Coronavirus shuts down small businesses, say Yelp and Womply

For seven years, Maxine Sheaffer owned an art studio in Philadelphia Manayunk Section, where budding painters went to take courses and workshops. Her studio, Art on Main, was a gathering place to explore creativity, said Sheaffer, 39, who ran the business with her husband and a part-time worker.

Sheaffer’s studio closed in mid-March after Governor Tom Wolf ordered temporary shutdowns of businesses deemed non-essential because the spread of wildfire-like COVID-19 made gatherings unsafe. Sheaffer lost his clients and couldn’t earn enough on art commissions to pay the bills. She made the difficult choice in May to shut down Art on Main forever.

“It was very difficult,” said Sheaffer. “All you can do is hope that in the future this is not going to continue.”

Sheaffer’s studio is among thousands of small stores, salons, studios and restaurants that could not survive the pandemic. In the Philadelphia area, at least 252 businesses closed permanently between March 1 and July 10, according to Yelp, the business listing and rating website. This tally is almost certainly an undercount, as it only includes businesses that have reported their closures on Yelp.

More small businesses are expected to go bankrupt after resisting the first five months of the pandemic, said the experts. Running a small business is tough enough in the good times, but now they are navigating government restrictions, cautious consumers, and widespread remote working that has reduced foot traffic in the city center, experts have said.

“LEARN MORE: What happens to the attractiveness of the neighborhood if the coronavirus permanently shuts down small businesses?

The widespread loss of so many small businesses is not only a concern for individual owners, but will also slow a broader recovery, said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics, a Bucks County consultancy firm. “It will contribute to the problems of trying to grow the economy at a rapid rate, because it will increase the unemployment rate.”

Small businesses collectively employ nearly half of all private sector workers nationwide and account for 44% of economic output, according to the Small Business Administration. In 2017, a large majority of businesses in the Philadelphia area were classified as small, with 99.7% employing fewer than 500 people, while 53.7% employed fewer than five people, according to the Greater Philadelphia Economic League.

Jennifer Kinka saw her staff grow from 21 to seven after closing two of the three storefronts at Nesting House, a retail business she started in 2010 to offer cloth diapers, wooden toys and baby clothes. other durable childcare items for new parents. Although the company has an online presence, most sales are done in-store and foot traffic was suddenly only a fraction of what it was before the pandemic, she said. Kinka made the difficult choice to shut down its South and West Philly locations in mid-May, leaving only one Mount Airy store.

“I woke up with a stomach ache when I realized I was going to have to remove them from the communities,” she said. “There were many, many people relying on them, but our hands were tied.”

“LEARN MORE: Coronavirus forces small businesses to shut down permanently: ‘There is nothing we can do’

It is impossible to get a definitive tally of local businesses that closed during the pandemic. Representatives of state and city government agencies, chambers of commerce and local trade associations said no agency or group was keeping the numbers.

And any count of failed businesses will likely be missing from those operated only by owners. Consultants, independent contractors and “solopreneurs” – who run stores themselves – are often not considered small businesses because they have no employees, said Maura Shenker, director of the Small Business Development Center. of Temple. In addition, there is an informal economy of businesses that operate without a license, such as those that lack their owners, she said.

Yet some companies have tried to quantify the damage. Including the temporary closures, there were 2,053 businesses in the Philadelphia metro area that were still closed as of July 10, Yelp said. Yelp declined to share the total number of Philadelphia-area businesses in its database.

The number of small businesses opened in the Philadelphia metropolitan area fell 15% between January and July 24, according to data from San Francisco software company Womply, released by Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-backed research group.

Womply has tracked the transactions of just under 9,000 businesses in the Philadelphia area and counts the businesses as closed if they haven’t seen a debit or credit card transaction for at least three consecutive days. The 15% drop represents about 1,350 businesses in the Philadelphia area that have remained closed since January.

The leisure and hospitality industry has been hit hardest, with the number of businesses opening in this sector falling by almost 21%. Education and health services activities have fallen 33% since January.

Retailing and restaurants were the worst during the pandemic, according to national data from Yelp. Between March 1 and June 15, more than 27,600 retail stores closed temporarily or permanently, followed by nearly 24,000 restaurants. About 20% of all closures were retail, and 35% of them are permanent, Yelp said.

Small businesses face the additional challenge of having fewer resources than large businesses. Small businesses often carry enough cash to last a month and don’t have as much access to credit or loans as large businesses, Temple’s Shenker said.

Government grants and loans – like the federal paycheck protection program – have kept many small businesses afloat. Over five million PPP loans totaling over $ 521 billion have been approved as of July 31, according to the SBA. But once that money is used up, more small businesses will close, said Naroff, the Bucks County economist.

“LEARN MORE: Small minority-owned businesses have largely been excluded from Pennsylvania’s first coronavirus loan program

Not everyone has the same access to these vital loans, some advocates have said. Jennifer Rodriguez, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, has worked with companies that have struggled to apply for loans or grants and struggled to transition to virtual platforms. Rodriguez notes that low- and middle-income communities “are not turning to technology and online shopping at the same rate as better-off communities.” This means that their business models still have a strong need for in-person interaction.

She is also concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the local hospitality industry. “The Latino is the backbone of this industry, with both workers and owners,” she said. “For our community, it would be really, really devastating to see these businesses fail.”

National data from Yelp shows the biggest peaks in permanent closings were in March, followed by May and June. This suggests that businesses that were already struggling to shut down right away, and then businesses that tried to hang on, have been forced to shut down in recent months, Yelp said in a recent report.

Shelley Marine and Karen Cooke are affectionately known to their clients as the Shiva Ladies. They own In Time of Need, a two-person business that helps plan shivas, funerals, and memorial services in the Philadelphia area.

Marine said they were getting two or three calls a week before the pandemic, but their phones stopped ringing once restrictions were placed on large gatherings. They have been out of work since March 11.

In Time of Need has been in business since 2010, but Marine isn’t sure how long it can last. What bothers Marine the most is not the potential loss of the business, but the inability to help the community.

“This is the time when everyone needs it, and there is nothing we can do about it,” she said.

Eden and Cypress secure a construction loan for the Tamarac multifamily

Eden Multifamily leads Jay Massirman and Jay Jacobson with Michael Sorochinsky, CEO of Cypress Equity Investments (courtesy of MSA Architects)

Eden Multifamily and Cypress Equity Investments have started building a Tamarac multi-family complex, having secured a $ 23.7 million construction loan and a $ 8.6 million preferred stock investment.

The joint venture, which works as CE Development Partners, is developing the 212 Eden West units at the northeast corner of West McNab and North Pine Island roads. The garden-style project is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2022.

Wells Fargo issued the senior construction loan and Chevy Chase, a Maryland-based private real estate investor, FCP, provided $ 8.6 million in preferred stock, according to press releases.

Property records show that Eden Multifamily-related CE Tamarac purchased the 6.2 acres at 8501-8795 West McNab Road in September 2019 for $ 3.4 million.

Coconut Grove-based Eden Multifamily led by Jay Massirman and Jay Jacobson in November 2018 offers replacing the existing Colony West Shopping Plaza with an apartment complex. The previous owner had already demolished part of the mall.

Eden Multifamily, founded in 2015, is a residential developer and investor that has built more than 24,000 units and, through a subsidiary, manages nearly 25,000 units in six states, according to the release.

Los Angeles-based Cypress Equity, led by founder Michael Sorochinsky, is a commercial real estate investor that focuses on multi-family, according to its website. Since its creation in 2001, it has developed or invested in more than 12,000 units nationwide.

Eden West will have two four-story buildings offering studios and one- to three-bedroom apartments, ranging from 598 square feet to 1,388 square feet, the statement said. Units will have floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, washers and dryers, white quartz countertops in kitchens and bedrooms, and wood plank floors in kitchens and living rooms.

Community facilities will include a 24-hour gym that will show exercise videos, a saltwater swimming pool and a veranda with an outdoor kitchen and grills.

Also in Tamarac, Plans of the houses on the 13th floor 397 detached houses on both Woodlands Country Club golf courses at 4600 Woodland Hills Boulevard.

Financing for multi-family construction has increased slightly. Last week Terra and New Valley scored a $ 64.8 million ready for 460 Natura Gardens units in northwest Miami-Dade County; and affiliate development grabbed a $ 34.1 million loan for her mixed-income 200-unit bohemian in Lake Worth Beach.

Ohio man arrested after threatening to burn down Michigan elementary school, police say

PORT HURON, MI – An Ohio man was arrested after allegedly threatening to burn down an elementary school in Port Huron.

Dominik Hricovsky, 32, of Ohio, was arraigned Sunday February 28 for threat of terrorism, use of a firearm in or in a building, two counts of firearm, felon in possession of ‘a gun, resistance and obstruction and repeat offender. notice of fourth offense.

Cleveland Elementary School in Port Huron was put under lockdown on the morning of Wednesday, February 24, after police received several calls from a man threatening to burn down the school.

About an hour after the school was closed, police discovered it was Hricovsky who had called from the 2700 block of Nern Street. When officers attempted to place him under arrest, Hricovsky attempted to flee and fight the officers, police said.

Officers deployed a Taser and took him into custody. During Friday’s investigation, detectives learned that Hricovsky also shot through the apartment window, police said.

Lockdown on Cleveland Elementary School ended after Hricovsky’s arrest.

Hricovsky received a bond of $ 250,000. The date for its probable causes conference is set for Tuesday, March 9, with a preliminary review scheduled for Tuesday, March 16. He is also on parole in Ohio.

Anyone with information on the situation is asked to call CAPTURE at 810-987-6688. Anonymous advice can be provided by texting CAPTURE and a tip to 847411 or downloading the Port Huron PD app. Advice can also be emailed to

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Choose the right CD term to maximize your savings

If you have some cash that you would like to put to work and are ready to do so by purchasing a Certificate of Deposit (CD) – congratulations! We love when people use their money wisely and profitably.

Selecting a CD as a return-generating investment, however, is only the first step. You also need to decide on a CD term. Whether you consider short-term and long-term CD options depends on your specific needs. It also depends on how long you are willing to lock in your money. CD durations can last from one month to five years and beyond. The right one for you might not be the one with the best CD rates.

Read on to learn some CD basics to weigh the benefits of a CD in the short term versus the long term.

What is a short term CD?

CD durations tend to vary from three months to five years, although there are increasingly longer durations on either side of this duration. That is why it is a good idea to check out both short term and long term CD options.

A short term CD has a duration of three to 12 months. Shorter CD terms generally offer a lower interest rate due to the short term commitment.

What is a long term CD?

A long-term CD is on the opposite side of the spectrum from its short-term sibling. Although some issuers have different criteria for what constitutes a “long term,” the generally accepted term range for this category is four years or more.

How do CDs work?

A CD is a deposit account offered by banks and other financial institutions. CDs have always been a popular savings option because they offer guaranteed returns.

Standard CDs pay a fixed annual rate of return (APY) when they mature – as long as you keep the money in the account and don’t withdraw funds. If you do, you will be hit with an expensive early withdrawal penalty. These penalties can sometimes exceed the return you would have earned if you had kept that money in the account.

Over the years, variations on the traditional CD have hit the market. “Bump-up” and “step-up” CDs offer holders the opportunity to get an increase in APY if interest rates go in the right direction. In addition to these features, they are more or less standard CDs.

Several vendors offer CDs that offer withdrawal options without penalty. These usually have lower APYs than regular CDs because of this.

For the most part, however, investing in a CD is a commitment of funds. In return for keeping your funds locked up, a financial institution usually offers higher APYs than other savings products. These include offers like a savings account or a money market account, which allow a certain degree of transfer and withdrawal of funds without penalty.

A CD is considered one of the safest financial instruments for determined savers. Plus, like other bank accounts, most CDs are fully covered by the government’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Up to $ 250,000 per person per account is automatically covered by this coverage.

Why are CD APYs higher than other deposit accounts?

