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     Opinions, & Observations on the Business of Banking...  And Other Musings... !

Just to summarize “Hard Knocks – Part 1”, my career as a wholesale carpet rep was in the toilet. It was causing problems at home as well. Thankfully, somewhere along the line I picked up this maxim: 
“Fifty one percent of smart is knowing what you’re dumb at.”

I needed expert help. My sales manager, after cancelling several times with “something came up” bad excuses, eventually made good on his threat to make
CaliDesertt sales calls with me in my territory, the “Kite” (Pomona and east into the high desert of S. California). He was a carpet encyclopedia (ad infinitum), the epitome of arrogance, and a stuffed shirt. He for sure would alienate my red neck clients – absolutely not a good fit. How could I put this guy on ice? A BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) came to me – turn up the heat! “Jim, you can’t avoid this gig. But, maybe a few calls in the “garden spots” of the high desert - Victorville, 29 Palms, Barstow, and China Lake - can put the kibosh on any repeats.” Oh, did I mention it was August?

August in Los Angeles is “toasty”; in the high desert try blast furnace! And, the A/C was out on my Chevy wagon! The strategy worked - oh, yeah, did it ever - only one sales call that day (the boss couldn’t take it). A few weeks later the store owner politely confirmed my assessment of the boss, “Actually, Jim, you don’t need his help.”
I determined that a more helpful resource would be one of my competitor reps. He sold 4 to 5 times what I did. All of us were jealous. To get his advice I’d have to eat some serious crow. No big deal, I’d sort of developed a taste for crow - ate it every day! Everyone already knew I was low man in the territory. So, I bought him lunch one day and asked the burning question, “How do you do it?”, expecting a long harangue like what my boss would spout. Instead, he gave me this:

“Johnny likes what Johnny buys when I see Johnny through Johnny’s eyes.”CHevyWagon
Your reaction was probably the same as mine; "That's really corny!" You're right; its big time corny…but amazingly PROFOUND. It started me on a quest to dig deeper, to find the secret that would uncover the “Johnny likes” item - or items - my clients wanted. It couldn’t be the carpet or the price points. All the brands were pretty much the same. So, what was the silver bullet?
When the light finally broke through it was a huge wake up BFO, and so dang simple. “Jim, this man is a pro.” His reputation is quality customer service - to the extreme, and way beyond expectations. Any and every concern, especially any complaint, is dealt with immediately. In short, he is obsessed with the little stuff. I told myself, “Jim, go and do thou likewise.” So, I did – and it worked!
Stay tuned.


Marilyn Barnewall helped MICR Prime get going way back when it was just a dream. Her world view, banking knowledge and hours of personal counseling have kept us focused. Thank you, my friend.

neckblackswanflightblackswanFair warning – you won’t be able to put these books down. And, you will be amazed at how many of the fictionalized events in When the Swan’s Neck Breaks, published in 2008, still pop up as headline stories on the nightly news. The sequel, Flight of the Black Swan, continues the spellbinding saga of Meredith and Alex who, together with former covert Intelligence operative William Leonard and retired CIA agent Jake McGregor, set about implementing an extremely dangerous counter-plot to thwart enemies, both foreign and domestic, hell-bent on bringing America to her financial knees. 

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to enrapture the mind, much like an artist wields a brush. Until recently, she wrote non-fiction exclusively for the banking industry. She has consulted for and given speeches to bankers around the world. Who better to write a book about America's central banking system, fiat currency, fractional-reserve banking -- and, espionage? 


stopsignwolfYears ago I was failing miserably working as a wholesale rep for a carpet mill in S. California covering a territory called the “Kite”. Back then the “Kite” (Pomona and east into the high desert) was, shall we say, the “less sophisticated” part of the S. California market. That has all changed; now it is fully developed and very upscale. But, when I was doing the gig it was different – real different -- lots of open country between population centers – sagebrush, cactus, tumbleweeds, road runners, coyotes, and jackrabbits. And, it was dusty all the time, unless it was raining. Then it was muddy, unless it was summer. Then it was hot, like plus 100 degrees hot. Now that’s HOT!
There were no cell phones back then, just pay phones. The company didn’t let us call collect -- bunch of tightwads – so you either carried a sack of change with you or used a customer’s phone to get messages and left a buck for the long distance charges. Just the gas and car repairs on my “land schooner” Chevy station wagon were eating me alive and, the A/C was kaput. The required uniform of the day was coat and tie, of course -- you know professional appearance and all. Needless to say there was an excessive amount of BO to deal with.
Alternating PB&J with baloney sandwich sack lunches didn’t do much to brighten the day. Then the better half started to exhibit a dark side tosandwitch her persona, to put it delicately. She was not happy!
So, here I was, a green as grass rookie wholesale carpet rep (all I knew was the fuzzy side went up) beating my brains out trying to make a living selling high end Beverly Hills fancy-schmancy carpet to a bunch of red necks. I was desperate!

In hindsight it’s all a big chuckle, but back then it was real serious stuff for our family. It is amazing what we endure when we are young, ambitious, and ignorant of life’s realities. I wouldn’t trade the experience for a million bucks, and I never want to go through it again at any price! On the other hand, the lessons I learned and how I learned them are still with me even after all these years. Here are two of the more significant maxims:
  1. Fifty-one percent of being smart is to know what you’re dumb at.
  2. Johnny likes what Johnny buys when I see Johnny through Johnny’s eyes.
Our next post, HARD KNOCKS - Part Two
This will be the rest of my sales rep “adventure”– it’s a hoot! You will see how the “Being Smart” and “Johnny Likes” maxims helped save the day and then became cornerstone principles as we launched MICR Prime Services, Inc. And, you will hear how an optometrist friend helped me “see the light”, so to speak, about human nature and creating friendships.

Till then, we would love your input on the two maxims. Give us your best thoughts. We would love to hear what you have to say.


blogTalkBlog Introduction

Welcome...to Jim's Journal... The Business of Banking Blog !

WHO WE ARE… MICR Prime has a 15-year history of success marketing simple desk top MICR Document Production systems to the financial industry that eliminate the expense and delivery delays of out-sourced vendor services.

OBJECTIVE...We want this blog to be a trusted resource where free flowing discussion generates real world solutions that improve bottom line profits for our friends in the financial services industry.

CONTENT…Most people learn and retain concepts best when they are encapsulated in stories. So, that is how we plan to “seed” discussion -- entertaining content that holds your interest followed by “teaser” previews of upcoming topics. Like this one --- you will love the 2 nail-bitter novels we highlight in our next post. You will be surprised at how politically prophetic they were - and are - when you look back at when they first were published. There is financial industry espionage, human clones, global intrigue, romance -- and never imagined "behind the curtain" stuff that will have you scratching your head and asking, "Is this reallly the way things work?" You might even be motivated to do some research of your own.

Here are a few other topics that we have scheduled:

  • The MICRQuick, CheckPro alternative
  • How does fee income impact asset ratios?
  • Who uses paper checks these days?



MICR Prime Services, Inc. has updated the QuickChecks and Official Check modules of its in-house MICR Document Production System to meet electronic image processing requirements of the ECCB  (central bank) in the islands of the Eastern Caribbean.

  • Added Stamp Duty Paid logo
  • Removed and/or reconfigured 4 graphic image items to facilitate image processing
  • Set up the MICR line according to the required ECCB standards













Welcome to MICRBlog !

blogTalkTo our "Long Time MICR Prime Fans", we now have our own integrated blog on our web-site,.  So look here in the future for breaking news and updates, customer support information, and new product and service announcements.

Jim Romig, President

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