Tom Garrity

Understanding New Mexico’s Trust Deficit in our Legal System

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2015 at 4:51 am

The slaying of Rio Rancho Police Officer Gregg Benner has generated significant criticism of the courts and justice system. Based on media reports, and admissions by various agencies, the suspect, Andrew Romero, slipped through and took advantage of “the system” to go on his crime spree, which resulted in the death of Officer Benner.

Public outrage toward the entities responsible for Romero’s release is intense. Flaws throughout the system all seemed to manifest in this one case. There were apparent issues with crime scene evidence, a judge was reportedly on leave for a time, the district attorney lacked experience, and the driver for a halfway house never showed up to pick up Romero.

Since 2011, New Mexico residents have been losing trust in judges, police officers, and lawyers, as well as losing favor with the courts and justice system. According to the Garrity Perception Survey, a scientific report conducted by Research & Polling, nearly all of the professions and institutions connected to the justice system have also seen an increase in distrust and unfavorable perceptions.

New Mexico residents’ favorability of the courts and justice system has dropped two points to 34 percent (2011-2015). During that same timeframe, the percentage of residents with an unfavorable perception has increased four points to 33 percent. Police officers, although gaining a lot of the trust lost in previous years, has seen trust slip by a point since 2011 to 54 percent; however, dis-trust among New Mexico residents has increased seven points to 26 percent in 2015. One of the largest increases of distrust among all professions surveyed.

Based on the research, only one of the institutions or professions are favored or trusted by New Mexico residents (meaning they failed to pass the 50 percent mark).

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, “when a company is distrusted, 57 percent of people will believe negative information after hearing it just one or two times. Conversely, when companies are trusted, 51 percent of people believe positive information about the company after hearing it just one or two times.”

It will take increased transparency coupled with an explanation of how “the system” operates for the courts and justice system to stem the tide of unfavorable perceptions and increased dis-trust among New Mexico residents. Often, providing insight about why things are the way they are provides peace of mind and starts to neutralize negativity.

CU Gibberish

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

Ol MacDonald Credit Union

When picking up a race packet for a weekend 10K, I noticed a variety of things. A nice pen/stylus with the name of the event sponsor, a map of the course as well as promotions for a local restaurant and health club. Oh, there was also a brochure for Kasasa.

Kasa what?

Evidently, this is a trend for banks and credit unions. Instead of increasing relevance the old fashioned way by earning the customer’s trust, at least 230 credit unions across the United States (according to the ABQJournal) decided it would be best to confuse their customer by changing their institutions’ names to made up words.

What is a made up word? It is the letter version of “word salad”, gibberish. The kind of word that is not allowed in “Words with Friends.“

This article in The Financial Brand outlines a few of the gibberish heros. Comstar changed their name to an anagram of money, NYMEO. Another was Wynadotte FCU (which is one of the more challenging to spell) that changed to NuPath.

Recently, a credit union I use, changed their name from New Mexico Educators FCU to NUSENDA Credit Union. I first heard about the change through twitter then called my commercial banker to find out what the name change was all about. Was it a merger or acquisition? Are there any new services or member benefits? Does it mean that new branches are going to open near me? Is the artificial sweetener Splenda at play? Or was it a computer hack and all a bad dream?

The answer, “it was just a name change.” Really? A name change brought to us by the same industry that took years to depart from neck ties to open collared shirts because it was concerned the move might be seen as “radical” decides to change their name to a made up word?

It was either a so-called “branding expert” or a focus group gone wild that resulted in names like Kasasa, Nusenda and Nymeo.

Here is some free advice for any CEO considering a name change to either a made up or existing word: first focus on improving customer service and increasing relevance to your community. If things don’t turn around change your name or sell the business.

Will New Mexico’s Empty Churches Go on Sale?

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2015 at 6:17 pm

An article in the Wall Street Journal this morning caught my attention and held it (yes sometimes I am a headline scanner): Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale.

The article by Naftali Bendavid provided insight on the flight of worshipers, resulting in the closure of churches around Europe.

Here is one paragraph from the story that jumped out to me: The Church of England closes about 20 churches a year. Roughly 200 Danish churches have been deemed nonviable or underused. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has shut about 515 churches in the past decade.

The article is worth a read; the paragraph doesn’t do it justice. A copy of the full article is here (subscription required): http://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-empty-churches-go-on-sale-1420245359

The article ends with a quote from an overseer of a vacant church: “But there are not worshipers anymore.”

The article prompted me to see how the favorability of church/organized religion and trust of religious leaders are faring in the eyes of New Mexico residents. Those are two of the institutions and professions tracked annually in the Garrity Perception Survey.

Based on third party surveys of New Mexico residents, with a 95 percent confidence level, the church/organized religion and religious leaders have pause for concern.

In 2011, 69 percent of New Mexico residents had a favorable view of the “Church or Organized Religion.” That is a good thing for those attached to the institution. Since then, it has all been downhill. According to the 2014 survey, only 59 percent of residents are favorable toward the “Church or Organized Religion.” A drop of 10 percent.

Meanwhile trust of “Pastors, Priests or Other Religious Leaders.” Has seen an even larger decline than favorability of the Church.

In 2011, 67 percent of New Mexico residents trusted “Pastors, Priests or Other Religious Leaders.” In 2014, that number is 52 percent. New Mexico residents’ trust of religious leaders has dropped 15 percent over the last four years.

Breaking down the four year numbers by region reveals that residents Southwest (-23%) and North Central (-21%) are losing trust of “Pastors, Priests or Other Religious Leaders” at a faster rate than those in other parts of New Mexico.

What does all of this mean? New Mexico religions institutions need to heed what is happening overseas and find ways to be relevant or face a possible similar fate as their brethren Europe.

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