CUES SKYBOX BLOG

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Redefining ‘Small’ a Big Help for Many CUs

One expert says NCUA’s new definition will give ‘small entities’ a better chance of survival. This is bonus coverage from “Looking to Launch” in the upcoming June issue of CUES’ Credit Union Management magazine. By Diane Franklin The National Credit Union Administration Board’s unanimous approval of a proposal to raise the “small entity” asset ceiling from $50 million to $100 million is good news for the credit union industry, according to Barb Lowman, SVP/account processing solutions for financial services technology provider Fiserv Inc., a CUES Supplier member based in Brookfield, Wis. Lowman observes that, based on NCUA figures, adoption of the proposal will raise the number of federally insured credit unions in the “small” classification to 77 percent from its current 65 percent. “We’re still waiting to see clearly what those benefits will be,” Lowman says. “We anticipate that some of it’s going to come in the form of less stringent requirements from a compliance perspective, but it also may include financial relief, such as funding through grants and programs that will help small credit unions launch some of the technology solutions that are vital to their survival.” Some in the industry were hoping that the “small” designation would go […]

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Millennials Value Coaching and Talented Colleagues

Get more of both for yours: Nominate them by June 5 to participate in the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec challenge. By Lisa Hochgraf According to a February Harvard Business Review article, motivating Millennial employees boils down to one thing: coaching. Importantly, the article suggests that the coaching Millennials want is not about telling them what to do, but helping them to achieve all they are capable of doing and being. This makes me think about what Alex Castley said during his acceptance speech after being named the 2014 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec last November. Engagement and communications manager at $602 million Integris Credit Union, Prince George, British Columbia, Castley thanked his CEO, CUES member David Bird, CCE, for being the kind of coach that Millennials want. “Here’s really the reason I’m here today, because without him I wouldn’t have the autonomy to do the funny good things I do on a daily basis,” he said, adding with a quavery voice: “Thank you, David.” The Harvard Business Review article also reported that Millennials value coaches who help them spend time with talented people–with the idea that those talented people will help Millennials up their own game. Castley’s […]

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Are You Ready for Hispanic Homebuyers?

Begin your strategy to connect with them today. By Wallace Jones Sponsored by CU Members Mortgage As a leading mortgage partner within the credit union industry, we are often asked what the future of home lending will look like. Will rates go up? Will compliance struggles prevent growth? Will lending thrive? Thriving depends in part on this key question: How well do you know the future borrower? While rates remain historically low, it’s inevitable that they will go up. Compliance struggles continue to be a part of the lending atmosphere, but they will be managed and eventually become less burdensome. Therefore, lending will continue. Whether or not it thrives will be up to your credit union and how well it adapts to the marketplace. Sounds simple enough, but without the proper research and preparation, your credit union’s home loan program could become stagnant or even shrink. Determining the future borrower starts with knowing about household growth. The growth of households is one of the most important predictors of potential home ownership gains. Knowing exactly who your borrowers are, what they need, and how to reach them will decide your success in lending. These facts about the growth of the marketplace […]

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If You Had a Million Dollars … to Spend on Payments

Here’s what attendees of the CUES School of Payments would do. By Lisa Hochgraf Terence Roche asked attendees of the CUES School of Payments last week in Chicago what they would do if they were given license to spend a million dollars on payments systems for their credit unions. Here’s what attendees told Roche, principal of Cornerstone Advisors, a CUES strategic partner based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Targeted rewards. The team acknowledged these could be pricey, but thought that if there were really money to invest, this could be a very good way to go. Ideally, these would include loyalty options for people using CU services outside of payments as well. Upgrade analytics capabilities. This would put the credit union in better stead to evaluate its current programs and decide on next steps. Add self-service options. Attendees would add interactive teller machines, enhance mobile and add a system that would allow members to turn off (and on) their credit cards using their mobile devices. What would you do if you had a million dollars to spend on payments? Lisa Hochgraf is a CUES senior editor. Download CU Management magazine’s special report on payments, which was sponsored by two CUES Supplier members: […]

