A survey of credit union executives reveals that auto loans will be their top priority in 2015. Apple Pay is also on their radar.By a two-to-one margin, credit union executives say that auto loans (46%) are their top growth opportunity over the next 12 months. Nearly 84% of those participating in an October 2014 survey from TransUnion ranked auto loans as one of their top three areas for growth. The next highest product: mortgage loans (22%).TransUnion hypothesizes that credit unions are gravitating towards auto loans because of the continued low delinquency rates and high demand for both new and used cars. It’s probably also safe to assume that as the overall lending environment improves, consumers will be more likely to seek credit at more modest levels (e.g., auto loans and credit cards vs. high-value products like home loans and small business loans).“While auto loan performance in the last few years has been strong across the board, it is clear that credit union executives value these loans going forward over other growth areas such as mortgages, credit cards and home equity lines of credit,” says Ezra Becker, VP/Research and Consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “Over the longer term, we anticipate greater focus on mortgage and HELOC growth as home values continue their upswing, but for now the auto loan is king.” continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Nonresidential construction spending fell for a second consecutive month in August, according to analysis of U.S. Census Bureau released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).Nonresidential spending totaled $686.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis for the month, 1.1 percent lower than July’s total of $694.1 billion (revised down from $701 billion) and 1.3 percent below August 2015’s figure.Private nonresidential construction spending fell just 0.4 percent for the month, while its public sector counterpart shrank 2 percent. Four of the five largest nonresidential subsectors—power, highway and street, commercial and manufacturing—combined to fall 2.2 percent on a monthly basis.“Stakeholders in the nation’s nonresidential construction industry have become accustomed to seeing weak spending data. However, today’s report represents a bit of a departure from previous reports,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While previous weak spending reports can almost completely be explained by diminished public construction spending, today’s report also revealed emerging weakness in private spending.“There are some noteworthy exceptions,” said Basu. “Office-related construction spending continued to surge higher, rising 2 percent for the month and up a whopping 24 percent on a year-over-year basis. Construction spending related to lodging rose 1.2 percent on a monthly basis and is nearly 16 percent higher than the year-ago level. Foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate heavily influences these two segments, which has helped produce both higher asset prices and more construction.“Given the passage of a federal highway bill last year, one might have expected spending growth in the highway/street and transportation categories,” said Basu. “Those expectations have been unmet thus far. Transportation-related construction spending dipped by more than 6 percent in August and by more than 11 percent on a year-over-year basis. Highway and street spending is down by more than 8 percent on a year-ago basis, and was down nearly 3 percent for the month.“There are a number of theories at work, including the 2016 election cycle, which has led to some decision-makers putting projects on hold,” said Basu. “Government spending generally remains weak, and there are some indications that private lending standards are tightening due to a combination of growing concern among financial industry regulators and bankers that real estate bubbles are forming again in certain communities and segments.”
Share on Facebook Email Pinterest Share LinkedIn People are intuitive physicists, knowing from birth how objects under the influence of gravity are likely to fall, topple or roll. In a new study, scientists have found the brain cells apparently responsible for this innate wisdom.In a part of the brain responsible for recognizing color, texture and shape, Johns Hopkins University researchers found neurons that used large-scale environmental cues to infer the direction of gravity. The findings, forthcoming this month in the journal Current Biology, and just posted online, suggest these cells help humans orient themselves and predict how objects will behave.“Gravity is a strong ubiquitous force in our world,” said senior author Charles E. Connor, a professor of neuroscience and director of the university’s Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute. “Our results show how the direction of gravity can be derived from visual cues, providing critical information about object physics as well as additional cues for maintaining posture and balance.” Share on Twitter Connor, along with lead author Siavash Vaziri, a former Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellow, studied individual cells in the object area of the rhesus monkey brain, a remarkably close model for the organization and function of human vision. They measured responses of each cell to about 500 abstract three-dimensional shapes presented on a computer monitor. The shapes ranged from small objects to large landscapes and interiors.They found that a given cell would respond to many different stimuli, especially large planes and sharp, extended edges. What tied these stimuli together was their alignment in the same tilted rectilinear reference frame. These cells, sensitive to different tilts, could provide a continuous signal for the direction of gravity, even as a person constantly moves.These images used in the study provoked some of the strongest response from neurons that help the rhesus monkeys subjects understand the direction of gravity.In other words, Connor said, these neurons could help people understand which way is up.“The world does not appear to rotate when the head tilts left or right or gaze tilts up or down, even though the visual image changes dramatically,” he said. “That perceptual stability must depend on signals like these that provide a constant sense of how the visual environment is oriented.”The researchers’ initial discovery of cells sensitive to large-scale shape, reported in Neuron in 2014, was surprising because they found them in a brain region long regarded as dedicated exclusively to object vision. The new findings make sense of this anatomical juxtaposition, since knowing the gravitational reference frame is critical for predicting how objects will behave.“When we dive after a ball in tennis, the whole visual world tilts, but we maintain our sense of how the ball will fall and how to aim our next shot,” Connor said. “The visual cortex generates an incredibly rich understanding of object structure, materials, strength, elasticity, balance, and movement potential. These are the things that make us such expert intuitive physicists.”
