me proud when people call me a self-made man.”In a captivating acceptance speech, Sharpe passionately made a pitch to get his brother, Sterling, who played seven years with the Packers, considered for election to the shrine. Sterling, who introduced his younger brother for induction, wept as Shannon praised him.“I am the only player who has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and am the second-best player in my family,” Sharpe said.“I am so honored. You don’t know what this means for me. This is the fraternity of all fraternities.”Faulk was the running back of running backs for much of his 12-season career.As versatile and dangerous a backfield threat as the NFL has seen, Faulk was voted the NFL’s top offensive player in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and was the NFL’s MVP in 2000. He was the league’s scoring leader in 2000 and ’01, made seven Pro Bowls, and was the first player to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage in four consecutive years.The second overall draft pick in 1994, when Faulk was offensive rookie of the year, he played five seasons in Indianapolis, then his final seven for St. Louis, helping the Rams to their only Super Bowl victory in 1999.Through tears, Faulk said, “Boy this is pretty special. … I am glad to be a part of it. This is football heaven.“I am a football fan just like all of you,” Faulk told the crowd. “I have always, always been a fan and had an abiding passion and love and respect for this game of football, even when I was a kid selling popcorn in the Superdome because I couldn’t afford a ticket.“It’s tough going from the projects to the penthouse.”Dent was a dynamic pass rusher on one of the NFL’s greatest defenses, the 1985 NFL champions. He was the MVP of that Super Bowl and finished with 137½ career sacks, third all-time when he left the sport.He epitomized the Monsters of the Midway: fast, fierce and intimidating.“Richard was like a guided missile,” Joe Gilliam, Dent’s college coach, said during his introduction.“You must dream and you must be dedicated to something in your life,” added Dent, who asked everyone in the audience to rise in applause for the legendary Gilliam, then thanked dozens of people, including many from the ’85 Bears who also were in the stadium. He saved his highest praise for the late Walter Payton.“When you have dreams, it is very tough to say you can do everything by yourself,” Dent said. “It’s all about other people.”