News, Information and Commentary
September 2019
Back to school...with best practices
A few thoughts from
Jon Flora, President & CEO
September. End of the summer. Football returns. And we’re back to school .

This is the annual time of renewal for all things educational. Whether it’s that first foray into Kindergarten or making decisions about professional education, this is when it all starts! While we can't help you with Kindergarten, we do have professional options for you!
First, we’ve heard you asking for a good day-long program of presentations that’s helpful, affordable and close to home. We have it for you at the Northwest Commercial Credit Conference – NC3 – September 12 th. There’s still time to register for a great day of topics of interest to you and your associates. Plus, all who register will be included for a FREE registration for the January 23rd Hawaii Winter Credit Forum along with two nights of hotel in Honolulu! We hope to see you next week. To register, click HERE.

Second, our Webinar Series continues on September 26 th with Beyond the Signature: Electronic Document & Signature Legality. Learn the basics of electronic signatures and the laws that govern them. Also, bring your entire staff with a single registration. For more information, click HERE.

And, that’s just September! Check out the calendar below for coming events over the next year.

This is also a good time to think about best practices.

Leading up to the 2009 financial crisis, our economy was roaring along quite nicely. Business was very good; everyone’s customers were paying on time. Many of our NACM members were so busy that pulling credit reports didn’t seem important. Companies also sat on their A/R longer. Participation in our Trade Groups and education programs dropped off. To put it mildly, best practices were set aside.

When the economy took that fast and painful fall, members started pulling reports again in a big way. And, then they hurriedly increased their use of our Collections Department. While NACM was able to help a lot, we couldn’t overcome the fact that many debtor companies just couldn’t pay their bills. Too much time had passed with too much leeway provided.

This pattern has pretty much led every modern downturn and, now, we’re seeing signs of it happening again. Members and customers are pulling fewer reports and sitting on debt longer. Participation in professional education and trade groups has slowed because everyone is busy and “can’t get away from the office”.  Best practices are again being set aside because business is good. We've seen how this movie ends.

As Winston Churchill said at the outset of World War II, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

This is not a message of doom. It is, however, a reminder to follow best practices and encourage your company to do so, too. If you consistently follow proven methods, like always pulling credit reports and turning accounts over to our Collections Department before too much time has passed, you will usually stay ahead of the game. When the next downturn comes – and it will – best practices will help you weather the storm better than those who choose a more relaxed path.

Our message: Stay disciplined and take full advantage of the credit tools available. Even in good times, best practices can help you avoid problems. We're always here to help you.

I hope your autumn is off to a good start and your favorite football team has at least won a game!

Best regards,  
Your association has been ranked in the Top 100 Best Places to Work in Washington! With more than 100,000 businesses in the state, that's pretty exciting news. In the finals, we were ranked 22nd in the Small Business category.

Beyond the public recognition, the best part is that we learned some things that will help us be an even better employer and a better organization for our members and customers. This includes:

  • increasing educational opportunities for our employees. Our primary focus has always been on member education - and that won't change. We've come to realize, however, that our staff has sometimes been unintentionally left out of opportunities. That's counter to what we're all about, so we've set about solving the problem which will also benefit you.

  • our staff represents an older demographic which isn't a negative; but it requires some planning. In the next two years, a wave of retirements hits NACM. We have begun preparing for this transition and the change in culture it will likely bring. All this is good for all involved but an interesting dynamic for sure.

  • the cost of benefits for any business is significant these days and for a small company, it can be monumental. We've worked hard to control these expenses in recent years and introduced some new ideas for our people. We fall in the top 30% of other Best Places but there's probably room for improvement.

  • Finally, the word most used by our staff to describe our workplace is FLEXIBLE. Flexible schedules, some telecommuting, and accommodating family needs (young and old) is part of our office culture. And, we're dog friendly! Flexibility is a tricky thing that can get out of hand - but our crew has been good stewards of their work time and is committed to serving our members and customers. Flexibility will continue to part of the NACM BCS mantra.

We are glad you are part of our success and thank you for being in our NACM BCS family.
Members of our NACM staff take a break from a busy summer to host an employee "Costco Sampler" themed lunch - complete with hairnets, pot stickers, and hot dogs. Organizers made a field trip to Costco for advice from store management.


