Far West Capital November 2011 Newsletter

Thank you for all of your support for the 2011 Beretta USA No Worries Classic! You helped us raise over $400,000 for Wonders & Worries, and over $33,000 to reach our personal goal. Our team won top fundraising team. We appreciate all your support, and thank you sincerely for helping us raise money for Central Texas families! 



You won’t believe how much money the federal government’s financial regulators are paid. They make hundreds of thousands of dollars, they can’t be fired, and they’re on a gold-plated health and retirement plan. What’s wrong with this picture? Take a look at the full details here.



In just about every organization, one of the key priorities is “customer service,” and of course at Far West Capital, this is also paramount to our success. The question is, if it is so important to your success, how do you manage, measure, implement an accountability system for accomplishing this key priority in your business?


We believe accountability and transparency is the key to accomplishing this, we use a cloud based “CRM” system documenting everyone’s responsibilities as it relates to client satisfaction and we have a specific weekly meeting attended by top management of the company to ensure that we are all doing what we said we would.  We been working with this system for 12 years, and if you would like more information on how we have done this, give us a call.



Austin’s top 10 water users in 2010 were named a few months ago. All 10 on the list used 13 times to 17 times the water of the average Austin household. Notable names on the list include Linda and Congressman Mike McCaul (pictured below) and Cedric Benson, former Longhorn running back and current running back for the Cincinnati Bengals. Other names on the list include: Robert W. and Betty Girling of Girling Health Care Inc.; Doug Maund, owner and CEO of Charles Maund Automotive Group, and Robert S. Ellis, president at Gray and Becker Construction Co.



The Treasury Dept. seems to think that Dodd-Frank is a positive for small banks. That’s nuts. As this article mentions, small banks will be required to carry out almost 4,000 pages of new rules, causing large inconveniences for the banks, major obstacles for small businesses, and negative consequences for the economy in general.



It’s that time of year again – BUDGET. Before you dive right into next year’s numbers (or details), we suggest that you review your “ALL 22” film. The NFL Films crew reviews every play from many angles. The camera that captures the entire field at one time is the most valuable tool for coaches and analysts. Students of the game know that when you can see then entire field, you spot – BAD STRATEGY – BAD COACHING  – BAD PLAYERS.  Our point is this – take some quality time with your TEAM and analyze your performance this year from a “wide angle.” Many times the obvious can only be seen either after the fact or when you allow yourself to see the entire field.



Speaking of looking at the entire field – how about MF GLOBAL? Obviously we don’t or won’t know the full story here for some time. However, it does appear that the CEO John Corzine “bet the farm” because he was the smartest guy in the room. It appears he was cautioned by his team – but failed to heed the advice. Guess we need more legislation now… Dodd – Frank II.



Surf’s Up! Congratulations to Garrett McNamara, an American self-proclaimed extreme surfer, who broke the world record for the “Largest Wave Surfed” by conquering a 90-foot behemoth. To put it in perspective, an NBA/NCAA regulation basketball court is 94 feet long. 90 feet is also equivalent to a 10-story building.

The previous world record was set by Mike Parsons in 2008 for surfing a paltry 77-foot wave.

Garrett McNamara is a citizen of the world. He walks the land as an ordinary man, but what he does in the ocean is anything but ordinary.




In a recent research study, 872 millennials aged 18-34 (Gen Y) were surveyed and researchers found 54 percent either want to start a business or had already started one. In another survey comparing Gen Y and baby boomer entrepreneurs, fifty-nine percent of Gen Y company owners described themselves as serial entrepreneurs, compared to just 33 percent of baby boomers. There’s no doubt Gen Y loves entrepreneurship. With successful examples such as Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook), Pete Cashmore (Mashable), and Aaron Patzer (Mint.com), Gen Yers are eager to try their hand at entrepreneurship, but surveys are showing they will need all the help they can get. The economy, banks’ slow acceptance of more risks and the changing aid from government are obstacles private entities like Young Entrepreneur Council’s Gen Y Fund, Venture for America and Peter Thiel’s “20 Under 20” Fund are hoping to help young entrepreneurs overcome. It’ll be interesting to see the results from these organizations and how Gen Y can impact the economy through entrepreneurship.