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Best Practices in Payments

Takeaways from CUES School of Payments this week in Chicago. By Lisa Hochgraf Yesterday in Chicago, Terence Roche summarized some key concepts discussed at the CUES School of Payments. Roche is  principal of CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Ariz. Establish clear performance metrics that target key revenue and expense drivers. People are saying, “I’m calling those out and they’re as visible as loan growth and delinquencies” when management gets together to talk things out, Roche said. These can get pretty granular, and seek to answer such questions as: Who’s using bill-pay? and If mobile is the most important new payment offering, how many members use it? Have a clear plan for “reduce and redirect” spending on payments. If you save money in one area of payments, you can use it to reinvest in your offerings or new payments ventures. Establish clear organizational responsibility.  “If we have 18 metrics, who is the person responsible for each of those 18 metrics? Who’s responsible for your next contract negotiation” with a vendor? Roche said the answer needs to be the name of a person, not a department or group. Use analytics strategically. Leverage your vendors to help get good data, […]

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EMV Liability Shift Readiness

EMV players prepare for Oct. 1. By Lisa Hochgraf Credit union members are starting to get EMV “chip” cards in the mail. Big merchants are placing point-of-sale readers that can handle the new cards in many of their locations, but not planning to actually enable this functionality until Oct. 1. These are the real-life signs that players in the world of EMV cards are indeed getting ready for the liability shift planned for Oct. 1 by the “Network of Four” (MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Visa) for domestic and cross-border counterfeit card-present point-of-sale transactions. Once the shift takes place, liability for card fraud will be assessed to the party that did not enable the EMV transaction. At the CUES School of Payments yesterday, Terence Roche made some educated predictions about what players will have done by the deadline. Principal of CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Ariz., Roche said that 79 percent of issuers are expected to have replaced magnetic stripe-only cards with EMV cards by Oct. 1. In all, 575 million EMV cards are expected to be issued this year. Roche also pointed to data showing that EMV/near-field communication will be installed at over 65 percent […]

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Succession Planning Blind Spots

How CEOs perceive their role has a tremendous impact on the outcome. By Deedee Myers, Ph.D. A mutual understanding between the chair and CEO about desired succession planning outcomes goes a long way toward organization success, both long-and short-term. On the other hand, when an effective chair/CEO dialogue is non-existent, there is a high likelihood of unintended consequences regarding trust and transparency–and inadequate development of the executive team and middle management team. Here are some additional succession planning blind spots to watch out for: 1.  Some CEO followers of the Carver governance model assume they do not have responsibility to develop potential CEO successors. The outcome of this separation of duties often leads to disillusionment by executives who want to be seen and developed as potential successors. If executives are not developed as potential CEO candidates, and they want to be, a higher flight risk is probable. Deciding who is CEO is a board responsibility and some CEOs keep that Carver separation of duty. The board needs to be explicit in requesting that the CEO develop potential interal successors, or make those external resources available. 2.  A CEO who tells an executive that he or she is the next CEO needs […]

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A Valuable ‘Freebie’–Especially for You

Try out Credit Union Management magazine’s digital edition this month as we “Give Away May.” The old adage says, “You get what you pay for.” But in some cases a freebie is golden. That’s what we hope you think about  Credit Union Management magazine’s May digital edition, which non-members can read for free during CUES’ “Give Away May” campaign. In a handy-for-the-tablet “turn the page” digital format, check out stories covering such topics as: card and mobile rewards; how to combine tech systems in the wake of a merger; long-term care insurance for directors; welcoming the VP/human resources to the C-suite and the role of marketing in developing your CU’s mobile offering. Then, if you want access every month going forward, join CUES or subscribe to the magazine. Members, when you view Credit Union Management and log in with your CUES password, you’ll access the current issue plus the archives, which are not part of the giveaway promotion. If you need password assistance, please email us.