APY CDs are higher because you agree to deposit your funds and not touch them for a specific time. This allows the banks to use that money for a predictable amount of time. Early withdrawal penalties are a great discouragement for withdrawing money from a CD, so the money tends to stay where it is. In general, the more stable and predictable a set of funds, the higher the price an investor is willing to pay.

Following the same principle, the longer a bank can use this money, the more it is willing to pay. This is why APY CDs tend to increase with the length of terms. Keep this in mind when looking at short term or long term CD accounts.

Here’s an illustration of short-term and long-term CD rates, with a sample of fairly typical recent YPAs:

Taxpayers should know more about the UK venture capital frenzy

The lack of private funding for start-ups and high-growth companies has long been a source of concern in this country.

Well, rejoice. It turns out that the UK has the largest venture capital fund in Europe. And it’s run by none other than the government.

It is strange that the emergence of Her Majesty’s Treasury as venture capitalist didn’t prompt more questions, especially when we know so little about where he put our money.

The Future Fund, managed by the British Business Bank, amassed £ 1.2 billion into convertible loans to innovative companies.

It may seem like a small change from the billions distributed in various Covid-19 support packages. At some point, however, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to tell us more about what’s going on in his mega-fund.

Launched in April Last year, the fund was an attempt to shut down a large number of start-ups and start-ups as other sources of funding dried up. Originally limited to £ 250million in public money, it was quickly expanded.

While the BBB, through its trading arm, previously invested money in venture capital funds as an investor, this time it went straight.

Government loans of between £ 125,000 and £ 5 million had to be financed by private investors, outsourcing part of the verification work. The companies had to raise funds from third party investors, which suggests a bottom line. And it used familiar structures and models, allowing for rapid deployment.

The end result was an absolutely huge fund. Europe’s largest venture capital funds raised around $ 800 million last year, according to Sifted, less than half of the government effort. A typical venture capital fund can hold investments in between 10 and 40 companies. The Future Fund has 1,236.

One question in the industry is how the British Business Bank intends to handle this and whether it has the resources it needs. She says she “recruits to expand her capacity as needed” and benefits from the expertise of her private sector co-investors.

A more pressing question from a taxpayer perspective is what is really in the fund? So far, disclosure has been minimal, which in itself leads to skeptical rhetoric about the quality of the portfolio the government has in its hands. The expression “adverse selection” comes up several times in conversations on this subject.

The BBB gave a regional breakdown and information on the gender and ethnicity of the executive teams.

But there is nothing on the amount of loans granted, which could give an indication of the maturity of the companies. There is nothing on the sectors or activities of the beneficiaries; nothing about the duration of their activities or the amount of private funds they had previously collected.

The BBB cites “commercial confidentiality” so as not to disclose the names, even of the 52 companies in which the government is now a shareholder. But if leave seekers are published, it’s unclear why these recipients of government funds shouldn’t be. Some become public, in all cases, through deposits with Companies House.

Given the concerns about quality, the government may want to get ahead of the fact that the investments here will be, say, blended. The Future Fund may not be a classic venture capital model, where outrageous success compensates for a high overall failure rate. But there will inevitably be radiation to come.

The government seems to have a strong taste for VC life. The Future Fund Breakthrough, announced in this month’s budget, is the next variation, albeit focused on selecting larger tech companies to support. And there are rumors that – after shaking up the UK’s industrial strategy – the government instead prefers an “innovation growth policy”.

Taxpayers may wonder why a government that was reluctant to take stakes in large, besieged companies during this crisis is so comfortable getting out of it with stakes in a wide range smaller ones, especially in such a hot VC market that some wonder if such a big bailout was really needed in the first place.

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UK Treasury takes stake in hipster label

The Treasury became a shareholder in a vinyl-run hipster record company as part of a coronavirus support program for innovative, fast-growing companies.

London-based Gearbox Records, specializing in new jazz, folk and electronic music, is the latest company to count the UK taxpayer as an investor after taking out convertible loans from the Future Fund.

The unusual venture capital-like structure of the support scheme is expected to leave the UK state with hundreds of holdings in a wide variety of companies.

More than 1,100 companies have received £ 1.1 billion in loans convertible into equity from the Future Fund, which was launched in May last year to support ‘innovative’ but loss-making companies unable to obtain funds elsewhere due to the pandemic.

The Treasury also took a stake in Vaccitech, one of the UK’s top-rated pharmaceutical start-ups, according to people familiar with the situation.

The Oxford start-up owns the biotech platform used for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and is considering an IPO in the coming months.

Vaccitech, one of the co-founders of which led the development of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, raised $ 168 million earlier this month, valuing the startup at around $ 425 million. Vaccitech declined to comment.

More than fifty companies have had their loans converted to equity, according to people familiar with the situation, ranging from a Cornish broadband provider to a maker low-flow toilets based in Essex.

Darrel Sheinman says Gearbox Records met the requirements of the Future Fund as a fast growing start-up that had raised equity from investors to finance its expansion © Gabriel Bertogg

The identity of the companies is not disclosed by the British Business Bank, which administers the program. He faced repeated calls for more transparency which groups have received government-backed emergency coronavirus loans.

Gearbox Records, the King’s Cross-based label and studio, raised £ 500,000 in December, half of which came from the conversion of its Future Fund loan. The government owns about 4%. 100 of the company.

Gearbox Records founder Darrel Sheinman said he applied to the Future Fund as a “long shot” when the pandemic hit in case he needed the extra cash after record stores were shut down. forced to close.

He said the company meets requirements as a fast-growing start-up that has raised equity from investors to fund its expansion. He added that technology played an important role in the business given the digital sales of his catalog and the invention of a record player with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. He also runs a studio, where artists from the Prodigy to Moses Boyd have recorded and mastered records.

Sheinman said the experience of working with the Future Fund initially seemed bureaucratic, adding: “Now that they are shareholders, we received a note explaining that they were delighted to be, and gave me additional instructions on how to keep them up to date with the news. through their portal. As a record company, the type of news we send out doesn’t necessarily match the portal. ”

The British Business Bank said the Future Fund has a team of seasoned investment professionals, but is recruiting to expand its capacity as needed. “Although the portfolio is large in terms of number of companies, Future Fund’s stake in each of the companies that converted into shares is relatively small.”

The Future Fund, which has provided loans ranging from £ 125,000 to £ 5 million subject to at least equal funding from private investors, closed in January.

According to data provider Equity Crowd Expert, seven companies supported by the program, which have also raised money through crowdfunding schemes, have so far converted loans into equity. These include Gearbox Records, electric motor systems group Aeristech, broadband provider Wildanet and toilet maker Propelair.

Tech executives wondered why the Future Fund was necessary given the huge sums already available from venture capital funds looking for fast-growing companies.

But since the closure of the Future Fund, the government has launched a £ 375million second-stage Future Fund Breakthrough program that will increase stakes in promising tech and life science companies.

“The Future Fund supports high growth UK companies to stimulate private investment and support jobs and growth,” the government said in a statement.

Seattle Sounders Vs San Jose Earthquakes: 3 Things We Learned

REUNION, FLORIDA – JULY 10: Raul Ruidiaz # 9 of Seattle Sounders controls the ball during the first half of their game against the San Jose Earthquakes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on July 10, 2020 in Reunion, Florida. (Photo by Emilee Chinn / Getty Images)

On Friday night, the Seattle Sounders opened their MLS back against the San Jose earthquakes. Here are three things we learned from the 0-0 draw.

On Friday night, the rebounded Group B opener took place between the Seattle Sounders and the San Jose earthquakes. The Sounders, as the defending champions, were considered one of the main favorites for the title. But on this occasion, it was San José who largely controlled the match. Raul Ruidiaz missed a few chances on the other end, while Stefan Frei was forced to eight saves, but neither team could find the breakthrough in what was a brilliant stalemate.

Here are three things we learned the draw 0-0.

REUNION, FLORIDA – JULY 10: Cristian Roldan # 7 of Seattle Sounders controls the ball with pressure from Nick Lima # 24 of San Jose Earthquakes during their match at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on July 10, 2020 in Reunion, Florida. (Photo by Emilee Chinn / Getty Images)

3. Wild and Wonderful San Jose System

If you thought Matias Almeyda was going to alleviate his high pressure system which requires his players to follow a particular opponent all the way down the pitch no matter how out of position he is, you misunderstood. Almeyda and her team are back and it’s just wonderful to watch.

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For those who do not know the system, in the starting formation 4-2-3-1, the full-backs take the opposing wingers, the three central midfielders take the opposing central midfielders, the wingers take the opposing full-backs, then the lone attacker takes the two opposing central defenders. This leaves San Jose’s two center-backs scoring an opposing striker, the other remaining free to sweep loose balls.

The approach worked wonderfully. Seattle couldn’t play at all in the first half, completely strangled by San Jose’s pressing approach. This allowed earthquakes to quickly regain possession, recycle it to deeper areas of the terrain, before building a new attack. The system is completely wild and at times seems like it is on the verge of breaking down, but it is wonderful to watch and extremely effective.

Discrimination revealed by brilliant black artist from Alabama

ComebackTown is published by David Sher for Greater Birmingham and More Prosperous Alabama

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Today’s guest columnist is Bill Ivey.

Have you ever heard of Birmingham artist Celestia Anne (Cookie) Morgan? I didn’t until a friend insisted that I look at his “REDLINE” exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art. And I certainly didn’t know anything about the practice of redlining.

Morgan is a rising superstar artist. Born in Ensley in 1981, she graduated from Jackson-Olin High School. Morgan believes she inherited her love for photography from her father, who died in 2005.

“When my dad passed away we were looking for footage of him and we realized he was the guy behind the camera,” Morgan said. “He would give me one of his old cameras and I would go around and start photographing.” She gained additional experience with a 35mm camera while participating in the Jackson-Olin Junior ROTC program.

Celestia Morgan graduated from Lawson State Community College in 2004 and in 2012 received a BFA from UAB. In 2017, she graduated from the University of Alabama with an MA in Fine Arts / Photography.

She currently holds two positions: she is a professor of visual arts in Birmingham city schools and an assistant professor of photography at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Celestia is married with two children and lives in Birmingham.

When Morgan started taking pictures of Birmingham neighborhoods, she didn’t want to make a political statement. It was personal.

“The first intention was not to create art on redlining,” she explained. “It was for me to explore why my family only lived in a certain part of Birmingham. And I wanted to capture memories for my family, take pictures of the houses my grandmother lived in or my aunts and uncles lived in.

But as Morgan saw both dignity and decay in the neighborhoods she photographed, she began to think bigger.

Birmingham teacher, mom and artist Celestia Morgan asks how her art can help others.

“How can my story help someone else?” she started to wonder. “How can I connect it to something bigger than what I am?”

REDLINE is brilliant, timely and prophetic.

In the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration created a systematic coding system to deny mortgages to potential homeowners on the basis of race, religion, and immigration status. The term “redlining” arose from the practice of banks and government officials drawing red lines on housing maps. Red lines denoted, for example, African American or Latin American neighborhoods and designated them as “undesirable” for investment. Blacks, Latinos, Jews and other minority residents have been disproportionately affected.

Redlining has denied a wide range of services (financial and other) for residents of certain areas: a systematic denial of mortgages, insurance, loans, and other financial services based on certain neighborhood demographics rather than on the qualifications and creditworthiness of an individual. And Redlining, of course, was a perfect addition to the Jim Crow system in the South. (An important point here, however, is that the Deep South states were only part of a national caste system. Systemic racism is not confined to our region.)

Residents of Redlined communities were denied the opportunity to build wealth – and were destined to live and raise families in troubled neighborhoods. Unfortunately, other services such as healthcare or even supermarkets have been denied to residents of Redlined neighborhoods. And, as is often the case, Redlining’s policy disproportionately affects residents of minority neighborhoods.

Morgan was raised and currently lives in the areas of Birmingham that were once Redlined. His REDLINE exhibition brilliantly shows and highlights the terrible consequences of this system.

The passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 hypothetically banned Redlining, but the law was, for the most part, a failure. The discriminatory system was so entrenched across the country that challenges in federal courts continued into the 21st century. A government audit in 2010 found that HUD law enforcement was largely ineffective. Within the city limits of Birmingham, for example, there are still thousands of abandoned and dilapidated houses.

It is clear that the effects of Redlining continue to negatively affect the racial income and wealth gap in the U.S. We know that homeownership is generally a way to build wealth, but neighborhoods within low income stay pretty much the same after all these years.

In 2015, the Obama administration bolstered the original Fair Housing Act by asking local governments to follow patterns of poverty and segregation with a 92-question checklist in order to access federal funds for housing. However, the current administration is currently trying to roll back those efforts, which could make it easier for banks to deny loans to blacks and Hispanics or for cities to confine poor families to minority neighborhoods.

From The New York Times (1/7/20): “President Trump has targeted an Obama-era program to eliminate racial disparities in suburban housing, a step that policy supporters see it as an attempt to consolidate its sagging support for white suburban voters by stoking racial divide.

In a recent Twitter message, Mr Trump announced that he was considering eliminating a 2015 initiative known as “ Affirmative Support Fair Housing, ” which requires localities to identify and tackle patterns. of racial segregation prohibited under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by creating plans. “

A second component of Morgan’s REDLINE exhibit is his Sky Maps series, which superimposes the outlines of once-highlighted neighborhoods (on the 1933 Home Owners’ Loan Corporation map) on beautiful blue skies and cumulus clouds. There is a sad tone in everyone, as if these neighborhoods are deemed “unworthy”. However, Sky Map’s beautiful backgrounds convey a sense of hope – as if all is not lost. That if we just pay attention, we can find beauty and value in each of these places – and their potential is endless. Morgan: “The sky is the limit.”

A third element of Morgan’s exhibit focuses on Interstate 20/59. The highway, built in the early 1970s, divided black neighborhoods in half and separated them from downtown and predominantly white neighborhoods. The placement of the interstate displaced many residents in its path and caused property values ​​to plummet.

Hallie Ringle, Curator of Contemporary Art Hugh Kaul of the Birmingham Museum of Art, was instrumental in bringing REDLINE to the museum. “I’ve wanted to work with Celestia for a while,” Ringle said. “She is an incredible artist and her work is truly visionary. She is from Birmingham and works in Birmingham and the museum has really focused on researching topics that are important to the city as a whole.

“All areas of Birmingham have been affected in redlining, but I think maybe not everyone knows why 20/59 is going through Birmingham the way it does, ”said Ringle. “It was very intentionally planned to prevent access, to drop the value of properties in the black quarters of Birmingham. So, it seemed like the right time to strike up that conversation when this build takes place in the backyard of the museum.

In the “reconstruction” of I-20/59, Morgan finds a metaphor. “It’s in the same place. We repeat the same. We’re modernizing it a bit, but we’re actually doing the same thing, ”Morgan said. “We are no longer using the card; however, we continue to move forward and operate on this path that has been laid out for us. “

The final piece in Morgan’s REDLINE exhibit includes several of his photographs of ‘dilapidated’ houses in the destroyed neighborhoods of Birmingham. We can see how Redlining has affected communities and families. From the caption of the exhibition: “Morgan’s photographs of houses in Birmingham show the impact of redlining and its continuing effects on the people living in these areas. … The houses bear witness to the physical, emotional and environmental image of redlining. “

When seen alongside his photographs of I-20/59, Morgan’s house photographs illustrate that Redlining, primarily through town planning, continues. Although the highway has been raised a bit, it still divides the poor and black neighborhoods into two.

Thanks to my friend Andrea Whitehead, a docent at the Birmingham Museum of Art, I was able to attend a seminar led by Joyce Benington. She is a 23 year veteran of the Museum and is incredibly appreciative of Morgan’s work. In fact, the Birmingham Museum of Art bought the REDLINE exhibit.

Ms Benington invited Dr Max Michael, former dean of the UAB School of Public Health, to participate in the presentation. Here is a summary of what Dr Michael said:

  • There are 99 neighborhoods in Birmingham, which include over 16,000 abandoned properties (many of which are the result of Redlining).
  • The health indices in these neighborhoods are terrible.
  • Growing up in the burn has a biological impact. Our environment can modify our genome for at least 3 generations. (Italics added)
  • The citizens of these neighborhoods have higher levels of cortisol (the “stress” hormone). The debilitating symptoms of high cortisol levels are too numerous to list here.


  • Separate poor neighborhoods.
  • Ended all pedestrian traffic to the city center (like large walls).
  • Created unsanitary conditions for these neighborhoods, including:
    • The lingering effects of lead gas residues
    • Hypertension
    • Chronic kidney disease

There is a prophetic quality of the Old Testament in Morgan’s work. These prophets are best known for predicting the future, but their most important function was to speak for God and “call” the Israelites at critical times. (“Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and although they testified against them, they would not listen.” II Chronicles 24:19, version NIV) and, just like we Israelites really didn’t ‘I don’t want to listen to them!

REDLINE is timely because Morgan uses it to provide insight into one facet of a racist system designed to keep certain non-traditional groups “in their place”. She is a 21st century prophet. They are everywhere and, painful as it may be, we must seek them out and listen to them. Do we really believe that all human beings are created equal?

Check out this PBS video: The Work of Celestia Morgan, in her own words.

Bill Ivey is a retired trainer and professor of history / government / economics who holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alabama and a Masters of History from UAB. He recently closed his Birmingham Basketball Academy (due to the pandemic) and is now fully retired after 45 years of working with young people. He and his wife Cathy founded the Carolyn Pitts Class for Social Justice (Sunday School) at the downtown First United Methodist Church, which has continued to meet virtually since March.

‘A thoughtful and brilliant jurist’: Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, who died at 65, mourned by Massachusetts rulers

Massachusetts officials remember the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, Ralph D. Gants, not only as a dedicated public servant, but as a thoughtful judge and leader who championed civil rights and access to the courts.

Massachusetts judge for over two decades, Gloves deceased days after suffering a heart attack. He was 65 years old.

Former Governor Deval Patrick, who appointed Gants to the SJC in 2009 and appointed him chief justice in 2014, said Gants was passionate about his work but never took himself “too seriously”.

“He was a learned, rigorous, serious and sincere lawyer who faithfully upheld constitutional principles and also saw the people behind the numbers in the role,” Patrick said in a statement Monday.

The news of Gants’ death on Monday drew reactions from across the Massachusetts legal system, Beacon Hill and across the state.

“Justice Gants was a thoughtful and brilliant jurist,” said Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. Democrat Winthrop described him as a thoughtful leader who strived to improve the lives of people in Massachusetts.

“An important voice in the reform of our criminal justice system, his contributions will long be remembered as helping us move towards a more just Commonwealth,” Senate Speaker Karen Spilka, a Democrat from Ashland, said about of Gloves. “It is this passion for justice and this commitment to fairness that has guided him throughout his decades of service – and for that he will be missed.”

As lawmakers debated criminal justice reform legislation three years ago, Gants urged the state to provide drug addiction treatment and therapy to inmates, reduce fines and fees for incarcerated persons, and break down barriers former incarcerates face when trying to obtain a driver’s license, employment or housing .

“If we take these steps, we can finally reduce this persistent recidivism rate and lower the overall crime rate,” Gants said during his annual State of Justice Address in 2017.

Baker signed a landmark criminal justice reform bill in April 2018. Among other things, the law has changed when the state imposes bail and how fines and fees are collected.

“He led the Supreme Judicial Court with intelligence, integrity and distinction. In his decisions and in his role as the leader of the Commonwealth’s judicial branch, he has always worked to promote the public good, ”Governor Charlie Baker said. “His legacy as a judge and chief justice runs deep and he will be sorely missed. I extend my condolences to his colleagues, friends and family.”

Carol Rose, executive director of the Massachusetts ACLU, called Gloves a “giant” in the legal community and a civil rights leader. Georgia Katsoulomitis, executive director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, described him as a visionary. Anthony Benedetti, chief counsel for the Public Advisory Services Committee, said the chief justice was brilliant, thoughtful and fair to every litigant.

“It is a devastating loss for the court, the legal system and the Commonwealth,” he said.

Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said Gants had “quiet authority” – except when it came to baseball.

“We were spending the time discussing matters that were both important and trivial, with the Boston Red Sox being a very big deal for him,” she said.

Gants’ legacy in court, she added, is her legal acumen and humanism.

“Chief Justice Ralph Gants was not only an incisive interpreter of the law, but a passionate advocate for better access to courts and the fair administration of justice,” said Bump. effortlessly, he has conducted research to shed light on the failings of the justice system and has taken shamelessly and literally onto the streets to gain the attention of policymakers and the public.

Attorney General Maura Healey said Gants had made “incomparable and enduring contributions to the rule of law and the betterment of society”.

“As Chief Justice, he focused on how the legal system affects people’s lives and has consistently worked to expand access to justice and racial equity,” Healey said in a communicated. “More than anything, she was a real kind person and a real empathy. He will be sorely missed.

Associate judges announced Gants’ death in a statement Monday afternoon. They did not say when he died or name the cause.

Throughout his career, Gants has worked in private practice, for the US Attorney’s Office and for the courts of Massachusetts.

As Chief Justice, he has received numerous accolades, including the Great Friend of Justice Award in 2017 from the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, the Haskell Cohn Award for Distinguished Judicial Service 2016 and two honorary degrees in law, one from the New England Law in 2016 and one from the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth Law School in 2016.

Related content:

Small businesses can apply for city bridging loans on Monday

Update: The launch of the bridging loan program which was to be launched on Monday April 13 has been delayed. The City’s Economic Development Department released this statement: “In anticipation of HUD approval, our staff worked quickly to build the infrastructure to support this new loan program. We are in the final stages of testing to make sure the admission process and application is efficient and effective. We will update publicly as soon as the program is ready for a full launch. “

Also: SBA’s streamlined loan application process will grant cash advances up to $ 10,000 that does not have to be repaid

Yesterday, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved the city of Austin’s request to use some $ 5.7 million of already available Section 108 funds to make bridging loans for damages. economic. The City will begin accepting applications on Monday. (More on that later.)

In addition, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has streamlined the application process for a COVID-19 Economic Disaster (EIDL) loan – including an advance of up to $ 10,000 that does not have to be repaid.

The SBA’s EIDL program is open to a wide variety of businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, co-ops, employee share ownership plans (ESOPs), small tribal businesses, and non-profit organizations, including including faith-based organizations. All must have 500 or fewer employees to be eligible.

“The estimated time to complete this entire application is two hours and 10 minutes,” the SBA instructions state, “although you may not need to complete all of the games.” The SBA relies on self-certification of eligibility by applicants who must complete applications under penalty of perjury. Two local business owners, both sole proprietors, interviewed by phone today said they applied on Monday, and both said it took less than half an hour. The online application process provided an on-screen ID number when completed, but none received an email confirmation or been contacted for more information.

The city’s bridging loan applications open Monday

On March 26, 2020, Austin City Council approved the Bridge Loan Program designed to provide working capital to for-profit businesses and nonprofits. Austin’s Bulldog published extensively details about the program the same day.

However, the city could not begin accepting bridge loan applications until HUD approved the use of Section 108 funds for this purpose. HUD issued a letter Wednesday to approve the use of Section 108 funds, but only to grant bridging loans to for profit companies.

HUD letter expressly excluded the use of these funds to make loans to non-profit organizations.

Sylnovia Holt-Rabb

Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, acting director of the city’s economic development department, said Austin’s Bulldog that online applications will be accepted starting Monday, April 13, 2020, if system testing proves things are ready. “We have to make sure the intake system is working,” she said.

