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Learning about the Family Business.

July 23, 2014 - 14:26:20
Category: All

Posted by:
Bonnie Kruckenberg

As the daughters of Wind River co-founder Mark Courchane, my sister Ellen and I have spent quite a bit of time learning about what the business is and what it does. But this summer, we got the unique opportunity to hop around town and meet some of its clients face-to-face! Last week, we bought some cookies from Windsor Bakery and spent the day delivering them to some of Wind River’s local clients. We were able to chat with Orange Schroeder from Orange Tree Imports, Kim Frederickson from UW Bookstore, Bill Shager from Saris Cycling, and Garry and Jon Burman from Burman Coffee.

One thing we loved discussing with the clients is what made Wind River different. Over and over again, we heard about it’s great value—but even more often, we heard about the impact customer service has had. The clients said they love that when they call in, they talk to an actual human being, not a recording. They said they felt like they had people looking out for them, and people who were willing to guide them through any confusing parts of processing. As credit cards become more and more popular, they really appreciated having such a stable company helping them process!
 
Meeting with clients was a great opportunity for Ellen and I. At the beginning of the day, we thought that Wind River was mostly contained in a building on Buttonwood Drive. But after getting to meet some of our many clients up close, it was easy to see that Wind River is truly made up of the people that it services.

 




June shows hope of economy picking up steam.

July 18, 2014 - 14:28:09
Category: All

Posted by:
Mark Courchane

After a ho hum increase in credit card volume in May, we were curious to get a look at the economy based on June’s numbers.  Wind River’s portfolio of over 3,500 merchants (which processed over $1.5 Billion in volume last year) saw year-over-year sales increase of 6.1% for June.  A welcome up tick for the mid year mark. 

To continue our “trends” conversations that I have blogged about the last couple of months, I’m happy to report the overall Wind River portfolio volume growth for the first half of the year was 4.6% over the same time period and same store growth of last year. Most of our clients (62%) shared in this positive credit card growth year-over-year, outweighing the number of clients who have not seen growth yet this year. 

This month I took a look at the number of transactions that we processed the first six months of this year vs. the same time period in 2013, again, same store comparison, and found that to be up 3.46%.  Meaning more transactions processed but as you might imagine based on the other information, the average dollar amount of the transaction has declined 3.2% from $128.47 in 2013 to $124.36. 

Nothing startling in this news but interesting that there is more swiping of cards going on but not quite at the dollar level as last year.  Does that mean the consumer continues to be more careful about their spending?  I don’t think we can draw that conclusion from these few data points.

We also realize that credit cards are only part of the overall picture of your total sales. With that said, we do hope the economy is picking up steam as we head into the third quarter. 

In the meantime, we look forward to rolling out a new online reporting package in Q3 that will provide more personalized and specific insight into these volume trends. Stay tuned for more details on that in a later blog!

As always, Wind River is committed to bringing our clients more information to allow you to manage your credit card expense line. Let me know if you find this information helpful or interesting. You can contact me directly at mcourchane@windriverfinancial.com or call our friendly Relationship Managers at 1-800-704-7253, Option #4.




It is only natural that Wind River would bring the water!

June 26, 2014 - 10:32:36
Category: All

Posted by:
Mark Courchane

It’s been full steam ahead for Orchard Ridge Elementary School’s garden project! Since their application was accepted last spring, the ORE GROW team has been planning and preparing for the big build week.

 
One of the goals from the very beginning of the project was to make sure that all students would not only be included in the garden, but lead the project. On May 22 and 23, that goal came to life when Orchard Ridge students constructed a school garden that they planned and designed themselves.
 
Each selected school receives money from Madison Community Foundation (MCF) towards their outdoor classroom/garden build and technical/program support, expert resources, and complimentary sustainability workshops from the Grass Roots / Outdoor Wonder (GROW) Coalition. 
 
Orchard Ridge Elementary School was extremely fortunate to also receive a monetary donation from Wind River Financial to cover the costs of installing a necessary water source near the school garden grounds. 
 
