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Norm Appelman, one of the STLTMA founders and AFP founders as well as  President of both at one time, shared the message below with AFP prior to its 2020 Virtual Conference.  The AFP has added Norm’s message their Board meeting minutes.  Everyone can benefit from Norm’s insights. 


The past is mine, the present is ours, but the future is yours.” A statement I’ve made many times during my numerous talks. However, today I’m not so much interested in the past and only mildly interested in the present. My excitement and interest is in what’s to come. The future. Anyone who would like to hear more about those early years, I’ll be glad to oblige them. Stories that sometimes forecasted failure and success at the same time. During those first few years it was touch and go financially and professionally for our Association. It was a period that saw our members go from a group of accountants to a qualified, tested, and recognized group of professionals.

It was a period when Cash Managers became heroes to their companies. Each dollar payment delayed or each dollar received quicker had a 20 percent annual pretax interest rate value to their companies. Additionally the banks were breaking their necks to come up with even more new techniques to increase the value of both incoming and outgoing dollars. Another helper was the Federal Reserve as they gave banks and their customer’s value in 2 days. This, even though the actual presentment time required could be 3, 4, 5 days. An expense and benefit the Fed did little to reduce for many years.

I am very pleased to have this opportunity to reach you today, made possible in part, because of the current health crisis and the new contact technologies. Also, due to my 94 advancing years, direct contact has made it more difficult for me to attend face to face meetings. These past few years and many more before, are full of memories about this Association. For example, on June 16, 2005 in St. Louis, Mo, I was personally awarded a 25 Year Certificate of Appreciation by Jim Kaitz, our President of the AFP along with a designated 25 year lapel pin. So 25 plus 15 adds up to at least 40 years. Enough time for a lot of memories. 

As I think back for a minute, I recall the mad dashes during a break at our annual conferences to the telephones to check on cash activity. This was all done with phones that hung on walls in the hotel area set aside for phones. When the usual transfers where needed, calls to banks with detailed instructions including account numbers were discussed on phones. Instructions easily overheard. That was later corrected through the use of an approved set of detailed instructions for each transfer. Each instruction was assigned a three digit code number. All that was needed from then on was the amount and the code number. Not only a preventive security break, but a long distance telephone cost reduction to boot.

Today’s goals include maximum levels of liquidity and an assurance that each dollar is paid and received securely. Easily said, difficult to accomplish. During this virus epidemic, we see more people working from home. That could mean less cyber protection and more exposure to attackers. Literally hundreds if not thousands of individuals are working here in the U.S. and in foreign countries attacking the systems daily we use to do our jobs.  One successful attack could mean millions or billions of dollars in stolen rewards or worse still, the collapse or ruin of a company and/or an individual.

Other much more sophisticated techniques have been developed to help ensure and enhance privacy.  Message encoding, which I taught in WWII is in use. Special call back routines to ensure identities.  Another, is the use of the “cloud”. The cloud and Blockchain have become a popular method. A myriad of companies spending billions in research to help. So what’s next?

What could the future look like? Could another currency be the preferred method of value like the “Bit-Coin”?  Could the Fed find ways and reasons to exit their settlement responsibilities as they continue to exit their vault cash responsibilities? Could one mind reach another, foregoing the need for an internet or cell phone? Over the past few years, experiments for speech handicapped individuals have successfully been concluded show that thoughts, messages, etc. can be transmitted from one human to another by brain waves.

I can only dream about it, you can do something about it. I do know that the vehicle we can use is the AFP. It has representation, 23,000 members; it has world recognition 63 countries. And it has an executive group both voluntary and paid that know the problems, the need for action, and the dedication to find the answers. I can only hope I will be allowed to read about it, see it work, and use the new tools

Thanks for your time, your interest, and your faith in the future..


The St. Louis Treasury Management Association
Celebrates 40 Years - Spring Conference 2017


40 years have passed since less than a dozen local Treasury Professionals met in a company board room to talk about cash management. Today we are part not only of a National Association but an International one. An association recognized by companies, by our government, and with the help of Jim Kaitz, President and CEO of the AFP, by countries around the world.

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