“I’m still working on possible alternatives for nonprofits, but that won’t be ready by Monday,” said Holt-Rabb, “although it’s nothing more than letting us help them. non-profit organizations to complete an SBA loan application. “

Initially, bridge loan applications will only be accepted through an online process. For potential bridging loan applicants who do not have access to a computer, Holt-Rabb said procedures are still being worked out to accept paper applications. “We need to find out how to do this and keep the staff safe. We’re still figuring out that one, but we’ll find out by Monday, ”when a press release will be issued with instructions.

The city Web page about this program does not yet provide information on how to apply and it will be updated by Monday, including changing the name to what it is now called the Business and Agency Repossession Loan Austin nonprofit to become the Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program.

Another good news in the letter from HUD is that the City will not have to send every bridge loan request to HUD for approval. Instead, the City will need to report quarterly on its activities under the Economic Damage Bridge Loan program.

Money bridging loan from a rotating pool

The City has $ 5.7 million set aside for bridge loans of up to $ 35,000 each. If each loan were granted at this maximum amount, it would suffice to make 163 loans.

Holt-Rabb said she didn’t have a good estimate of how many nominations could be received. “I know the need is great and we will have a better idea after the announcement.”

Loans will only be made to companies that have previously applied for an economic disaster loan from the SBA and have received confirmation of this request.

The idea is to give money to small businesses while waiting for the SBA to approve the economic disaster loan and disburse the proceeds.

Although City funds provide for a limited number of bridging loans, the rules require recipients to repay the City from the proceeds of the SBA loan. If successful, this will create a flow of funds to replenish the cash reserve for bridging loans.

Bridge loans will be for a period of 12 months or until disbursement of funds under the SBA loan, whichever occurs first. The interest rate is 3.75%.

Further details on the Economic Damage Bridge Loan Program are contained in our previous history.

Links to related documents:

Letter from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development dated April 8, 2020 (2 pages)

Related Bulldog Coverage:

Upcoming COVID-19 Disaster Assistance for Small Businesses, March 26, 2020

Confidence indicators:

Photo by Ken MartinKen Martin has been covering local government and politics in the Austin area since 1981. Read more about Ken on the About the page.

E-mail [email protected].

An alphabetical list of donors who have contributed to Austin’s Bulldog since the creation of the organization in 2009 and the cumulative amount that each person has given until December 31, 2018, are indicated on the Contribution page. Work is underway to update this information until December 31, 2019.

Remembering Gene Chase: “ curious, kind, brilliant, open-minded, interesting and interested ”

Gene Barry Chase taught mathematics at Messiah College for almost 35 years.

Chase, 76, died on September 14.

He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 and completed his doctoral studies in mathematics education at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

He taught math at Wells College and Houghton College before moving to central Pennsylvania to teach math and computer programming at Messiah College. At Messiah, he coached the computer programming team and traveled with the team to Hawaii for the IBM International Computer Programming Competition.

During his sabbatical, he volunteered with Wycliffe Bible Translators, serving in both Texas and Peru. He was one of the founders of the International Association of Christians in Mathematical Sciences.

After his retirement he taught mathematics at Dickinson College on a part-time basis. After moving to Messiah’s Village in 2017, he regularly volunteered his time to help his fellow citizens solve problems with their computers.

He taught Bible classes at West Shore Evangelical Free Church for many years, enjoyed researching and working on family genealogy.

Survivor are his wife, Emily Vera Parke; three children, Timothy Chase (Elizabeth) of Frisco, Texas; Priscilla DeRosa (Anthony) of Woodbine, Md .; and John Chase (Kelly) of Rockville, Maryland; and eight grandchildren.

From his guestbook:

  • “Gene was one of the nicest and most caring Christians I have ever met. He was a good listener, genuinely caring about each of us in his church life group.

– Michele

  • “Gene was one of the most influential Christians I met at Cornell. He was a model.

– Annette Pollack Zuber

  • “Prof. Chase was one of my favorite teachers and a good friend. I have so many wonderful memories of him and I wish I could tell him about computers once more.

– Janet McCoy

  • “I have fond memories of Gene. At Messiah, I decided to do a minor in math and all but one class was taught to me by Gene. For years I said I mined at Gene Chase. Two of the courses I took from him were independent studies, even though he was officially retired. He was a fantastic teacher both intellectually and personally. Although he was a teacher, he extended his friendship to me and his other students, even inviting me to dinner with him and Emily in what was a really enjoyable evening. It’s rare to find a teacher like this, and now that I’m working as an aspiring teacher, I always think of Gene as an example.

– Nicholas Sooy

  • “Gene is, has been my champion in life on many fronts. To say that I am in shock, the sadness I feel for his wife and children is deep. I loved Gene as a father, friend and mentor of my life. … Every person who knew you, made a great impact on their life. Thank you for being one of mine. “

– Thomas Shay

  • “Heaven’s gain is the loss of this area. Dr. Chase was brilliant, generous and a true man of faith. Exceptional in every way. “

– Pauline Nash

  • “Gene Chase: curious, kind, bright, open-minded, interesting and INTERESTED. Oh, what an incredible child of God! Every conversation with Gene was special. He has given you his FULL concentration. He wanted to know everything. Without judgement. Just knowing that he no longer walks on this earth hurts my heart.

– Anita Voelker

  • “Dr. Chase has been a mentor and an inspiration to me. I graduated from Messiah in 1982 with a math degree and a computer science concentration. My career has focused on the development of educational technology. I am grateful to God for how far my career has come and I am keenly aware of the role Dr. Chase played in this process.

– Chuck Olson

To read more obituaries, click here.

The government commission studied the problems of entrepreneurs

In Bukhara, the Republican Government Commission held an open dialogue with representatives of economic entities.

The chairman of the committee, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan – Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade, Sardor Umurzakov, studied appeals from the business world.

The event brought together the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan, the Business Ombudsman, the Prime Minister’s offices for entrepreneurs, the Central Bank, committees of State of taxes and customs, as well as heads of sectors, organizations and agencies concerned.

Despite the difficult pandemic period of 2020, the number of foreign-invested enterprises in the region has increased from 79 in 2016 to 305. To date, $ 212 million in foreign direct investment has been spent.

By the end of the year, more than $ 240 million in foreign direct investment and loans had been disbursed, bringing the annual forecast to 100%. According to the regional investment program implemented in the region, as of January of this year, 597 projects worth $ 6.6 trillion had been implemented. In sum, 14,893 new jobs were created.

The number of small businesses active in production, trade and services in the region has reached 28,200 people.

Half of this figure is significant as companies created or suspended in the past three years have been relaunched. “ After the visit of the president of our country to our region on February 16 and 17, 2018, we also received a total of 1.5 thousand hectares of land in the regions as a promising project, ” Bakhtiyor Dzhuraev said, leader of Bukhara Brilliant. Silk LLC.

“We have planted 13 million mulberry seedlings on the allocated land, established plantations and expanded our business. In the past three years, we have exported $ 13 million worth of goods. However, due to the pandemic that started last year, our factory’s production capacity has dropped from 50% to 15% now.

The reason for this is supply problems with raw materials and our mulberry plantations have declined. Currently we have mulberry plantations in 5 districts of the region and we cultivate silkworms to order. We will never be satisfied with this and we need practical help to come out of bankruptcy.

If we had been given land, we would have completed the project in six months, finished construction, introduced foreign technology, and started work.

The bottom line is that in less than a year we will be able to prepare the product for export, and we will be able to hire at least a hundred more people. “ In the village of Afshona, Peshkun region, there is an initiative to build an ancient historical and ethnic village for customers from our region, foreign tourists, dating back to the 10th century, ” said Mirakhmad Boltaev, a local entrepreneur and chief of Munirshokh. .

-Mirahmad Service LLC. – But so far, 2 hectares of land that should have been allocated to us has turned out to belong to one of the farms in the area.

– But so far, 2 hectares of land that should have been allocated to us has turned out to belong to one of the farms in the area.

The event, which took place without formalities and without open dialogue with commercial entities, received 373 applications. Each call was discussed with the participation of relevant officials, heads of ministries and departments. Conditions and measures have been established for their systematic solution.

In addition, entrepreneurs and young people wishing to expand their activities and export opportunities, to implement business projects, received detailed information on banking and credit policies, changes in land distribution, tax incentives. The meeting was attended by the khokim (governor) of the Bukhara region Botir Zaripov.

Source: OuzA

Top Tips for Making Money Fast When You Need It

For the majority of us, being strapped for cash can be a fairly common occurrence. Even before the pandemic, job shortages and what appeared to be unlimited layoffs were still common. It has been suggested that we’re only two missed paychecks away from homelessness, which is a pretty terrifying achievement.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for us to experience a cash shortage. It could be an emergency doctor or dentist appointment that sets you looking for a little extra cash, or maybe an unrecorded bill that throws your budget away. down – anyway; you might be looking for an idea on how you can quickly get some extra dollars in the bank.

This coin will give you some ideas on how you can quickly earn some extra cash when you need it.

Become a participant in marketing research

Becoming a participant in marketing research means becoming a increasingly popular choice when it comes to part-time work. Not only is it great for students who need the extra cash, but it’s also great for those who have another job that they need to work on.

Being a marketing research participant is pretty straightforward – it’s usually based on your opinion of specific products or services that businesses use to collect information and data. There are options to do this both online and in person, and each process will be slightly different, but ultimately with the same principle.

Use Fiverr for self-employment

If you are particularly creative or if you are used to using a computer, Fiverr is a great platform that allows you to promote work for… you guessed it, as little as five years old. Web designing, video editing, or content writing are just a few of the jobs you can do to make some extra cash. That being said, Fiverr has just moved beyond its traditional model, which limited transactions to five dollars, so there is a chance to build a portfolio and create a decent second income for yourself.

A loan

A loan is often a last resort, and for good reason. There can be high interest rates, and credit checks can prevent a loan from going through for a start. That being said, not all loans are created equal. While quick payday loans can end up making money problems worse in the long run, other types of loans, like an auto title loan, may be a more reasonable option. If you have a car and need a quick cash injection, and you have a budget and a repayment plan, then this might be it. auto title loan is all you need to solve your financial crisis.

Decorate properties for the holidays

There are many niche ideas for making money out there, and this is definitely one of them. If you are concerned about the costs of Christmas ahead, decorating homes for the holidays can be a great way to earn money, stay in shape, and help those who might not be able to turn on their own lights! A community-friendly and user-friendly option!

Rewind Wednesday – The Online Specialist Lending Event 2021: Second charge

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Dallas Expands Payday Loan Regulations to Close ‘Loophole’

In 2011, the city of Dallas regulated payday lenders and auto title lenders, forcing them to register with the city and structure loans so they can be repaid more easily.

This was in response to an explosion of lenders offering small, short-term loans with very high fees to low-income people with poor credit, often sparking a spiral of debt.

Today, city council voted unanimously to expand the regulations to include more types of low-cost, high-cost loans, closing what council members called a “loophole.”

At the meeting, board member Cara Mendelsohn said she first attended a Dallas city council meeting to defend the original payday loan and title rules in 2011. She was part of the meeting. of the Greater Dallas Anti-Poverty Coalition. lending practices that overwhelmed people with debts they couldn’t afford.

“We were trying to enact this legislation to protect the people in financial distress in Dallas who were being taken advantage of. And [expanding the ordinance now] is just our way of making sure this continues, ”she said.

Personal and signature loans

The updated ordinance targets low dollar unsecured personal and signature loans that are often sold by the same lenders that offer payday loans and auto title loans. They come with equally impressive fees and often have similar terms, say consumer advocates.

But according to the 2019 opinion of State Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, these signatures or personal loans are legally different in Texas from typical payday loans or auto titles, so regulations passed by dozens of Texas cities since 2011 do not apply.

With the unanimous city council vote on Wednesday, Dallas joined with Austin in extending the same signing and personal loan rules that apply to payday loans and title deeds.