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Protection for the Road Ahead

GAP insurance and VSC can help your credit union and its members. By Tom Kazar Sponsored by Transamerica Throughout life’s metaphoric winding road, almost every choice has a risk attached. And some of the more expensive risks take place literally on the roads, streets, and highways. Most of the time people try to mitigate risks so that negative consequences incurred will be minimal. For example, your members may drive more cautiously in the rain and never let their gas tank fall below half full. Yet, even the best mitigators cannot completely eliminate risk. That is why there are protection products available to help protect you and your members. Let’s look at a common scenario. A member wants to purchase a new vehicle with financing from your credit union. According to the latest “State of the Automotive Finance Market” report, in the fourth quarter of 2014, 84 percent of new vehicles were purchased with financing, the average loan amount hit its highest level on record, and the average loan term increased to 66 months. Over the next five and a half years, many chances for potential unfortunate events and financial exposure exist. The vehicle may be totaled or stolen. The vehicle […]

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Exceptional Leader Award = ‘On the Right Track’

On the path to becoming CEO, Dan McGowan felt supported by receiving a top CUES award. By Lisa Hochgraf CUES member Dan McGowan first thought he’d like to be a CEO about 20 years ago. So being named president/CEO of $191 million Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union, Charleston, on Oct. 1 of last year was a significant milestone. McGowan says being named 2012 CUES Exceptional Leader helped him believe he could reach his dream. “I think I’m like a lot of other people in the workforce in that we go to work every day and do our best to make the world a better place, but our efforts largely go unnoticed,” he says. “The CUES Exceptional Leader award was a highlight of my career. “We’ve all known people who fit the ‘legend in their own mind’ description, but that assessment may not go beyond the individual. It’s another thing entirely for one’s work to be submitted for review by an objective third-party panel of experts, who conclude that it is worthy of note. So, the recognition also served as a validation that I may have been on the right track.” In addition to the support of the CUES Exceptional […]

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Be the Leader You Mean to Be

We’re so excited about our upcoming June Credit Union Management cover story that we couldn’t wait to share an excerpt with you. And give you one more chance to sign up for an amazing course–it starts May 7–that will help you explore all of these ideas. Read on. By Jamie Swedberg Every business executive’s leadership has a far-reaching effect on the organization. The way employees do their jobs is greatly influenced by the cues they receive from above—whether those cues are intentional or unintentional, articulated or implied. That’s why it’s important for a credit union leader to take a hard look at his or her management style, vision, goals and values. It all trickles down. If a CU’s leadership isn’t clear and coherent and in keeping with the institution’s mission, there’s no way the members will be happy. In the CUES Elite Access executive education series, CUES offers a remote learning course called Leadership Brand and Shadow in partnership with Cornell University. The course examines two facets of well-thought-out leadership. The first, leadership brand, is a reflection of how you as a leader are perceived by peers and employees. It’s a brief statement about who you are that can help […]

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Supervisory Committees Function Well, But …

Just like CUs and their boards, supervisory committees must change with the times. By Michael G. Daigneault, CCD We survey a lot of credit union board members. And generally most will say they are pretty satisfied with the job their supervisory committee is doing. In fact, of the five areas on which we survey (vision, mission and strategy; board structure and composition; fiduciary oversight; governance and leadership; and supervisory committee), fiduciary oversight and supervisory committee usually are the two highest-scoring areas. But I’ve been troubled lately. Why? Because a good percentage of board members we interview admit that: (1) they don’t really know what their supervisory committee does; (2) if they do know what their committee does, the practices of their supervisory committee do not appear to have changed much in the last decade; and (3) almost 45 percent of board members think their supervisory committee’s analysis of the top operational and strategic risks facing their credit union are less than effective. Notably, half of the board members at one CU client even described their supervisory committee’s oversight of the external auditor–traditionally one of the key functions of that committee–as either adequate or even ineffective. So, what’s going on? Today’s […]

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Passwords Plus … Biometrics

It may be time to jump into fingerprints and voice recognition for securing mobile banking. By Robb Gaynor Security is paramount when defining a digital strategy for both mobile banking and Internet banking. And, until recently, passwords have been king. Passwords are an expeditious way to allow users to establish their identities—to prove they truly should have access to whatever it is they want to access. Passwords are a reality for every adult as almost everything has a password. But remembering the password for a great number of accounts can be a real pain and, at the same time, not so secure as one would like. The literature is abundant on how strikingly easy passwords are to guess, in part because people often choose similar passwords. So wisely, regulators have for a decade asked financial institutions to use multi-factor authentication before letting someone into an online or mobile banking account. That means using a password plus some additional form of proving one’s identity. Enter biometrics. While a password is something you know, biometrics authenticate you based on “who you are.” And some of this technology is now arriving. The most popular forms of biometrics that seem to have reached viability […]

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Must Leaders Always Focus on the Summit?

