Who says banks aren’t lending?

Here’s a picture of the three envelopes I received in the mail from PNC yesterday:

PNC's pick an envelope campaign
PNC's pick an envelope campaign

If you can’t tell from the small picture, one envelope says I qualify for an introductory APR of 0.99%, another says 1.99%, and a third was blank on the cover, but opening it revealed a surprise – only 4.99%!

Last week PNC called me to see if I was interested in a home equity line of credit.  Well, I might have been, you know, if I actually owned a home!

I’m not sure if this is poor customer data management or just a bank that is trying to show congress that it’s eager to lend.

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Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit on Charlie Rose last night

Journalist and TV talk show host Charlie Rose ...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I posted about how the current financial crisis was an opportunity to learn about how the global financial markets function. Another great resource for digging deeper is Charlie Rose‘s show on PBS. Last night he had Citibank CEO Vikram Pandit on for the hour.  As one would expect from a CEO of a major financial institution, Pandit doesn’t offer much of a mea culpa, however he does offer some insight into the causes of the current crisis.  Pandit arrived at Citi a about a year ago, and began to deal with a mess that had been created when Citi merged with the Travelers Group.  It’s an excellent interview:

SAJAforum has a full transcript of the interview.

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Indian Navy responds to piracy in the Gulf of Aden

[Off Topic Post]


Image of the INS Tabar, which
sank a Somali Pirate ship (via Wikipedia )

Back in June, I wrote a post on how the Indian Navy was finally being recognized, both inside and outside India, as a needed force for stability on the dangerous trade routes that connect Asia to the rest of the world.  Recent joint exercises with regional powers, and the United States Navy, have reinforced the enforcement capabilities along the high seas of Southeast Asia.  Successful cooperation in this region is due to a growing alignment of regional powers, most of which share common economic interests.  The same cannot be said, however, for India’s western flank.  Patrolling the vast Arabian Sea is a challenge, as many of the bordering nations have conflicts, and others are marginal nation-states with limited (if any) ability to provide any sort of security.  As a result, pirates have become more brazen in their assaults on trade ships.  Earlier this week, for example, a Saudi flagged oil supertanker ship was overrun by Somali Pirates.  Also, there is a fundamental difference in the nature of piracy in the Arabian Sea, when compared to similar activity in SE Asia.  In SE Asia pirates act with little coordination, and for the most part, are not driven by an ideology.  In the Persian Gulf, this is not the case.  On the high waters of the Arabian Sea, pirates often are focused on securing high value cargo to finance insurgency operations in Africa and beyond.  As such, this has become a major source of funding for the global terror trade.

The only true blue water navies that operate in the region are that of the United States and India.  With the U.S. engaged in two wars, naval focus for the fifth fleet has not been on preventing piracy.  So, it was not a surprise to see that, overnight, the Indian Navy scored a victory against another band of Pirates:

The Associated Press: Indian navy sinks suspected pirate ‘mother ship’

“Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers,” said a statement from the Indian navy. Indian forces fired back, sparking fires and a series of onboard blasts — possibly due to exploding ammunition — and destroying the ship.

It is encouraging to see the Indian Navy take a more active role in the region.  As I commented in my previous post, since graduate school I’ve wondered why India’s blue water navy hadn’t received the attention that the Army and Air Force did.  With continued successes against transnational criminal organizations (TCO), one can only hope that the powers in Delhi continue to back the growth of the Navy.  I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see this type of skirmish in the Gulf.


Via the Sajaforum, Rediff has a slide show of the INS Tabar’s actions against the Somali Pirate ship.  The Tabar was replaced in the region by a Delhi class destroyer, the INS Mysore.

Somali pirate ship sinking

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Mark Cuban’s message to the President-Elect

Mark Cuban

Image via Wikipedia

Mark Cuban‘s blog is always a good read.  He doesn’t hold back on opinions, and often times he nails it.  As I was working through my RSS feeds, I came across Cuban’s latest post.  His point is spot on.  The “who’s who” that the President-Elect has brought together to build an economic plan has a missing person, the entrepreneur:

PE Obama’s 1st Big Mistake « blog maverick

Notice anything missing ?

Not a single entrepreneur. Yes Warren Buffett started a business, but he will be the first to tell you that he “doesn’t do start ups”. Which means there isn’t a single person advising PE Obama that we know of that knows that its like to start and run a business in this or any economic climate. That’s a huge problem.

If we are going to solve our current economic problems, our President needs to get first hand information on the impact his proposed policies will have on real Joe the Plumbers. People who are 1 person companies living job to job, hoping they get paid on time. We need to know what the impact of his policies will be on the individually owned Chrysler Dealership in Iowa. The bodego in Manhattan. The mobile phone software startup out of Carnegie Mellon. The event planner in Dallas. The barbershop in LA. The restaurant in Boston.

There is no doubt that those who have established themselves in their respective fields can offer important advice, but I think Cuban is absolutely correct in asking for strong representation from those that are on the way to doing good things. It’s the later group that will truly shape the future.

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Quick thought: Uncertainty dominates enterprise software market

City of Las Vegas

Image via Wikipedia

So I figure I’d write a quick post this morning while I wait to catch my connecting flight home. This is also my first post via the iPhone WordPress application, so it’s somewhat of a test from this device.

This week I was at the SSPA trade show in Las Vegas, and it was the quietest I’ve ever seen a major industry event. I don’t have actual numbers, but it seemed like attendance was down. I’m sure some of this reflects general economic softness, but I also think that the dramatic gyrations in the financial markets must have led to last minute cancellations. Either way, if this one data point reflects the level of activity in the overall market, then enterprise software is about to face the biggest slowdowns since the beginning of this decade…at least from a new license perspective.

The week before, Consona had their annual user meeting, also in Las Vegas. While attendance was down, the existing user base in both the CRM and ERP divisions seemed to be energized.

If the two events reflect any larger trend, those enterprise software companies that have a business model that is built on new license sales are in for some very choppy waters…

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