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Bob Meyer

Beyond The Limits Of Cash or Credit

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The weekly newsletter for everyone interested in barter--the world's most versatile business tool!

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October 8, 2002

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

Barter Industry Veteran's Reaction To Recent Conventions

(The following was an e-mail received by BarterNews.)

I left Montreal with little enthusiasm and many questions. Soon upon my arrival (in Florida for the Crump and IRTA conventions) I found myself in the company of others sharing some of my thoughts. Yes, we had a line-up of great motivational speakers, inhaled some good ideas and touched upon a number of problems.

By the end of the convention--barterers are highly motivated entrepreneurs--we had picked ourselves up and were singing our praises together. But basically very little had changed during those few days. It seems to me that North America has lost touch with the rest of the world and the rest of the world is ignoring us.

These days I am taking my inspiration from the #1 trade exchange in the world, the WIR Bank of Basel, Switzerland. As of June 30, 2002 they had a client base of 79,000, an impressive balance sheet of 1.649 Billion Swiss Francs and are treating the "Trade Franc" as an equal to the "Cash Franc." Moreover 20% of all mid-sized businesses are WIR Bank clients. All of it in a country with a population of 7 million people.

Here are some of my observations and my thoughts of what needs to be done by the commercial barter industry:

Transparency and "Zero" Balance Accounting
We are third party bookkeepers but we are also the custodian of our clients' balances. This is not a poker game. We owe it to our present and future clients to have a very transparent balance sheet.

One Trade Dollar = One Cash Dollar
Stop treating trade currencies as funny money or some kind of a coupon. Let's not borrow from the exchange unless we have the means to pay it back.

Cash and Trade Blend is acceptable
A camera store has a different product cost than a lawyer. Why should one not be able to recover that cost before trading. We will open the door to many more new clients.

Charge Cash Interest on borrowed Trade Dollars
Encourage our clients to borrow from the exchange but insist on bank like security and then charge cash on all outstanding loans (the spread between the lending and borrowing rate). We might be able to eliminate that horrible maintenance fee.

Eliminate the Password on your Website
If we are so proud of our organization then we should show the rest of the world who our clients are. We might attract some more good clients.

The website of WIR Bank will not help you very much unless you speak one of their languages - French, Italian or German -

Herbert Teichmann
COMTEX Trade Exchange
Montreal, QC, Canada

Open Spectrum Will Change Media Game In Another 5-10 Year

An exciting new technology, called Open Spectrum, will soon see "smart" transmitters listening to the airwaves (for radio and TV signals) and then be able to change the way signals are transmitted. In other words, if one part of the spectrum is busy the signals will be routed elsewhere.

No interference problem means there would no longer be a need to divide up the spectrum. And when the bandwidth-scarcity problems vanish, the sky would be the limit...which would certainly affect the pricing of media.

Experts contend the total usable spectrum is so vast it could accommodate everything anyone would want to do. For example, the line of numbers on a car AM radio measures off just a sliver of the spectrum. To measure the entire usable spectrum at the same scale, the radio's display would need to be 20 miles wide!

Can The Barter Industry Emulate The Yankees By Building A Brand For The Ages?

Even though the Yankees were eliminated by the Anaheim Angels last week in this year's playoffs, invariably, when baseball's fall classic--the World Series--comes around, one team usually appears. The New York Yankees, a team with 26 World Series titles, the greatest sports dynasty in American history!

The Yankees are baseball's most successful organization--both on and off the diamond. And it's not because they have savvy marketing...or wear hip uniforms. (The Yankee uniforms haven't changed much since the 1920s.)

It's because they deliver a winning product and have the type of organization that people fight to work for, because it is a privilege and an honor to do so.

The bottomline is they produce. Big time. We in the commercial barter industry can emulate the Yankees by building our own tradition. Our challenge as an industry is to earn respect in the business marketplace. That's accomplished through performance, not fast talk.


More valuable contacts for you! All Barter Companies in Australia and Canada are now listed on our web site. Check it out!


For 541 Barter Companies in the USA, click here.

Looking Back...January 25, 2000

We looked at how to focus your marketing efforts, cash and trade, where they will do the most good.