World-renowned mountain climber Alison Levine says leaders sometimes just have to put one foot in front of the other. Life isn’t just about making it to the top, but “about the lessons you learned along the way, about knowing how to weather the storm,” says Alison Levine in the video below. In the five-minute clip, Levine talks with insight and humor about leaders and their tolerance for failure. A famous mountaineer and author of On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership, Levine will speak this December at Directors Conference in Orlando. Learn more about leadership without ever leaving your desk when you sign up for “Leadership Brand and Shadow” through CUES Elite Access, offered in partnership with Cornell University. Cornell University also is one of CUES’ partners in offering CEO Institute. The first segment of this highly regarded, CU-specific program focuses on strategic planning, and will next be offered in August at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The second segment focuses on organizational effectiveness and will next be offered in May at Cornell. Segment II also will be offered in August.

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Millennials Like Debit Over Credit

Gen Y avoids debt and may prefer debit rewards. By Stephanie Schwenn Sebring This post is bonus coverage from “Card Rewards,” a feature story due out in the May issue of Credit Union Management magazine. According to a recent Wells Fargo survey, Millennials are leery of debt after seeing what transpired during the 2008 economic recession. Many feel consumed by debt already (42 percent say debt is their biggest financial concern) while carrying excess amounts of student loans on top of a car loan and mortgage. So it’s not so surprising that Millennials don’t want credit cards. As reported by Tech Times, 18- to 29-year-olds prefer debit over credit by a 3:1 margin. Why is this so important? Millennials are also the largest generation in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, ages 15 to 34 represent about a third of our total population. As statistics indicate, the implications are enormous regarding market share and meeting the digital banking needs of Millennials. Annie Cox, director/growth solutions for CUES Supplier member PSCU, St. Petersburg, Fla., says Millennials prefer debit over credit card rewards. “They’re already overwhelmed with debt, including a significant amount of student debt, so credit isn’t their […]

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Community Involvement is the Best PR

Two examples and an opportunity. By Bill Prichard Sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services CO-OP Financial Services recently made available the white paper, “Best Practices: Public Relations for Credit Unions.” The paper reviewed the work of six public relations professionals at credit unions from Virginia to Alaska. A number of topics emerged in our discussion with these “practitioners,” but perhaps the one best practice they have unanimously adopted is community involvement. It’s the best public relations of all. The opportunities for credit unions to be involved in their communities are as broad and diverse as the nation. One example is $2.4 billion Redwood Credit Union of Santa Rosa, Calif., which has had a strong relationship with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, also of Santa Rosa. “Our partnership provides us mutually beneficial media opportunities, too,” says Robin McKenzie, SVP/marketing and communications. “For example, we recently got called to be the featured company at the food bank when they were contacted by KGO-TV, a San Francisco ABC affiliate, who wanted to do a live broadcast there during Thanksgiving. “We were able to have our team of volunteers featured on the broadcast, and we were interviewed about our relationship with REFB and our commitment […]

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Ready to Rethink Rewards Communication?

Know what members want. By Stephanie Schwenn Sebring This post is bonus coverage from “Card Rewards,” a feature story due out in the May issue of Credit Union Management magazine. David Eads, CEO of Mobile Strategy Partners, LLC, Atlanta, says credit union loyalty programs will be most successful when CUs can communicate benefits in a meaningful and consistent way that resonates with members. “I recommend to clients that they rethink how they’re communicating their program,” he says. “How well has it been integrated into the credit union’s overall brand? How frequently does the credit union promote rewards? The credit union should incorporate rewards messaging into all of its marketing channels, all of the time. These channels can include point of sale at the branch, website, mobile, newsletter, email blasts and alerts.” Brian Day, manager/mobile products for CUES Supplier member The Members Group, Des Moines, Iowa, suggests that an impactful rewards program, embraced by staff, will engage members and naturally enhance their satisfaction levels. Greater engagement and satisfaction will also lead to increased loyalty and less attrition. Day notes that successful loyalty programs will have a variety of options for point redemption and keep members engaged with continual education and fresh […]