Join us for the Northwest Commercial Credit Conference featuring outstanding presentations on credit topics and general business. And, of course, the social networking with professional colleagues is always a good time. For more information, click on the button below. See you on September 12th!

All who attend will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE registration for the 2020 Hawaii Winter Credit Forum in Honolulu. Free registration and two nights of hotel for one of the best and most fun seminars of the year. Must be present on September 12th to win.

We will also have some cash drawings of varying amounts. All attendees will be entered to win. Some c ome one, come all.

See you at NC3!

Are you interested in Excel training? Let us know!
We are planning an online MS Excel training workshop for early November. Presented by a professional trainer, the workshop will be conducted in a webinar form and last approximately 90 minutes. He will help you understand the premier spreadsheet program while teaching you ways to navigate Excel. He'll also offer tips that will save you time. Cost for the class will be approximately $____ depending on how many attend.

Many of our members have asked for this training, so now we would like to get a sense of how many might attend. Please drop us an email by clicking HERE if you think you would like to participate. Further information and registration opportunities will be coming soon.

This year's NACM Western Region Credit Conference is coming up in a October 23-25 in Portland. The CFDD National Conference is also part of this multi-day event presenting excellent programming for all levels of credit professional.

Don't miss this opportunity to hear great presentations, learn interesting things, and meet new people. We look forward to seeing our affiliate members in Portland!

To register or to get more information, please click on the button below.
Our smart members use Ask-An-Expert to help solve problems. Got a question or concern? Click HERE . The pros are standing by to help! It's free and part of your NACM relationship.
ONLINE WEBINAR: Sept. 26, 2019

"Beyond the Signature: Electronic Document & Signature Legality"

Quite often, credit managers encounter electronic document and signature issues with eTransactions and digitizing credit contracts.

Attorney Michael King will explain the basics of the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“ESIGN”) and the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (“UETA”). This interactive presentation will apply the principles of eTransactions to the day-to-day issues encountered by credit managers.

Michael King is Founding Partner of the law firm Gammage & Burnham, PLC, Phoenix, Arizona

Member Pricing: $30/Call-in line
Non-Member Pricing: $79/Call-in line

12:00 - 1:00 PDT
11:00-12:00 AKDT
9:00-10:00 HST

For real-me information on your customers in Washington and parts of Oregon, ask us about:
Major Alaska Change
BP will sell all Alaska assets to Houston-based Hilcorp
After six decades working in Alaska, the longtime operator of the giant Prudhoe Bay oil field announced Tuesday it plans to sell all its assets in the state to Hilcorp Alaska for $5.6 billion, a major shakeup in the Alaska oil industry. Click below for more:

A look from Houston
Houston, the home of Big Oil, has its view of this acquisition. Click below for more on the purchase and the state of the industry from their perspective.

BP's departure sends shockwaves through non-profit community
While the sale or merger of a company benefits the shareholders, its impact on local communities and their charitable organizations is often an afterthought. Cash and product gifts, employee involvement and volunteer Board leadership are all part of the equation that makes for a healthy community.

Prior to the bank mergers of the 1990's and early 2000's, Seattle had some of the best and most generous corporate grant makers in the nation. Today, there is significant wealth in the Puget Sound area, but the same level of visible business engagement arguably does not exist.

Alaska's non-profits may be the latest to feel the impact of a departure by a major employer. Click below for more:

The Pros and Cons of Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend
Since 1982, Alaska has been giving every woman, man, and child an annual chunk of its nest egg: the $66.3 billion Permanent Fund. This model of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is proving to be appealing to politicians and tech leaders. Read more:

Other Business News
The State OF Hawaii's Public Utilities Commission has approved a 12.5-megawatt solar project with a 50-megawatt-hour energy storage system in West Oahu, according to NACM member Hawaiian Electric Co.
The solar array, by AES Solar West Oahu, is capable of powering about 4,600 homes per year over the life of its 25-year contract and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 244,394 tons, HECO said.