“It’s a win, but we’re back to where we were ten years ago,” said Stephanie Mace, vice president of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Religious leaders, consumer groups and anti-poverty advocates like Mace began advocating for cities to curb payday lending and securities lending in 2011 after the state legislature’s inaction . Cities are however limited in their authority; they can’t cap fees and interest.

Advocates continue to pressure the state to limit the fees charged for loans and turn the patchwork of municipal rules into statewide consumer protection cover. At a minimum, they want lawmakers to extend reporting and disclosure requirements to all short-term lenders so that the financial cost of loans is measurable.

Mace, however, is skeptical any action is likely this legislative session. The Republican-led legislature is generally opposed to business regulation, and the coronavirus and its budgetary consequences are likely to take up most of the oxygen in the capital.

At the federal level, the Trump administration rescinded proposed rules that would have limited costs imposed by lenders, shortly after taking office. The Biden administration could reintroduce rules, rendering the need for state action irrelevant.

The original prescription

In 2011, Dallas became the first city in Texas to pass an ordinance regulating so-called access to credit businesses.

The ordinance required payday and auto title lenders to register with the city, and set rules for the structure of the loans they make, which are usually secured by collateral such as a car title or future. paycheck.

Under the order, a lender must take into account the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Lenders are not allowed to pay prepaid fees and interest, so every payment made on the loan is charged against principal. And he put limits on the number of times a loan can be refinanced.

Since 2011, dozens of cities in Texas have adopted similar rules.

Even so, Texans paid more than $ 2 billion in fees and interest for payday loans and auto loans in 2019, and more than one in six Texans who took out a title loan have seen their cars. recovery when they could not repay the loan, according to The data of the Texas Officer of the Consumer Credit Commissioner.

The financial cost of signing and personal loans to consumers is impossible to know, as Paxton’s opinion means lenders are not required to disclose information about loans to the state, even when offered. by existing payday and title loan companies.

Industry push

At the Dallas city council meeting on Wednesday, representatives from the payday lending and title deeds industry lobbied the council to delay voting on the expanded ordinance. The council voted unanimously to approve it, with the exception of Mayor Eric Johnson, who was absent.

Victoria Newman of TitleMax of Texas, Inc., which operates 17 stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, argued that the limits on loan terms and structure would put loans out of reach for some.

“This is impractical for our consumers and puts additional pressure on the consumers the ordinance claims to protect, as it would potentially result in higher payments,” Newman said.

The industry has fought a years – and ultimately unsuccessful – legal battle against the Dallas Payday Loans and Auto Securities Ordinance 2011.

After the city of Austin passed an updated ordinance to include signing and personal loans last year, the city was sued by TitleMax of Texas. A judge dismissed the lawsuit and the company appealed. Do you want a conversation? Yes. How is it going? Me dai cest excéllant, it is hot.

Correction: This story originally incorrectly stated that Cara Mendelsohn worked for Samaritan Inn in 2011, when she advocated for Dallas to enact its Payday Loans Ordinance. She then worked for the organization, but had not started working there at that time.

Do you have any advice? Christopher Connelly is KERA’s One Crisis Away reporter, exploring life financially. Email Christopher at [email protected] You can follow Christopher on Twitter @hithisischris.

KERA News is made possible by the generosity of our members. If you find this report useful, consider donate tax deductible today. Thank you.

The quality of the loan portfolio looks good in Romania as the moratorium on repayments is extended

The total value of delinquent loans from Romanian households and businesses in local currency amounted to 4.42 billion RON (910 million euros), at the end of December 2020, down 4.83% compared to the end of November and 3.4% compared to the end of 2019.

Foreign currency loans in arrears fell 3.6% month-on-month while plunging 22% year-on-year to the equivalent of RON 1.61 billion (€ 330 million), according to data from the National Bank of Romania (BNR), Agerpres reported.

However, debtors affected by the crisis have benefited from a 9-month moratorium on repayment of loans which they can still apply, if they have not already done so, by the end of March. This is a key element that has made it possible to control the rate of nonperforming loans.

Total local currency loans reached 197.0 billion RON in December (+ 8.7% year-on-year), of which 74.0 billion RON were contracted by economic agents and 118, 7 billion RON per population. This brings the share of overdue loans to 2.2% of the total loan stock at the end of December 2020, from 2.5% a year earlier. The share fell to 1.8% for foreign currency loans, from 2.4% a year earlier.

The numbers are different from the Non Performing Loan Ratio (NPL) as reported by banks, as delinquent loans are defined as loans with monthly payments that are more than one day past due at the end of the month.

[email protected]

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Who bought shares of Manhattan Bridge Capital, Inc. (NASDAQ: LOAN)?

We often see insiders buying back shares of companies that are performing well over the long term. The flip side is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stocks before a period of poor performance. Shareholders may want to know if any insiders have bought or sold shares of Manhattan Bridge Capital, Inc. (NASDAQ: READY).

Are Insider Trading Important?

Most investors know that it is okay for business leaders, such as board directors, to buy and sell company stock. However, these insiders must disclose their business activities and not trade on inside information.

We don’t believe shareholders should just follow insider trading. But it makes perfect sense to keep an eye on what insiders are doing. For example, a Columbia University study found that “insiders are more likely to engage in open market purchases of their own company’s stocks when the company is about to reveal new deals with customers and suppliers.”

Discover our latest analyzes for Manhattan Bridge Capital

The Last 12 Months of Insider Trading at Manhattan Bridge Capital

Over the past year, we can see that the biggest insider buy was made by independent director Lyron Bentovim for $ 135,000 in stock, at around $ 4.19 per share. We love to see the purchase, but this purchase was made at a much lower price than the current price of US $ 6.18. Because this happened at a lower valuation, it doesn’t tell us much about whether insiders might find today’s price attractive.

Over the past year, we can see that insiders bought 39.79k shares worth US $ 166k. But they sold 31.89k shares for US $ 134k. Overall, Manhattan Bridge Capital insiders were net buyers over the past year. You can see insider trading (by businesses and individuals) over the past year shown in the graph below. If you click on the chart you can see all of the individual trades including the stock price, individual and date!

NasdaqCM: Insider Trading Volume on Loans April 5, 2021

Manhattan Bridge Capital isn’t the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider buys, might be just the ticket.

Manhattan Bridge Capital Insider Ownership

I like to look at the number of shares held by insiders in a company, to help inform my perspective on their alignment with insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will have an incentive to build the business for the long term. It appears that Manhattan Bridge Capital insiders own 29% of the company, worth around US $ 17 million. This level of insider ownership is good, but just nowhere near remarkable. It certainly suggests a reasonable degree of alignment.

What could insider trading at Manhattan Bridge Capital tell us?

There haven’t been any insider trading in the past three months – that doesn’t mean much. On a more positive note, last year’s transactions are encouraging. Insiders own shares in Manhattan Bridge Capital and we see no evidence to suggest they are worried about the future. So these insider trading can help us build a thesis on the stock, but it’s also worth knowing the risks this company faces. Be aware that Manhattan Bridge Capital watch 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of these doesn’t suit us very well …

But note: Manhattan Bridge Capital may not be the best stock to buy. So take a look at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

For the purposes of this article, insiders are the people who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private assignments, but not derivative transactions.

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This Simply Wall St article is general in nature. It is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take into account your goals or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term, targeted analysis based on fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not take into account the latest announcements from price sensitive companies or qualitative information. Simply Wall St has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
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Do you have any comments on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. You can also send an email to the editorial team (at)

The Philadelphia area housing market is hot right now

It’s a good time to sell a house, but a really frustrating time to buy.

In red light districts around Philadelphia and nationwide, single-family homes are selling fast – often with multiple offers driving the price up. In one extreme case, a four-bedroom home in a Washington, DC suburb received 129 bids and sold for nearly double its list price of $ 275,000, Redfin reported. A four-bedroom rancher in Boston recently drew 71 bids.

“If the house is even relatively decent, it will sell in two days,” said Andrew Black, a Redfin agent in Philadelphia.

Nationally in March, 59% of homes under contract had accepted an offer within the first two weeks of being on the market, according to a Redfin sales analysis in over 400 metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia.

“It’s definitely a sellers market,” said Holly Garber, a BHHS Fox & Roach agent in South Jersey. “If you have the space, if that’s what the locals want, you’re going to have bidding wars, multiple bids. … This is definitely a time of madness.

Garber, who focuses on Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Moorestown and the Jersey Shore, has worked with around 10 eager buyers who are struggling to find homes.

A “seller’s market»Means that demand exceeds supply. The area’s housing stock was low even before the pandemic, so COVID-induced reluctance to sell, combined with the slowdown in new construction since the Great Recession, has left many interested buyers competing for very few homes.

Philadelphia has about three times as many buyers for each home as it does in a balanced market, said Bill Lublin, CEO of Century 21 Advantage Gold in Philadelphia. The suburbs of Pennsylvania and South Jersey have about six times as many buyers for each home.

“When the supply is low and listed homes are contracted quickly, it gives potential buyers not only to bid quickly, but also to bid higher than they would otherwise before a no other buyer beats them, ”Drexel University economist Kevin Gillen writes in Q4 2020 Market Report released in February.

“LEARN MORE: Philly area homebuyers will likely have more choices this spring, but competition will remain fierce

Cramped in tight quarters this past year, many buyers are looking for more and different spaces, including backyards, swimming pools, offices, gyms, and in-laws apartments. And “people who used to be happy with rentals aren’t happy anymore,” Black said.

For buyers, “mentally it’s a roller coaster,” he said. They can’t just love a house; they must be prepared to fight for it.

“You can make an amazing offer and lose,” Black said. “And then you have to start all over again next weekend. It can get very overwhelming.

Buyers who can bid for cash have a distinct advantage in this market, but most people need the product from one home to buy another. Agents help buyers craft flexible bids to maximize their chances of winning an auction war. Here are the strategies recommended by officers in the region.

Get pre-approved for your mortgage. “In fact, we don’t show properties now until people have requested and approved,” Lublin said. You can’t make an offer until you’ve been pre-approved, Garber said.

Work with a professional. Realtors have access to more detailed data than buyers can find on the internet regarding recent and comparable sales, upcoming homes on the market, the results of recent auction wars, and more, Lublin said. , who is also a board member of Bright MLS, which has 95,000 subscribers. In today’s market, buyers need to know the selling prices of six days ago, not six months or a year.

“Consumers are best served by choosing someone who they are really comfortable with, who is knowledgeable, who will work for them,” he said.

Adjust your budget. If homes are selling for 2% or 3% above asking price in a neighborhood you love, consider buying a home slightly below your maximum price, so you can participate in a bidding war.

“LEARN MORE: Demand is high for newly built homes, but pandemic delays continue to hamper builders

See the house in person as soon as possible. “You have to come in to view the property as soon as possible,” said Black. “You only have a few days.” Watch for “coming soon” announcements and be ready to jump.

While virtual tours replaced by a tour during the pandemic, agents now agree that buyers should visit in person. Sellers would be less likely to choose a bidder who viewed the house only online, Black said, fearing the buyer would return later.

Consider an escalation clause. For competitive situations, agents can structure a “climbing auctionThat automatically increases a buyer’s bid in defined increments from the highest bid – by $ 5,000, for example – up to a maximum price. This keeps a buyer in the game while minimizing exposure, Black said.

Modify the home inspection. Officers interviewed said they would never recommend forgoing a home inspection. It’s too risky, they said. Buyers might say, however, that they won’t order repairs below a certain cost, say $ 20,000, or they might limit the inspection to structural issues such as the foundation or the roof. Some buyers will agree to accept the house as is or to walk away if the inspection reveals something important.

“We tell our buyers not to be so picky these days,” Garber said.

“LEARN MORE: Home inspections are a bargaining chip in the hot Philly area real estate market

Forgo the possibility of evaluation. Buyers financing their purchase must have an evaluation before closing the sale. If the offer is greater than the listing price and the evaluation is at or below the listing price, the buyer may agree to compensate all or part of the difference in cash at the time of payment.