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Big Data as Collaborative Opportunity

How can CUs of all sizes best get on board with this new trend? By Lisa Hochgraf Sometimes I get a single press release about a topic new to me and that prompts a story in CUES’ publications. Other times, I suddenly see a new topic everywhere. “Big data” is everywhere. And I’m wondering if it marks an opportunity for CUs to collaborate. For the uninitiated, big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate for making sense of them. Getting and managing big data may be easier for big organizations. So I guess it wasn’t a huge surprise when I got a press release saying that $13 billion BECU, Seattle, had signed with INETCO Analytics to acquire rich transaction data from the CU’s ATM network. The goal is to gain on-demand visibility into member analytics, as a stepping stone to ensuring delivery of the best member experience possible. “INETCO Analytics effectively shrinks our member transaction data gathering and analysis time from weeks down to minutes—which allows us to make decisions based on timely and comprehensive cardholder analytics,” says BECU ATM Channel Manager Shirley Taylor in the release. But […]

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Win Against New Competitors

An emerging wave of competition is on the horizon. Here are tips for preparing for them. By Andrew Tilbury New technologies–particularly digital wallets and social media–and Millennial preferences and expectations are driving the creation of new business models that represent existential threats to traditional financial institutions. Denying these fundamental shifts is a recipe for failure; credit unions need to evolve their culture, business models, and products or be left behind. A recently published Bluepoint Solutions report, “Disruption in Financial Services: Threats and Opportunities,” identifies and explains the challenges facing financial services companies today. Here is advice and recommendations for credit unions looking to win against the new competitors. How can credit unions stay relevant to Millennials, and what are the key service offerings they should be providing to capture this group? Millennials look for ease of use, convenience and consistency. Because of their strong connection to mobile phones and 24/7 connectivity, Millennials value immediacy and self-service over building relationships with tellers and physically going to a branch to conduct their banking. Credit unions looking to stay relevant need to eliminate any possible need to actually visit a branch. This means having a mobile first strategy. A credit union should have […]

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Strategic Alignment Exercise

Take a pause to assess where you are. By Scott McClymonds The more I work with financial institutions, the more I find that the greatest catalyst to profitability, growth, and member loyalty is leadership’s ability to align strategy, people, and systems. This also happens to be extraordinarily difficult for most organizations, and it isn’t because leaders aren’t smart, passionate, energetic, and full of ideas. Most leaders I observe are flying around from meeting to meeting, working on numerous initiatives simultaneously, and putting out daily fires. That frequently squeezes out any time they may have to focus on strategic issues like corporate identity, customer needs, employee engagement, and communication. But pause, you must. Here’s an exercise to do in that quiet moment. It will help you gauge where you are. Answer each of the questions below yourself, then ask your board, management team, and a sampling of front line people to do the same exercise. Next, compare answers with your board and management team. If the answers are similar, your alignment is probably strong. If the answers vary widely, you have some work to do. Who are we? What are our strengths? What is our brand? 2. What is our strategy? 3. […]

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Get New Members for the Best Possible Price

Until April 8, you can help kick start a collaborative program aimed at boosting CUs’ market position. By Kathryn Clancy Remember the last time you tried to explain to a friend from out of town exactly what credit unions are, and why working in the movement is so important to you? You probably said something like, “They’re member-owned, not-for-profit financial institutions dedicated to improving their owners’ financial lives.” And then when your friend said that sounded great and he wanted to join one, you said, “Um… .” After all, what do you know about the membership criteria of credit unions far away? Helping your friend find a credit union isn’t the whole story here, however. Take a look at NCUA and U.S. Census Bureau data, and you’ll see that only about 100 million U.S. consumers are members of credit unions. With 300 million people in the country all told, that’s a lot of untapped potential that credit unions could get together and dig into. But helping anyone on the street find just the right credit union to join has been difficult in the past. Enter Credit Union Match, a website envisioned by my friend and former Callahan and Associates colleague, […]

