Bring Fido along for a dog-friendly weekend in West Virginia!In the Mountain State, festivals, restaurants and adventures give a whole new meaning to family-friendly, Fido included.These places are top dog:1. HuntingtonCasual and tasty, Huntington’s West Virginia Hot Dog Festival in July is an enormous picnic party. Top hot dog vendors and chefs cook, and you can compete in zany contests all day.Cheer on dachshunds at the wiener dog race. Enjoy live music, a dog parade, car shows and crafts.Ritter Park’s rose gardens, trails and dog park have lots of exciting new scents and sensations for canines, too. Teach Rover some agility with obstacles like a tire jump and stay table.The Econo Lodge Hotel and Red Roof Inn welcome pets, so plan on extending your stay!2. CharlestonLeash up Fido and marvel as Charleston “becomes a work of art” for 10 days in June with 100+ art exhibits, a chili cook-off, photography, bands and more.Hang around and watch FestivALL’s Woofstock & Wieners race, a goofy competition for dachshunds. You can also enter your dog in sprints or show off his tricks and obedience skills.Share a nature walk with Rover at Kanawha State Forest and look for vibrant warblers and burbling streams. For river views, walk along Kanawha River Trail. It’s especially attractive in the evening, when sunsets settle over the city.For lunch, soak up beach-front ambience at Tricky Fish, which has a pet-friendly patio. Speaking of dogs, order a customized hot dog— grilled or deep fried. Plus, the dog park’s just down the block!Then, book a stay with pet-friendly hotels like Red Roof Inn and Residence Inn.4. New River GorgeYou and your dog can conquer the rapids together! The New River Gorge boasts some of the world’s best whitewater. Be gentle with your pet and try the mild (but still peppy) Upper New River.For lunch, bring your pooch to Vandal’s Kitchen, which has an outdoor patio and picnic table. Or, sprawl on Mackie’s Biergarten’s deck and order some Asian fusion goodness.Plenty of campgrounds and cabins are pet friendly, too! Check out Hemlock Haven Cabins, which has fenced-in backyards for pet owners— no need to get up early for a walk! You can also bring your dog to Country Road Cabins and New River Cabins.5. Harpers FerryThis atmospheric Antebellum town is the perfect backdrop for Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry, the oldest of its kind in America. Leash your dog and listen to its eerie stories.Ready to hit the trails? Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has some of the most scenic paths in America. Centuries of history, lore and natural beauty guide you for miles along towpaths.When you’re done exploring, grab some BBQ and fries at Hannah’s Train Depot, where pets are welcome outside.The Clarion Inn Conference Center has pet-friendly rooms.6. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, WestonIf your pooch is small enough to fit in a stroller, he can join you for some ghost tours! Or, carry him in your arms as you stroll through this historic building.7. Mountain State Brewing Co, Morgantown: Unwind at one of West Virginia’s oldest breweries. Sit with your dog on the lower patio or upper deck and order flavorful brews that go from Cold Trail blonde to dark, creamy Miner’s Daughter stout.Where are you going to take your dog?You and your canine navigator can plot a journey together or find nearby attractions with WV’s “Best of Summer” map:Get a free summer guide to West Virginia’s best for you and the whole family (Fido included).