Plus an article on how Powersoft founder Mitchell Kertzman bartered his programming talents in the early days when he had no money. He later sold out for $950 million!

Real Estate Watch! Home Foreclosures Hit 30-Year High, Land Values In State Of Volatility, And Refinancing Rates Significant

Even with mortgage rates at record lows, mortgage delinquencies are increasing and home foreclosures have climbed to all-time highs, according to data released this month by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

The biggest culprit: rising unemployment, with sinking stock portfolios, and easy financing contributing. In fact, behind it all is the proliferation of non-traditional loan programs (which mushroomed as mortgage rates sank) enticing borrowers into taking on more debt then they could handle.

Real estate values are based on many things, one of which is the plot of land it sits on, as well as the costs of building materials, supply and demand, and the economy. However, the value of land appears to be more volatile than the value of bricks and mortar...therefore the areas of the country with the highest land values will be most susceptible to a downturn.

Refinancing home mortgages accounted for 77% of all mortgage applications in September, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, and they are at the highest level ever in more than a decade of record keeping.

Bill Gross, manager of the world's biggest bond fund, Pimco ($60 billion), says " if the American refinancing boom ends before a new investment boom begins, we are in a world of hurt."

Refinancing has given consumers more money to spend through lower mortgage payments and by cashing-out on the equity they have in their homes.

A common sense observation on the real estate upswing is that housing prices have stretched in almost perfect proportion with interest rates declines, i.e. someone who could have afforded a $200,000 home two years ago (when rates were higher) can now afford a home approaching $300,000.

This simple fact, however, doesn't necessarily mean that it's worth what you paid for it. Any more than the stocks you purchased in early 2000 were worth what they were selling for.

And it is a fact that never in our history has housing cost Americans more of their disposable income than it does right now. So it remains to be seen if the recent run-up in values can be sustained.

Our "Focus On Excellence" section, in the current issue of BarterNews, looks at Stephen Webster's Alliance Barter. You can see what's made this 22-year-old company such a success, as well as what he believes will be needed to propel them forward. CLICK HERE.

How many back issues of BarterNews have you read? Did you know that the cover of every issue ever published is found on our "Issues" page?

Here And There. . .
  • The largest barter clearing system in the world--Crump Barter--is moving forward to create greater liquidity and efficiency within their system. Negative balance accounts will now be charged an interest fee, in addition to a requirement of having to supply the system with a list of products/services (five new availabilities) every month. Although transaction fees will remain unchanged, monthly service fees will be taking on more of a cash component. For more information:

  • This week marks Dean Hnilica's 20th year in the barter business. Hnilica, of, was the 501st client in Sue Groenwald's Chicago Barter Corp. back when he worked in his family's shoe repair business. After bartering over $32,000 of services in their initial year of business, Dean joined the Chicago Barter staff and hit the street selling for them. He's also worked with Jack Schacht's Illinois Trade Exchange.

  • Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Harold Rice, founder of the American Exchange Network, 912 E. 63rd St. #200, Kansas City, MO 64110. Rice is well known within the industry for his tax knowledge.

  • Although small businesses nationwide account for more than half the private-sector jobs and gross domestic product, they receive only 16.7% of federal contract dollars.

  • What's the top destination for trade shows and conventions? According to Tradeshow Week, a publication that tracks the industry, Las Vegas draws 20% of the market, with Chicago a distant #2 at 11%. (Las Vegas has been the top drawing city for the commercial barter industry's annual conventions...both NATE & IRTA.)

  • Have you signed up to receive a summary via e-mail of the Tuesday Report every week? If not, go to the top of this issue (right hand corner) to sign up!

  • The stock market's evolution is exemplified by the fact that program trading--he purchase or sale of 15 or more stocks valued at $1 million or more--now accounts for 27.8% of the NYSE volume. (In 1989 program trading accounted for 9.9%.)

    P.S. If you thought September's market decline was a bit harsh, you're right! The 12.37% Dow Jones Industrial Average decline was the worst September since 1937, 65 years ago.

This Issue's Glossary of Terms:

Free and Clear:
A property that has no indebtedness.

The expiration date of a due bill or scrip.

We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
? Copyright BarterNews 2003. Redistribution of BarterNews content expressly prohibited without the prior written permission of BarterNews.