Written comments on the scope of the SWEIS and comments or questions on the scoping process should be sent by Sept. 21 to:Email: LLNLSWEIS@nnsa.doe.gov (preferred) and use the subject line: Draft LLNL SWEIS.U.S. mail:Ms. Fana Gebeyehu-Houston, NEPA Document ManagerNational Nuclear Security AdministrationLivermore Field Office7000 East Avenue, L-293Livermore, CA 94550 Audio: A phone will allow participants to hear the presentation but not see it:Call +1.408.418.9388Enter the Conference ID: 132 816 4460 # NNSA News:LIVERMORE, Calif. — The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) will hold a virtual public scoping meeting for a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Continued Operation of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL SWEIS). The meeting 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2. Pacific Time. Participants can join by computer, telephone or other device.The LLNL SWEIS will analyze the potential environmental impacts of the reasonable alternatives for continuing LLNL operations for approximately the next 15 years. The continued operation of LLNL is critical to NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program, preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons worldwide, and many other areas that may impact national security and global stability.The goal of the virtual public scoping meeting is to invite public participation in the process and to encourage public involvement on the scope and alternatives that should be considered. The publication of the Notice of Intent in the Federal Register Aug. 5 began a 45-day public scoping comment period. NNSA will accept comments from all interested agencies (federal, state, and local), public interest groups, Native American tribes, businesses, and members of the public to assist in identifying environmental issues and determining the appropriate scope of the LLNL SWEIS. The comment period ends Sept. 21. NNSA will then prepare a Draft SWEIS and allow further public comment on that document before preparing a Final SWEIS and Record of Decision.In light of recent public health concerns, NNSA will be hosting an internet-based public scoping meeting in place of in-person meetings. The online public scoping meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 2. The information and details on how to participate in the public scoping meeting and submit comments will be posted on the NNSA National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reading Room web page and will also be published in local newspapers at least 15 days prior to the meeting. Any necessary changes will be announced in the local media.Those interested in participating can do so in two ways, both of which will provide opportunities to register to make a public comment:Video: A computer or a device like a smartphone will allow participants to both see and hear the presentation. They may wish to test the connection prior to the event to ensure best results.For computer users, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox gives the best results.Users of other devices will likely need to download the free Webex Meet app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.Go to the link for the virtual public meeting.