Check on the construction activity in three of our favorite communities. Click on the cities and browse the interactive maps.
Commercial credit cards for mid-to-large corporate market in the United States and Canada will continue to grow at a healthy pace, reflecting ongoing economic growth, a shift toward electronic payments, and the industry’s success in pushing the benefits of card-based programs for business-to-business (B2B) payments flows, according to a new research report. For more on the story:


The Seattle-based (and NACM member ) coffee giant reports seeing no signs of any downturn, according to CEO Kevin Johnson. He sat down with CNBC to discuss the response of consumers to new products and approaches.


The U.S. economy slowed in the spring, and most analysts expect it to weaken further in the months ahead. Yet the main driver of growth — consumer spending — remains vigorous enough to keep the economy growing steadily if still modestly with a 2% growth. Read more from the Associated Press.


When Uber and others unleashed an all-out price war against the taxi companies, many were predicting their extinction.
Instead, most of those companies, including Yellow Cab, Orange Cab, E-Cab, Farwest Taxi and Green Cab, are still on the road. In fact, the fleet of taxis licensed by the city has actually grown 22 percent, to 844, since 2015. For more:

Changing Tide of Traditional Business
In January 2016, we featured stories on the last sugar cane harvest in Hawaii ending the 180 year old industry that made the Aloha State famous. The following articles focus on this month's closure of one of Seattle's most historic businesses and speaks to the challenges of an industry largely unnoticed by many in today's tech focused world.

This closure - while sad for some longing to hang out to the vestiges of a community we grew up with - is spawning new opportunities. The smell of varnish and freshly milled wood will continue in a new form.

The demise of sugar cane and wooden boat building has little to do with our credit profession. Yet, both are part of the history of our respective communities and both are indicative of a rapidly changing world. In a day when we focus our attention on glowing screens and are too busy for face-to-face contact, it's worth a moment to reflect on the ways of old and ponder what is important to us. Maybe we're destined to Tweet for the rest of our lives. Or just maybe these losses and resurrections

Thanks to our member The Seattle Times for these stories and images.

If old Seattle has a soul, it has likely spent many hours and not a few dollars at the Jensen Motor Boat Co.
Click below:


Many of the boatyard’s 23 employees have focused on making sure that the skills they’d developed and refined at the iconic boatyard would remain here in Seattle.

If you're looking to fill a position or looking for a position to fill, check out or Job Center. It's a continually changing group of postings for those seeking employees or those looking for a job.


Whether you live in Western Washington, Alaska or Hawaii, Legislative sessions will begin in January. Most of our policy work has historically focused on Washington but this year we will once again be ready to lend a hand to our member businesses no matter where you are operating. The tone of the times suggests any number of things could happen politically and NACM BCS wants to be ready to represent our customer interests.

We are one of the only NACM affiliates that actively participates in government affairs. Our proven track record of success has been behind the passage of excellent public policy for liens, collections and other credit related laws. This alone has paid back the value of for your member dues multiple times over.

In order be effective in this role, we need a few members willing to serve on Legislative Committees for each state and/or be willing make legislative visits when key issues arise. This typically means staying aware of what lawmakers are considering that might impact commercial credit or business in general. When there's something important to our profession, NACM goes into action which means asking members to call on elected officials or engage in member letter writing campaigns. This involvement will give you an up-close view of how our political system works which can be interesting.

If you would like to dip your toe in political waters and help the credit profession, please drop an email to:

We expect the state legislatures will be busy in the months ahead, so let's get prepared ahead of time to support the commercial credit world. Thanks for your consideration!
Industry Trade Groups
Puget Sound Area

September 12

11:30 a.m. Floor - Duke's Chowder House

September 17

11:30 a.m. HVAC - Duke's Chowder House

September 18

11:30 a.m. Tacoma Construction - Johnny's Dock
11:30 a.m. Food - Duke's Chowder House

September 19

11:30 a.m. Wiring - Duke's Chowder House
11:30 a.m. Eastside Construction - 13 Coins Bellevue


September 17

11:30 a.m. Hawaii Hospitality - Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel

September 20

11:30 a.m. Hawaii Building - Waikiki Yacht Club


September 18

12:00 p.m. Alaska Suppliers and Food - Crowley Fuels
Upcoming Professional Programs, Seminars and Conferences
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