“If you plan to live in the house for 20 years and love this house, then it doesn’t matter” if you pay a little more, said Maria Quattrone, CEO of Maria Quattrone & Associates at RE / MAX in Creme Philadelphia. Especially with such low mortgage interest rates, you will get your investment back over time.

Increase your deposit. Serious money is a deposit that buyers put down to show that they are serious about a home. Typically, it is placed in an escrow account and applied to the purchase price at closing. Some buyers release these funds early as a non-refundable deposit within days of signing the contract. Others increase the amount. The risk for buyers is that if their financing fails, they will lose money.

Be flexible with the closure. Accept a settlement date that works for the seller, agents advise. Offer extensions or a rental option, if the seller needs time to find accommodation.

Buyers often become more flexible after going through one or two bidding wars, Garber said.

“Once they’ve lost a few houses, they’d be more willing to say, ‘You know what? We are going to go above the asking price ”or“ I will put more ”,” she said.

But Garber said she also warns customers when she thinks the price is too high. “If you have to sell it in five years,” she said, “you might be in a whole different position where you’re not going to take that money out.”

Some buyers will stop looking, at least for now.

“The typical family who are always on the hunt for an affordable home may have missed the boat,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “First-time homebuyers who were already stretching their budgets will have to make bigger compromises on size and location or forgo renting for another year.”

If you buy now, said Lublin, “don’t take risks that you can’t absorb. Just make the best offer you can. “

“There will always be another house, you know?”

Texas Senate Approves $ 250 Billion State Budget – But Questions Remain How Federal Aid Will Be Used – Houston Public Media

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick presides over the Senate session on March 20. On Tuesday, the upper house adopted a two-year state budget, but several questions remain about expected federal aid.

The Texas Senate unanimously approved a two-year, $ 250 billion state budget on Tuesday, although questions remain about how tens of billions of dollars in expected federal aid will be used. – and whether it will arrive in time for lawmakers to use it. legislative session.

“This budget … meets our basic needs in this growing state [and] it is true to the principles of fiscal responsibility that make Texas a strong and prosperous country, ”said the senator. Jane nelsonRepublican Flower Mound, who chairs the Senate finance committee responsible for drafting the budget, told senators Senate Bill 1.

The Senate budget as passed includes $ 117.9 billion in general revenue, or approximately $ 5 billion on the amount Texas Comptroller Glenn hegar proposed lawmakers should work with it. But that doesn’t take into account over $ 35 billion in federal funding. in coronavirus aid, much of which will go to state government. Senators acknowledged during Tuesday’s debate that these funds could be difficult to appropriate, depending on when they arrive and the conditions that may be attached to them.

Nelson, requested by the State Senator. Royce WestD-Dallas, if those federal dollars would be allocated before the end of the regular legislative session in May, said she “certainly can’t say they definitely will.” If those dollars arrived during the interim, Nelson said, there was wording in the spending plan that would allow lawmakers to give their opinion on how that money is being allocated.

The bill is now heading to the House, which tabled its own biennial budget proposal in January. The House’s proposed budget as tabled would spend $ 119.7 on general revenue, which is also higher than Hegar’s projection. The comptroller made the forecast in January, but warned his projection was “clouded in uncertainty” due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the state’s economy. He could change his estimate of income before the Legislative Assembly adjourns.

Yet the legislature must pass a balanced budget before lawmakers speak out. Both chambers will have to reduce their proposed spending plans or rely on accounting maneuvers, such as pushing back certain items or dipping into the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, to help offset some of that spending.

The Senate spending plan as passed would not take dollars out of the fund – also known as the Rainy Days Fund – which ended 2020 with a balance of nearly $ 10 billion and is expected to end the fiscal year 2023 to $ 11.6 billion if lawmakers don’t use it, according to Hegar’s Update in January.

The Senate budget continues to spend the most on public education and health care, with the plan fully funding public schools in the state as part of a school funding system. Lawmakers overhauled this funding system during the 2019 session by increasing funding, which included salary increases for teachers and slowing the growth of local property taxes. The current budget plan also adds $ 1 billion to property tax cuts on which the legislature spent more than $ 5 billion in 2019 and an additional $ 453 million to spend on pensions for retired teachers.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., a Brownsville Democrat who serves as vice chairman of the finance committee, said his “worst case scenario” this session would have been massive budget cuts to public schools like the cuts lawmakers made in 2011 after a recession .

“I most sincerely hoped that we wouldn’t have to adopt another such devastating cut 10 years later with the budget,” he said, referring to last year’s economic fallout from the pandemic. . “I’m glad we didn’t.”

In addition to drafting the 2022-2023 state budget, lawmakers will also need to pass legislation covering spending from the current budget. In January, Hegar predicted that the Legislature would face a deficit of nearly $ 1 billion for the current budget – an improvement over the $ 4.6 billion projection he made in July 2020. Hegar’s estimate, he said, did not include savings resulting from 5% reductions in some states. agencies.

Before the Senate finally approves its draft expenditure plan, the State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, read a statement to the chamber explaining why she was voting for the bill.

“After the year we have had,” she said, “it is miraculous that we have produced a bill that we can all support”.

And in a statement after the vote, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick applauded Nelson for his leadership, saying the lawmaker “had done a masterful job.”

“Like all budgets passed by the Senate since I have been lieutenant governor, SB 1 is within the spending limit set by the Texas Constitution and, once again, the growth rate does not exceed population multiplied by l. ‘inflation,’ said Patrick. “SB 1 will help ensure that the economic outlook for Texas continues to be bright.”

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North Dakota Homeownership Assistance Programs

If you’re a resident of North Dakota looking to buy your first home – or you’re moving to the state and you’re a first-time home buyer – the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency can help. This public housing finance authority can help you secure an affordable mortgage, down payment, and closing cost funds, both of which can speed your path to homeownership.

North Dakota First-Time Home Buyers Loan Programs

NDHFA FirstHome Program

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) FirstHome program offers competitive conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA financing to first-time home buyers.

You may be eligible for the program if you meet certain conditions, including purchase price limits based on the type of property you are purchasing. These limits range from $ 294,600 for a single-family home (new or used) to $ 566,628 for a four-unit property.

Your income also cannot exceed the program income limits, which are based on county and household size. If you are a one or two person household buying a home in Cass County, the current income limit is $ 89,400. If your household has three or more members, the cap in Cass County is $ 102,810.

There are other requirements as well: You must invest at least $ 500 towards the purchase and the house you buy must be used as your primary residence. These criteria apply to all AGDND loan programs.

Keep in mind that you might need a minimum credit score to qualify for an NDHFA loan – an NDHFA participating mortgage lender can advise you.

NDHFA Home Access Program

NDHFA’s HomeAccess program isn’t just for first-time homebuyers, but like the FirstHome program, it comes with low rates and down payment assistance. However, this program is aimed at specific groups:

  • A single parent with at least one dependent child who lives with the parent at least 50 percent of the time
  • An honorably discharged veteran (the borrower or the borrower’s spouse)
  • A borrower who lives with a permanent disability, or who has a dependent or spouse living with a permanent disability who also lives with the borrower
  • A borrower aged 65 or over, or who has a dependent or spouse aged 65 or over who also lives with the borrower

To be eligible, you must also meet the income and purchase price limits, which are the same as the FirstHome program.

NDHFA North Dakota Roots Program

NDHFA’s North Dakota Roots Loan Program may be an option for first-time homebuyers and repeat homebuyers whose income exceeds the limits of the FirstHome program. North Dakota root income limits vary by county.

Loan to target area NDHFA

If you are interested in purchasing a home in the following counties, you may also be eligible for a Low Interest Targeted Area Loan through NDHFA:

  • Benson County
  • McKenzie County
  • Rolette County
  • Sioux County

You don’t have to be a first-time home buyer to take advantage of this loan, but you will need to meet the income and purchase price limits. These limits are higher than the limits for the FirstHome and HomeAccess programs, and the purchase price can reach $ 346,315.

North Dakota Down Payment Assistance

NDHFA offers two main down payment assistance programs, both of which can be combined with an NDHFA loan. Note that if you are purchasing a property with three or four units, you will not be eligible for this assistance.

  1. NDHFA down payment and closing costs (DCA) assistance – To be eligible for the AGDN down payment and Closing Cost Assistance (DCA), you must meet the income limits of the program and complete a pre-closing buyer education course. Also, you can only buy a single-family or two-unit (duplex) home, and the property must not be in a 100-year-old floodplain. If you buy a duplex, you must occupy one of the units as your primary residence.
  2. Start NDHFA – NDHFA’s Start program also offers assistance with down payments and closing costs. Like the DCA program, you must purchase a single-family home or duplex that you intend to occupy.

Other Homeownership Loan Programs

Along with the North Dakota State programs, there are other first-time home buyer loan programs that are worth considering.

For example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the two government-funded companies responsible for the majority of the mortgage market – support conventional lending with a 3% drop. There are also government insured loan programs including FHA loans which are popular because they do not require a huge down payment. To learn more about these and other programs, see Bankrate’s guide to homeownership loans.

For other North Dakota homeownership programs, including by region, visit

To start

You can get the most up-to-date information on North Dakota Home Ownership Programs on the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency website. There you will find a list of mortgage lenders who can help you determine what you may be eligible for. Take the time to compare the mortgage rates of several lenders before committing to an offer.

Programs for buying a first home in neighboring states

Learn more:

Tight storage of potential buyers

Home prices hit a 15-year high in February as demand continues to collide with historically low supply, creating increased affordability issues as mortgage rates start to rise.

The CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and the HPI forecast for February 2021 revealed that house prices were up 10.4% nationally from February 2020. One month on the other, home prices are up 1.2% from January 2021. Home prices are expected to rise 3.2% by February 2022.

“Homebuyers are experiencing the most competitive housing market we’ve seen since the Great Recession,” said Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic. “Rising mortgage rates and severe supply constraints are pushing already overheated home prices out of the reach of some potential buyers, especially in more expensive metropolitan areas. As affordability issues persist, we could see more potential buyers out of the market and a possible slowdown in price growth on the horizon. “

CoreLogic analysis also shows that home buyers have gradually moved away from densely populated and expensive coastal areas, in favor of more affordable suburban areas. The number of home buyers in the top 10 subways with the highest net out-migration – including west coast subways like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose – who have chosen to switch to another subway has increased by three percentage points in 2020 to 21% 2019. This sentiment is reflected in CoreLogic’s recent consumer survey, which found that 57% of current non-homeowners on the West Coast believe housing options in their area are not affordable at all.

Metro areas where accessibility constraints persist include Phoenix with a 16.2% year-over-year home price appreciation, Seattle with a 12.5% ​​year-over-year increase and the Los Angeles metro area with an 8.2% year-over-year increase. house prices. At the state level, Idaho, Montana and South Dakota recorded the strongest price growth in February, up 22.6%, 19.5% and 17.1%, respectively.

“Soaring home prices are good news for current homeowners, but sobering news for potential buyers,” said Dr Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “Those looking to buy have to save for a down payment, closing costs and cash reserves, all of which are much higher as home prices rise. Add to that a rise in mortgage rates and the affordability challenge for first-time buyers becomes even greater.

A recent report from Black Knight found that it now takes 20% of median household income to make monthly payments on a mid-priced home – back to the five-year average. In January and February, it was found that there were 125,000 fewer listings compared to 2020, pushing the inventory of homes for sale 40% below last year’s level.

“Rather than an influx of homes on the market, we are now 125,000 fewer new listings in the hole compared to the first two months of 2020 and we are moving in the wrong direction,” said Ben Graboske, President of Black Knight Data & Analytics. “With higher interest rates and an ongoing shortage of inventory, it will be important to keep a close eye on home prices and affordability measures in the months to come.”

5 States Where Female Mortgage Borrowers Get the Worst Deals – RISMedia |

(TNS) – Women are getting a rough deal on mortgages in almost every corner of the country, new analysis of federal data has revealed. Compared to single male borrowers, single borrowers pay higher rates that add up to thousands of dollars in additional costs.