Why is writing effective credit memos so vexing? Given that a credit memorandum is one of the most critical documents in the life of the loan, it would seem like a straightforward process.However, lenders, credit analysts, and other staff frequently seek tips for writing better credit memos.Writing an effective credit memo is so important to the lending process. The loan committee uses the credit memo in deciding whether to approve the loan, so the lender wants to put forth an accurate and complete picture of the member — not only for the member’s sake, but also for the credit union’s risk management. At the same time, this document can become extremely complex and large because it has a lot of data coming from various sources.Lenders and credit analysts take member information, financial ratios, any global cash flow analysis, the assigned risk rating, proposed loan pricing, and terms of the proposed loan, and must organize all of this into a cohesive credit memo.This information will then be used for the initial loan decision as well as for modifications, renewals, or annual loan reviews later on.In addition, all of this data collected during the loan application and credit analysis should be put together in a way so that credit reviewers or supervisory agencies are able to reach the same decision the credit union did and access the supporting documentation. Not surprisingly, many bankers find the task to be a difficult one.Templates are critical for efficiency and effectiveness in writing credit memos, according to Alison Trapp, Abrigo’s Director of Client Education. “Everyone knows where to look for a certain piece of information,” she says. An automated credit analysis solution that can create customizable credit memos can also help credit unions incorporate four effective credit memo traits:ClearConciseOrganized RelevantEffective credit memos are clearUsing specifics and staying away from adjectives in the writing can help credit memos be more effective.Trapp notes that one person’s definition of a tall man might be 5 feet 11 inches, while another’s might be 6 feet 9 inches. “When you’re writing a credit memo, think about the phrase, ‘significant decline in revenue.’ Stay away from that adjective and instead, give more facts,” she says.Avoiding jargon is another way to make credit memos clearer and thus, more effective. It might be tempting in some industries, such as healthcare or technology, to use a lot of jargon, but that might make it difficult for those outside the industry to follow along, and it might be cluttering up the content.Effective credit memos are conciseTrapp says focusing on your audience or audiences and their needs will help shape the content of the memo.Remember that only the salient points need to be included. One common problem with credit memos is that the writers don’t edit out unnecessary information.“You can’t put everything in there and expect your approver to pull out the relevant points just because you want to cover your bases,” she says. “It’s part of your job to make sure your approvers know what the key elements are to the credit memo.”Being concise also means choosing words carefully and using the fewest words without sacrificing clarity, she says. Reviewing the memo for opportunities to use simpler words is another idea. “Maybe in college or high school you were incentivized to use more words to get to the word count,” Trapp says. “That’s not the point of a credit memo.”Effective credit memos are relevantWhat are the relevant points to include in a credit memo? Trapp recommends looking for the drivers or impacts of various data points, because they usually tell a story. One way to identify the drivers, she says, is to repeatedly ask and answer the question “why?” In other words, if sales for the member went up, describe why. If it was because customers bought more, describe why. If that was because a new version of the product was delivered, describe why. After doing that, the credit memo might, therefore, describe the driver of a sales increase by saying, “Sales went up because customers wanted the additional features in the new version.”Asking “so what?” helps identify impacts. For example, by asking and answering that question about cash flow, the memo writer might be able to explain that the applicant’s cash flow decreased in the period despite a sales increase due to a new, bigger customer with longer payment terms than the typical customer.Effective credit memos are organizedMost listeners and readers tend to remember most accurately the first and last things they hear or read. Organizing credit memos with that in mind can help create more effective credit memos.Trapp says a potential executive summary at the beginning of a memo could include the recommendation, why the credit union would want to make the loan, what could go wrong and the transaction structure. At the end of the memo, the risk rating analysis could include an affirmation of the rating, the positives and negatives, and the triggers to change the rating, assuming a pass rating for a new deal.Surprisingly, many credit unions are still creating credit memos by copying and pasting information from previous documents and from their various data sources. Some might use and re-use templates this way, but that still requires proofreading to make sure a previous client’s data wasn’t inadvertently left in a field.Often, credit unions will use an old version of a credit memo and just add a new section to it, without cutting anything, and this can contribute to excessively long memos.Using an automated credit memo solution that allows the credit union to customize the memo template helps standardize credit memos, which can be helpful in some cases. Loan committee members who always know where to look in a memo for certain information may be able to review memos more efficiently.An automated solution for credit memos can also make it easy to review the format periodically to make sure the template is streamlined and meets the needs of the various audiences. Doing this annually is a good idea, Trapp says.“Understand why you organize the credit memo the way you do,” she says. “Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense according to the four best practices.” 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mary Ellen Biery Mary Ellen Biery is a Senior Writer and Content Specialist at Abrigo. Mary Ellen is a veteran financial reporter whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones … Details