All students and staff as well as families and community members were invited to be a part of the actual build days. The build was a student led event with adults taking the backseat. With ratchets, wrenches and buckets in hand, all 380 students participated in the build on both days: preparing the site (digging, excavating, raking, marking, laying cardboard), building raised beds and Leopold benches, laying mulch, filling beds with soil, planting seeds and transplanting seedlings from classrooms. The build was a very successful and moving event. All of the students saw all of their planning and preparations coming together into one large community project. They all saw their responsibility and place within the grand project.  
 



What happened in May?

June 24, 2014 - 12:13:34
Category: All

Posted by:
Mark Courchane

After a huge spike in credit card volume in April, everyone was anxious to see what May would bring.  Wind River’s portfolio of over 3,500 merchants (which processed over $1.5 Billion in volume last year) saw year-over-year sales of 2.8% for May.  Not nearly the spike seen last month. 

To continue our “trends” conversation that I blogged about last month. I’m happy to report the overall Wind River portfolio volume growth from January-May of this year was 4.3% over the same time period last year. Most of our clients (58%) shared in this positive credit card growth year-over-year, slightly outweighing the number of clients who have not seen growth yet this year. 

As a data point and out of curiosity, I reviewed the restaurant and hotel clients in our portfolio to get a gauge of what type of growth they are experiencing year-over-year.  I found for the first five months of the year, Restaurants & Hotels experienced 7.1% growth. So, it seems several segments and industries are seeing more credit card sales while others are hanging back by forces out of your direct control. We also realize that credit cards are only part of the overall picture of your total sales. With that said, we are looking forward to seeing how the next seven months drive sales especially with the summer solstice just kicking off this week.

In the meantime, we look forward to rolling out a new online reporting package in Q3 that will provide more personalized and specific insight into these volume trends. Stay tuned for more details on that in a later blog!

As always, Wind River is committed to bringing our clients more information to allow you to manage your credit card expense line. Let me know if we hit the mark. You can contact me directly at mcourchane@windriverfinancial.com or call our friendly Relationship Managers at 1-800-704-7253, Option #4. 




The Durbin Argument Continues...

June 19, 2014 - 10:04:16
Category: All

Posted by:
Dan DeBraal

The Durbin argument continues…

 
Arguing that a federal appeals court “disregarded the plain letter of the statute,” a group of merchants and merchant associations is preparing a request to the U.S. Supreme Court to review a case in which it is battling to overturn the Federal Reserve Board’s interpretation of the Durbin Amendment’s debit card interchange restrictions and routing rules.  To read the full article Though Facing Slim Odds, A Merchant Group Takes Its Durbin Case to the Supreme Court
 
A nice summary of the recent decision was written in an article by Stephen G. Harvey and Seth William Stern for the American Bar stating that on March 21, 2014, in a significant victory for banks and credit unions that issue debit cards and for the companies that own and operate debit card networks (i.e., Visa and MasterCard), the DC Circuit upheld the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation II, which implemented the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act by capping interchange fees for large issuers at 21 cents plus 5 basis points for fraud losses. It also requires banks to offer at least two unaffiliated networks for processing debit card transactions.
 
The decision represents a reversal of fortune for the retailers who challenged Regulation II and won in the trial court. In July 2013, federal district judge Richard Leon chastised the Fed for supposedly ignoring the clear intent of Congress, but the court of appeals in reversing Judge Leon laid the blame on Congress: “Congress put the Board, the district court, and us in a real bind. Perhaps unsurprising given that the Durbin Amendment was crafted in conference committee at the eleventh hour, its language is confusing and its structure convoluted.” The DC Circuit decision upholding Regulation II, with the exception of one minor issue remanded to the Fed, resolves any uncertainty about Regulation II, barring review by the Supreme Court, which is unlikely. To read the full article:  DC CIRCUIT SIDES WITH FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD ON MEANING OF DURBIN AMENDMENT TO DODD-FRANK ACT
 



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