That’s according to a study by mortgage startup Own Up, which used data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act to compare mortgage rates paid by single women to those paid by single men who apply for loans. Women paid more in all states except Alaska, Own Up found.

Research points to another area where a gender gap puts women at a disadvantage economically. The pay gap has been widely reported, as has the fact that women pay more for cars than men.

Despite decades of regulatory efforts to eliminate discrimination in the housing sector, the “pink tax” also extends to mortgages, says Patrick Boyaggi, CEO and founder of Own Up. “Unless it’s totally fair, where men get the same rates as women, it’s not fair, and that has to change.”

Where women get the worst deals

Many mortgages are made to married couples, but Own Up has looked at the rates paid by borrowers alone. Based on a mortgage amount of $ 345,000, here’s where women would pay the most:

1. Mississippi
The typical female borrower in the state pays an average of 3.47% compared to 3.37% for men, a spread of 10 basis points that amounts to $ 7,077 over 30 years.

2. Alabama
Women pay an average of 3.44% compared to 3.36% for men, totaling $ 6,006 over 30 years.

3. Ohio
Female borrowers typically pay 3.42% versus 3.34% for men, totaling $ 5,856 over 30 years.

4. Florida
Women pay an average of 3.46% compared to 3.38% for men, totaling $ 5,591 over 30 years.

5. New Jersey
Women pay an average of 3.26% compared to 3.18% for men, totaling $ 5,515 over 30 years.

Where women get the best deals

And this is where women pay the least in additional interest charges:

1. Alaska
The typical female borrower in the state pays an average of 3.21% compared to 3.23% for men, a difference of 2 basis points that amounts to $ 1,656 over 30 years.

2. Maine
Women pay an average of 3.37% compared to 3.36% for men, totaling $ 564 over 30 years.

3. Wyoming
Female borrowers typically pay 3.29% versus 3.28% for men, totaling $ 701 over 30 years.

4. Montana
Women pay an average of 3.31% compared to 3.3% for men, totaling $ 702 over 30 years.

5. Oregon
Women pay an average of 3.33% compared to 3.31% for men, totaling $ 1,124 over 30 years.

The importance of shopping around

Own Up’s research focused on buying mortgages, so it’s not clear whether women also pay more than men for refinances. However, the new findings underscore the importance of comparative buying, whether the mortgage is for a buy or a refi.

An earlier Urban Institute study also found that women pay 7 basis points more for mortgages than men. This study found a more modest premium for women – only around $ 150.

“All-female borrowers pay more for their mortgages, both because they tend to have weaker credit characteristics and because a higher percentage of those mortgages are subprime mortgages,” he reported. ‘Urban Institute.

Boyaggi came back with a different conclusion. While credit scores are an important factor in determining your mortgage rate, Boyaggi found no evidence that borrowers were at a disadvantage in this regard.

“You just don’t see that female borrowers have very different credit scores than men,” Boyaggi says.
Many borrowers neglect to shop around for the best deal, says Boyaggi, an oversight that can translate into thousands of dollars in additional costs over the life of a loan.

In addition to getting at least three offers and ideally five mortgage offers, borrowers should actively negotiate for a lower rate or reduced closing costs, Boyaggi says.

“Consumers shouldn’t just buy a mortgage, but they should negotiate better terms,” Boyaggi says.

What you can do

To get the best deal on a mortgage:

– Shop around: Closing costs and rates vary by lender, so get three or more offers if you can.
– Negotiate: Even after you find the best deal, push for more – a better rate or concessions on closing costs.
– Understand the break-even point: this is when the savings in monthly payments offset the amount of closing costs. This refinance calculator can help you make a decision.

– Don’t look for the lowest rate: Yes, a low rate and a pittance are good, but make sure those perks aren’t overwhelmed by closing costs.

© 2021
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Montana Homeownership Assistance Programs

Skiing, biking, hiking, camping, and more – if you live in Montana, you’ve got plenty of excuses for enjoying the outdoors. The big sky cannot be your only roof, however. If you’re a first-time home buyer in the state, a good basis to start your research is the typical home value, which is currently around $ 328,800, according to Zillow.

Whether you are looking for a secluded property or want to settle into the small town vibe of Missoula, Montana Housing – the state’s housing finance authority – has a range of programs that can work with conventional, FHA programs. , VA, USDA or Section 184 loans to make buying your first home more affordable.

Montana Home Ownership Loan Programs

Montana Housing considers you a first-time home buyer until you have owned a home in the past three years. If this description suits you, consider one of these options through the agency:

Montana Regular Housing Bond Program

Montana Housing’s primary mortgage program for first-time home buyers is the Regular Bond Program, which offers a low interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan.

Needs of the borrower:

  • Annual household income cannot exceed Montana housing limits, which vary based on household size and location of home ($ 73,300 to $ 110,740)
  • You must take a training course for home buyers if all of the following apply: your credit score is below 680; your entry ratio is greater than 31%; and your back-end (debt-to-income ratio) is above 41%

Property Requirements:

  • Can be a single family home, condominium or manufactured home
  • Cannot exceed Montana home purchase price limits, which vary state-to-state from $ 294,600 to $ 475,535

Montana Housing 80% Combined program

The 80% Combination Program allows first-time homebuyers to combine a loan approved by Montana Housing for 80% of the purchase price with another loan covering the remaining 20% ​​of the price. The second loan comes from one of the agency’s partners, such as NeighbourWorks Montana or MoFi.

Needs of the borrower:

  • Must contribute at least $ 1000 of your own funds towards the purchase
  • Minimum credit score of 640
  • Maximum front-end ratio of 29% and back-end ratio (DTI) of 41%
  • Must take Home Buyer’s Training Course
  • Must meet the same income and purchase price limits as applicable to the regular bond program

Montana Veterans Home Loan Program

If you are a Montana veteran and buying your first home, you may be eligible for the Montana Veterans Home Loan Program, which offers an attractive rate below the market. You must buy your very first home to qualify, but there is no income limit, which can mean you qualify even if you are not considered a low or middle income household.

However, there is a limit to the amount you can borrow – currently $ 279,870 – and you can only buy a single-family home or certain manufactured homes, not a condo. As with other Montana home loan programs, you will need to take an education course for homebuyers. You will also need to provide at least $ 2,500 of your own funds towards the purchase, which can be used for the down payment or closing costs.

Note that this program is first come, first served – your mortgage lender can give you the latest availability.

Montana down payment assistance

If you pay monthly rent, you might be comfortable making a similar monthly mortgage payment, but not accumulating enough for a down payment and closing costs. To help you with this initial expense, Montana Housing offers two down payment assistance options. To be eligible for either one, you must first be eligible for the regular voucher program.

1. Bond Advantage down payment assistance program

The Bond Advantage Assistance Program, a 15-year loan with monthly payments, can help you get up to 5% of the selling price of your home up to $ 10,000 for your down payment and closing costs .

Needs of the borrower:

  • Minimum credit score of 620 for each name on the loan
  • Must contribute at least $ 1000 of your money towards the purchase
  • Must be eligible for a Montana Housing mortgage

2. MBOH Plus 0% deferred down payment assistance

With the MBOH Plus 0% Deferred Option, you can receive up to 5% of the selling price of your home, up to a maximum of $ 6,500. The main difference between this program and the Bond Advantage program is the lack of monthly payments. Instead, you have to pay back the aid amount when you sell your home or pay off or refinance your first mortgage. There is no additional interest charge.

Needs of the borrower:

  • Minimum credit score of 620
  • Maximum DTI ratio of 43%
  • Maximum annual income of $ 55,000
  • Must contribute at least $ 1000 of your own money towards the purchase of the house
  • Must be eligible for a Montana Housing mortgage

Other Montana Homeownership Assistance Programs

Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC)

If you don’t qualify for a Montana Housing mortgage, you may still have the option of saving as a first-time home buyer by obtaining a Mortgage Certificate of Credit (CMC). In Montana, MCC allows you to claim a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on 20% of your mortgage interest, up to a maximum of $ 2,000 per year.

However, there is an upfront fee to get an MCC ($ 500 to Montana Housing, and your lender might charge an additional $ 250), but the fee can be repaid over the life of a mortgage, so it’s worth the expense. worth considering long-term savings. .

Assistance programs for local buyers

If you are looking to buy a home in Montana’s largest city, you may be able to take advantage of another form of assistance. The City of Billings offers interest-free deferred repayment loans of up to $ 15,000 to first-time homebuyers. To qualify, you will need to meet certain income limits and you will also need to time your application well: funds usually become available in July and often run out in November of each year.

Other Homeownership Loan Programs

As you begin your search for your first home in Montana and consider your mortgage options, take advantage of Bankrate’s guide to loans and programs for first-time homebuyers to explore other offers that may be available to you. These include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, which have little or no down payment and more flexible credit standards.

For other Montana homeownership programs, including by city and county, visit

To start

Ready to make your dream Montana home a reality? Start by comparing mortgage rates in Montana to understand the current landscape of borrowing from banks, credit unions, and other mortgage lenders. If a Montana home loan is right for you, review the agency’s current rates, as well as income and price caps. Once you know if you are eligible, you can consult the participating lenders and start the process.

Whichever mortgage you choose, consider comparing several loan offers to find the one that best fits your budget.

Programs for buying a first home in neighboring states

Learn more:

Billing banks are changing and adapting in response to COVID-19 pandemic | Local News

“As the needs of our customers change, we have to be flexible and responsive to all customers and there are still a lot of customers who like and want to walk into a bank, sit with someone and talk to them face to face. to face. Brown said.

The pandemic has shown the importance of in-person banking, O’Sullivan said, especially as many Montanais faced financial uncertainty.

“It really taught us that there is a place for a physical presence, a physical branch and the ability to talk to someone one-on-one,” she said.

Montana Health Federal Credit Union, or Montana Health FCU, is a non-profit credit union that serves players in the health care industry. It is located on North Second Avenue and recently opened a new location on Shiloh Road.

The Montana Health Federal Credit Union on Shiloh Road in Billings on Thursday April 1, 2021.

MIKE CLARK Billings Gazette

Over the past year, Montana Health FCU has made changes to help its members weather the pandemic, including canceling loans, extending payments and removing overdraft fees, Dennis Wizeman said in February, president and chief executive officer of the credit union.

The credit union has members in Montana and 33 other states, Wizeman said, so serving them in person is a challenge when there are only two branches in Billings. To achieve this goal, he plans to use interactive ATMs, or ITMs, which are similar to an ATM. However, members can also make loan payments, apply for a loan, disburse cash and coins, and more. The machines are also capable of calling for assistance from a Montana Health FCU employee.

Mesa West completes first transactions on special situation lending platform

Mesa West Capital has completed the first transactions in its new special situation lending platform. The new lending platform is the next evolution in the company’s lending capabilities, providing rescue capital, mezzanine, and preferred stock up to $ 100 million.

In the platform’s early deals, Mesa West funded $ 47 million in two deals located in Chicago and San Diego. As part of the Chicago Accord, LaSalle Investment Management secured a $ 37 million mezzanine loan to refinance and stabilize a 30-story, 549,000 square foot Class A office building in Chicago’s West Loop. La Salle acquired the property in 2017 and completed a multi-million dollar renovation and increased the occupancy rate to 69%.

In San Diego, the company provided a $ 10 million mezzanine loan to a joint venture between Montana Avenue Capital Partners and Arsenale SGR for the sale / lease of a flexible portfolio of four buildings in San Diego. The seller / lessee of the transaction was Millennium Health. The San Diego and Chicago agreements included first mortgage loans from Wells Fargo Bank. Keith Largay of JLL in Chicago arranged the financing on behalf of LaSalle Investment Management, and Aldon Cole of JLL’s San Diego office arranged the financing for the sale / leaseback of Millennium Health.