The 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday is coming next week on November 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The day is dedicated to supporting your local small businesses to help fuel the economy. Small businesses are encouraged to create promotional materials and rally customers to participate. This day is the perfect opportunity to support small businesses by doing some holiday shopping at locally owned boutiques and gift stores and eating out at your favorite locally owned restaurants. For more information, check out http://smallbusinesssaturday.com/.



Although Bank of America scrapped their plan to charge a $5 debit card usage fee, and Chase and Wells Fargo have done the same, it’s not quite time to celebrate. The government still runs the show and the banks need to find a way to make up for it, and the next time around, they will probably be subtle about it. Watch out for sneaky fees such as higher minimum balance requirements for accounts, higher excessive withdrawl fees, higher overdraft fees, etc.



Isn’t it weird that nowadays we are all sitting around wondering about the fate of the Euro-elite, such as Silvio Berlusconi, and how that affects our stock market? This guy makes our politicians look very tame. He could never survive in the USA and tales of this guy’s womanizing are legendary. Here are some of his connections:

Too much government debt, overspending and lack of agreement on how to address the problem (sounds like our super committee) are going to force the Euros to deal with the problems. Everyone is looking to Germany to lead the way because their government has the most discipline and leadership. They cut corporate taxes a few years back and are exporting their expertise. We seem to be on the opposite track here. Most likely, it will take a crisis or the threat of one to force us to get our stuff together.

It took an impending crisis to get the Italians to throw out Berlusconi, although the markets took that as good news, the sovereign debt crisis is far from over:

  • Greece – the ultimate haircut on debt could be up to 90% – whether they go to drachma or stay in the euro, they are facing hard times
  • Ireland – facing an overwhelming bank debt burden that will have to be addressed
  • Italy – too big to save – debt to GDP is 120% and growing
  • Portugal – needs a 40% write off of its debts

Basically there are no easy answers for Europe. They have simply borrowed too much and now have to face the music. There’s no question it will have consequences in the USA. Hopefully we see the pain and have the sense to avoid the same problems, but as we have seen, lessons usually have to be learned the hard way.



Adding this to the list of grievances, President Barack Obama showed politics is more important than job creation and U.S. energy independence by delaying the Keystone XL oil pipeline decision. After the protests of radical environmentalists and Hollywood celebrity activists, the construction of the $7 billion pipeline that would bring in more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf coast and put 14 million unemployed Americas back to work was put off until after the 2012 election. This is especially frustrating because the administration has found the pipeline would pose few environmental risks and the other option would be to import more oil by tankers, which are less efficient and less environmentally friendly due to the necessary processes.



We have a quick solution for the housing crisis: incent the banks to open up the vault. We continue to hear from our bank and mortgage collogues that underwriting and availability of credit is still tight. The credit pendulum has swung from too easy to too tight. This is a great time for banks to get aggressive and capture market share and earning assets.  As a young bank examiner (1981), I remember seeing a loan policy that stated “When real estate is hot, we need to be conservative. When the market is slow, we can be aggressive.” The bank was Snyder NB and the CEO was Roger B. Mize. Mr. Mize (who died in 1987) would try and figure out how to make some money out of all this confusion in the market.



Roger B. Mize was a colorful guy. As a banker friend likes to say “he cut a wide path.” The last time I was in his bank as an examiner, his secretary brought him an American Express advertising piece for customers to order a 1981 gold Delorean (Remember Back to the Future?).  She thought he should order one for his grandson who was 7 or so at the time. In typical Mize style, he told her, “okay order one.” Unfortunately, AE misjudged the market and only sold 7. AE tried to back out of the deal, but Mr. Mize told them he wanted his “damn gold Delorean.”  After several months he finally got his Delorean. It was delivered to the bank and put on display in the lobby. (AE ended up only delivering 3.) Evidently, the grandson never got to drive the car. It was donated to a museum in 2003.

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