Early in my career, I had the honor of working for one of the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks, which are U.S. government-sponsored banks providing liquidity to the members of financial institutions to support housing finance and community investment. The banks’ members include thrift institutions, commercial banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and certified community development financial institutions. It was my second job out of college and first job in the financial arena after working in the newspaper industry.
Fish out of water would be an apt description of my first year persevering my way through balance sheets and income statements. I went from word smithery to number enumerating and my twice-taken college algebra class (one in three college students fail that course by the way) was not sufficient when called on to proof the bank’s annual report.
Thankfully I wasn’t alone. And thus two coworkers and I were encouraged to attend a weeklong training session titled, “Numbers for Word People.” As much as I have laughed about the assumptions the course title implied, the training improved my understanding of financials and best practices for fact-checking numbers. Well most of the time …
In April’s issue, we published “The History of Hydro” article that included statistics on the Hoover Dam — specifically we noted in a caption that the power it generates is used by 1.3 billion people in Nevada, Arizona and California. Instead, the caption should have read “1.3 million” people. The graphic at left is the correction a reader shared with us. I regret the error, and my lapse in math skills, and appreciate hearing from readers who caught the mistake.