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Get ‘Wow’ Instead of ‘Wah, Wah, Wah’

Enhance your communication skills to effectively deliver your message. By Sheri Staak Effective communication is not always a given—it’s a skill set that can be learned, enhanced, and shared with those you lead. Transparent, fair, and reciprocal communication is vital to the success of any team. If you are a “wow” leader, as I like to call exemplary leaders, set the example by being a positive, clear communicator who encourages the same from others. Presentation skills, public speaking, executive presence, or platform skills (no matter what you call it), a “wow” leader needs to be good in front of people. To inspire others to rise up and go the extra mile, the clarity, passion, and sincerity of your words must be properly communicated. If you deliver a lackluster, insincere, or rambling message to your team or audience, what they’ll hear will be little more than what Charlie Brown and his friends hear when the grownups speak: “Wah, wah, wah.” To develop and maintain exemplary platform communication skills, you must work at it. You must resolve to wow by identifying what may be tripping you up at the podium or in the boardroom. Try some of these techniques: 1. Prepare. Make […]

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Growing Into Leadership

Individuals and the industry benefit when credit union executives undertake professional development. By Soma Sarkar I’ve learned a lot about growth during my credit union career. When I was hired in 1994 to fill a branch manager opening at the Credit Union of New Jersey, I was my CU’s 12th employee. Back then, CU of New Jersey had $42 million in assets and was a cash operation. Now, it has 99 employees, $317 million in assets and is a full-service financial institution. As the credit union has grown, so has my role in it. Now I’m EVP/chief operations officer, overseeing all the CU’s retail branches, plus lending, compliance and a call center. I think my plan to attend the three years of CUES’ CEO Institute is an important next step, not only toward my own professional growth and the future success of the credit union, but also the overall development of leaders for the future of the CU industry. I’m excited to begin next month by attending CEO Institute I at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. As credit union executives, we need to prepare ourselves and our peers as strong leaders to keep the movement going forward. With the […]

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Delivery: My Way or the Highway

Millennials cast their vote for omni-channel delivery.  By Andrew Tilbury Sponsored by Bluepoint Solutions Members, especially the coveted Millennials, want financial services delivered to them “where” and when they want them—whether that’s in a branch, via their laptop or tablet, on their smartphone, or (soon) on their wrist. This has serious implications for credit unions of all sizes and will undoubtedly favor those who are innovating in delivery channels for their members. It also looks like we are looking at new shifts involving tablets. A 2014 report from Javelin Strategy and Research predicts that 138 million adults will access their financial accounts through tablets by 2018. Notably, Javelin believes that financial institutions are not well prepared for the tablet boom, and that they must strive to provide robust tablet banking apps, especially for the complex Android market. Indeed, areas of rapid growth in service delivery right now include mobile and social media-based banking, according to our latest report, Disruption in Financial Services: Threats and Opportunities. The report indicates 72 percent of Millennials are active users of mobile banking. Additionally, the report notes that while online banking usage has remained relatively constant over the past three years, mobile banking has nearly […]

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Mobile Account Opening and ‘Switch’ Kits

Mobile sales is the next front in the share-of-wallet battle. By David Eads Every year in the United States., $1.8 trillion in retail banking assets switch from one financial institution to another. This number is growing as Millennials join the workforce. Credit unions continue to invest heavily in mobile member service tools – and rightly so. However, most credit unions have overlooked the mobile member experience of joining the credit union or adding new products. On average, mobile accounts for 37 percent of attempts to join credit unions–but 80 percent fail, according to a Mobile Strategy Partners study. Even worse, prospective members with a negative experience trying to join the credit union are less likely to respond positively if approached again. Credit unions must shift their mobile strategy from service to sales and service. Retailers already have shifted their mobile strategy. Mobile accounted for 45 percent of all holiday shopping traffic in 2014 and 22 percent of all online holiday sales according to IBM. Credit unions should take note and empower their members to do the same. But despite this evidence, financial institutions as a whole have been slow to enhance digital sales. Why? Because institutions have ignored their mobile […]

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