firstname.lastname@example.org@hamptondaze Share On Friday, I ventured out to Montauk to visit Coffee + Flowers, a stand that serves — you guessed it — coffee and flowers. Located on the side of Cynthia Rowley, this adorable stop is perfect for a cup of joe and a fresh bouquet.Claire Chan, owner of The Elk and Bar Beau in Brooklyn, has partnered with Kelsie Hayes, founder of Popup Florist, and Cynthia Rowley to open the location.Enjoy coffee as well as a selection of plants, local flowers, and dried flowers sourced from local farms, as well as local pastries, snacks, lifestyle items, and other beach essentials.Lizzie Gill. Photo by Wil WeissAfter a coffee fix, we headed over to the Montauk Beach House for an early dinner (look for my dining write-up in the coming weeks). Following dinner, we stayed for Roman Fine Art’s pop-up exhibit “Summer Solstice,” with work by artist Lizzie Gill. The show is retro-yet-futuristic and exhibits the artist’s mixed-media pieces, created with vintage-style imagery. You can see photos on our website from the opening and visit the show through July 1.Independent/Jan MackinOn Saturday, June 22, The Independent hosted a book signing and presentation at Southampton Inn for Rachel Nuwer’s book “Poached,” as part of our IndyLit series. Nuwer, a journalist for The New York Times and National Geographic, among others, has visited 72 countries to learn about illegal poaching of animals. An informative discussion on the topic was led by The Independent’s managing editor Bridget LeRoy. Southampton Books was also on hand for the book signing that followed.The opening party for Holiday House Hamptons was held on Saturday, June 22. The house, located at 90 Wild Goose Lane in Water Mill, boasts nine bedrooms, a free-floating staircase, cathedral ceilings, and an oversized eat-in kitchen, all within 12,500 square feet.Hosted by interior designer and breast cancer survivor Iris Dankner, the designer showhouse features over 20 top interior designers. The house is open to the public through August 4 and proceeds from ticket sales benefit BCRF, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.On Sunday, I stopped by the opening of Hamptons Standard in Hampton Bays, brought to you by the team behind Centro Trattoria & Bar. The new market/restaurant/bar/coffee shop is located in the previous Friendly’s location, and it’s beautiful. The restaurant offers a variety of snacks, salads, flatbreads, and entrees. Being the part-time Hampton Bays resident that I am, I can’t even describe you how excited I am to have a year-round coffee spot that lives up to this coffee snob’s expectations. (I usually drive to Southampton to go to Golden Pear, Hampton Coffee, or Sant Ambroeus.) For Five Coffee Roasters, which also has locations in Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles, Manhasset, and Astoria has opened within Hamptons Standard for all of your espresso and cappuccino needs. And yes, they have oat milk — I checked!
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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that it has executed an agreement to use up to 2.4 million cubic yards of sand from the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to restore nearly 14 miles of shoreline for Brevard County, Fla. damaged by Hurricane Sandy.The restoration work will take place along two separate stretches of the county’s coast – the northern section covering 9.8 miles from the City of Cape Canaveral to Cocoa Beach (North Reach); the southern section covering 3.8 miles from Melbourne Beach to Indialantic (South Reach). Dredging is expected to begin in October 2013, with the sediment coming from a borrow site at Canaveral Shoals II in federal waters.“BOEM understands the tremendous impact that storms such as Hurricane Sandy have upon both the ecology and coastal communities,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “As we move ahead with coastal restoration projects related to Hurricane Sandy, our Marine Minerals Program is forging stronger partnerships with federal, state and local agencies not only to restore but also to improve the resiliency of these areas,” Beaudreau said.Under BOEM’s agreement with Brevard County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the beach nourishment project will provide storm damage protection to structures that would otherwise be threatened by chronic shoreline retreat and storm-induced erosion. The project will also maintain an area suitable for recreation and wildlife habitat in developed beach areas. This project will restore important sea turtle nesting habitat. In 2012 sea turtle nesting surveys counted a total of 3,104 loggerhead turtle nests, or 477 per half-mile in the South Reach project area. Green and leatherback sea turtles also utilize these beaches for nesting habitat.BOEM manages non-energy minerals obtained from the OCS, including sand, gravel and shell resources for coastal restoration and protection, in addition to overseeing and regulating conventional and renewable energy development on the OCS. BOEM has the authority to convey, on a noncompetitive basis, the rights to these resources for shore, beach or wetland restoration projects, or for use in construction projects funded in whole or part, or authorized by the federal government. In exercising this authority, BOEM may issue a negotiated non-competitive lease agreement for the use of OCS sand to a qualifying entity.The bureau has spent more than $30 million since 1992 on world-class scientific research that informs environmental assessment and leasing decisions concerning the use of OCS sand resources in beach nourishment and coastal restoration.[mappress]Press Release, July 28, 2013
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Through the new company set-up, Martin Bencher International Transport (Shanghai) Ltd. is now able to invoice customers in China in the local currency Renminbi (RMB). “An increasing number of our regular customers have requested that we must receive payment in RMB in China and we can now meet their requirements,” said Peter Thorsoe Jensen, CEO of Martin Bencher Group. “With this strategic change we can also offer our services to Chinese companies who are unable to pay outside China – and most importantly, this is a further step forward for our domestic transport services in China, our fastest growing business area.”