While the Special Situations Platform is an evolution and expansion for Mesa West, it does not change the core business strategy. “We continue to focus on financing high-quality real estate, with strong sponsors and in markets with long-term sustainable fundamentals,” said Ronnie Gul, director of Mesa West Capital, in a statement regarding the new platform. loan. “This program is a natural extension of our existing business and allows us to provide effective solutions to our clients as they operate in a difficult economic environment.”

The lending platform is an example of the growing attention to distressed assets during the pandemic. In addition to new loan programs like this, many investors have also started partnerships to take advantage of troubled transactions. Earlier this year, Lionheart Strategic Management and Schroders Investment Management North America announced a new loan acquisition agreement target $ 250 million in transitional and troubled mortgage loan investments. CoStar predicts a large number of struggling sales to reach by mid-2021 and assumes that they will exceed the number of such deals in the latest economic downturn. CoStar’s models predict a range of between $ 96 billion and $ 370 billion.

Mesa West grants $ 37 million Mezz loan in LaSalle office tower in Chicago Refi – Commercial Observer

Alternative lender based in Los Angeles Mesa West Capital provided $ 37 million in mezzanine debt as part of a $ 153 million program that refinanced LaSalle Investment Managementthe 30-story office tower in 123 North Wacker Drive in Chicago at the end of February, according to information from Mesa West. Wells fargo provided about $ 115 million in senior debt in the transaction, sources told Commercial Observer.

The five-year, variable-rate mezzanine loan was one of two new deals to roll out of Mesa’s new special-situation lending compartment, according to the company. The other was a $ 10 million loan made to a joint venture between Montana Avenue Capital Partners and investor in creative office Arsenal SGR on the sale-leaseback of Millennial healththe old San Diego four-building corporate headquarters campus; Wells Fargo also provided an initial mortgage loan as part of this transaction.

Executive Director of Mesa West Matt Snyder led the creative team on 123 North Wacker Drive, while JLLof Keith Largay arranged funding on it; both worked in the outposts of their company in Chicago.

The bread and butter of Mesa West throughout its 17-year existence have been bridging loans, but its new Special Situations platform provides mezzanine loans, bailout financing, and preferred stock investments up to ‘to $ 100 million, across a variety of asset classes, the company said. It is a move that many companies are preparing to make in order to take advantage of the opportunities that have arisen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We continue to focus on financing high quality real estate, with strong sponsors and in markets with long-term, sustainable fundamentals,” said Mesa West Principal. Ronnie gul. “This program is a natural extension of our existing business and allows us to provide effective solutions to our clients as they operate in a difficult economic environment.”

The $ 37 million loan to LaSalle paid off nearly $ 137 million in past debts the company had incurred New York Life Insurance Company to buy Wells Fargo’s 550,000-square-foot trophy property in 2017 for $ 146.5 million. Wells ended up with the asset after a foreclosure in 2016.

The asset is in the Loop neighborhood of downtown Chicago and a few blocks west of the shores of Lake Michigan. Although it has not undergone any major renovations since its construction in 1986, LaSalle decided to deploy $ 33 million as part of a two-year capital improvement plan to modernize the asset, which saw its occupancy rate climb to 69% from 53% previously. the pandemic has confined almost everyone to their homes.

“It took a Black Swan event to stop LaSalle’s positive rental momentum at 123 Wacker,” Snyder said. “Enjoying an A + riverside location, this newly renovated and well-appointed building has proven to be competitive against more expensive new builds and will do well if the market recovers.”

This Week in History: March 22-28

25 years ago: FBI confronting ultra-right-wingers in Montana

Jordan, Montana in 2009. Credit: Meridas (Vladimír Socha), Wikimedia Commons

On March 25, 1996, the leaders of the fascist Montana Freemen group were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An impasse ensued between the FBI and the group of supporters of the heavily armed far-right organization.

The event demonstrated the extreme sensitivity of politicians in big business and the federal government to pressure from neo-fascist elements. The stalemate came following public hearings on the 1993 Waco massacre and the 1992 shooting with white separatist Randy Weaver, where Republicans in Congress openly sided with the far right.

In this case, the FBI has adopted a low-key, non-confrontational policy. The Justice Department only intervened after repeated requests for federal assistance from Garfield County Sheriff Charles Phipps, whose two-man department had received death threats from the Freemen for two years. LeRoy Schweitzer, the group’s leader, had been indicted four years earlier on charges of tax and fraud, but federal authorities took no action until 1996.

The media monopolies gave the cover of the deadlock normally reserved for major political events, inflating the importance of the episode and giving legitimacy to the far-right group. It lacked any consideration of the historical significance of the emergence of groups like the free men, nor any serious consideration of their political views and influence. They have been described as tax protesters or participants in mail-order fraud schemes, but not as racists, white supremacists, anti-Semites or neo-Nazis.

Free men were part of a larger far-right trend called “constitutionalists,” whose ideology was a mixture of religious fundamentalism and Nazi-style racial theories. They believed in a different citizenship status along racial lines, with white Christian men receiving their rights from God through the preamble and the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution. Under this ideology, everyone else derives their rights from the 14th Amendment, to be revoked by “organic citizens” as they see fit.

They appealed primarily to farmers ruined by the agricultural depression of the 1980s, offering a series of legally worded but bogus measures to defend farmers against foreclosure and eviction, revolving around claims that the departure of the United States of the gold standard made all of them denominated in dollars. invalid bank debts.

Free Men, the Montana Militia, and similar groups have made significant inroads into the Montana Republican Party. Republican state lawmakers have introduced militia-sponsored bills to ban the presence of UN forces on Montana soil, to urge all residents to arm themselves for militia service and to d ‘Require federal agents to give 24-hour written notice to local sheriffs before taking state action.

50 years ago: Washington post releases details of FBI COINTELPRO espionage

Letter from COINTELPRO plotting to publicize the pregnancy of actress Jean Seberg, who donated money to the Black Panther Party, and thus ruin her career

On March 24, 1971, the Washington post published a front-page article publicizing for the first time the vast network of illegal FBI surveillance and infiltration activities against US citizens as part of the covert Operation COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) . The FBI spy operation spied on, infiltrated and conspired to publicly discredit a wide range of individuals and organizations associated with the civil rights movement, opposition to the Vietnam War and socialism.

the To post learned of COINTELPRO’s existence after anonymously receiving files that had been stolen from an FBI office in Media, Pa on March 8, 1971. The files were accompanied by a letter explaining that the documents had been acquired by a group Calling itself the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI.

The group sent the FBI files to several newspapers and demanded that the information be released so that the public could learn about illegal government activities. Most of the major newspapers initially refused to print the story. However, after the Washington post broke the news, it grabbed the world’s attention and the next day made headlines around the world.

COINTELPRO’s activities have gone far beyond simply collecting information and writing reports on the activities of left-wing groups. As part of the operation, starting in 1956, the FBI plotted to infiltrate and destroy organizations and movements considered to be “subverting” the national interest. Among those targeted by the counterintelligence operations were virtually all socialist leanings, the civil rights movement and its leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and liberation groups. women and individuals as diverse as black nationalist Malcolm X, boxing champion Muhammed Ali and actress Jean Seberg.

A central element of the FBI’s strategy was to send agents to the targeted organizations and encourage internal conflicts that would cause splits. One of the government’s main methods was to promote violence or illegal activity which could then be used to justify arrests and violent attacks by the police. Many groups like the Black Panthers and the Socialist Workers Party found themselves overrun with agents. The Black Panthers have faced a savage crackdown through COINTELPRO. Many members were assassinated as a result of its operations, including Fred Hampton, leader of the Chicago Black Panther Party.

In April 1971, in reaction to overwhelming public opposition to espionage operations, COINTELPRO was officially fired by the FBI. However, espionage and infiltration activities continued under other program names.

75 Years Ago: The Bandung “Sea of ​​Fire” Incident in the Midst of the Indonesian Revolution

75 Years Ago: The Bandung “Sea of ​​Fire” Incident in the Midst of the Indonesian Revolution

On March 24, 1946, Indonesian troops fighting for independence oversaw the mass evacuation of Bandung, one of the country’s largest cities, and deliberately burned down much of its southern part in an act of defiance against the British authorities seeking to restore colonial rule. The incident, which sparked a massive fire, has come to be known as the “sea of ​​fire”.

In August 1945, Indonesian national leaders issued a proclamation of independence after the defeat of Japan in World War II, which had occupied the archipelago for three years. The British, along with the Dutch, the former colonial power, quickly intervened.

British troops arrived in Bandung at the end of September. In October, Indonesian independence militias, along with workers and peasants, launched attacks on the remaining Japanese troops, disarming them and seizing their property. At the end of November, British forces, who had taken over much of the city, were likewise besieged. The attacks were carried out simultaneously with an armed uprising against the British in the city of Surabaya.

The British responded by demanding that northern Bandung be rid of much of its population and serve as a base for wealthy European elites and its own military. The governor and the Indonesian national administration, who were seeking a compromise with the imperialist powers, accepted this request. The city was effectively divided into a northern zone, controlled by the British, and a southern zone, where a newly created Indonesian police force had authority. At least 100,000 residents of northern Bandung left in the space of several months.

In March 1946, after the resumption of clashes between colonial troops and nationalist forces, the British extended their demand, issuing an ultimatum that all Bandung be rid of the Indonesian militia. In statements to city officials, this would be accompanied by an operation to secure British control over all of Bandung.

Faced with the prospect of a bloody crackdown, as happened in Surabaya, nationalist forces led by radical independence leader Nasution retaliated by declaring a general evacuation of southern Bandung on March 24. an attempt to prevent their use by the British and Dutch. The fire quickly spread uncontrollably.

Estimates of the number of residents who have fled vary. It was estimated at the time that there were only 16,000 people left in northern Bandung, almost none in the south, compared to a pre-disaster population of 380,000. Eighteen months later, a guest reporter described it as a “dead town with grass growing in its streets.”

100 years ago: US rejects trade deal with Soviet Russia

Charles Evans Hughes, photographed in 1931

On March 25, 1921, Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State for Administration to Republican President Warren Harding, rejected the resumption of trade relations between the United States and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In a telegram to the Soviet government, Hughes said that the trade discussion could not resume until there was “recognition of firm guarantees for the right to private property” on the part of the Soviets.

Hughes’ statement followed a March 22 letter to President Harding from the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Soviets proposing a discussion on the subject.

the New York Times reported that Hughes’ position was the result of an extensive discussion by Harding’s cabinet during which Hughes did a two-hour review of the international situation. the Time noted the dire economic distress of Soviet Russia and that the decision of the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party to loosen the reins of capitalist property (soon known as the New Economic Policy) to revive the Soviet economy had been carefully considered in the State Department.

US officials had been anticipating a trade proposal since the UK signed a trade deal with Soviet Russia earlier in March. In January, the US government expelled Ludwig Martens, an unofficial Soviet envoy who was trying to negotiate trade relations between the two countries.

Could Private Student Loans Be Forgiven Under Biden?

President Biden has directed attorneys at the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice to conduct a legal review of his options to cancel student debt. That legal review is ongoing, and it is unclear what the conclusions will be, although we may know soon.

Biden has consistently expressed support for cancelling student debt, but he has opposed calls for upwards of $50,000 or more in student loan forgiveness, an amount pushed by progressive Democrats and a broad coalition of advocacy groups, labor unions, and civil rights organizations. He has indicated that he would support $10,000 in student loan forgiveness, and he has also argued that any student debt cancellation should be targeted to lower income borrowers.

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But would borrowers with private student loans benefit from any sort of mass cancellation of student debt? Here’s what we know.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are originated by commercial lenders such as banks, schools, state-related or nonprofit lending authorities, and other private entities. These types of student loans often have higher interest rates than federal loans and fewer repayment options. They may also require a cosigner.

Private student loans differ from an older federal student loan program called the Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL) program, whereby a private lender originated a type of federal loan that was backed or guaranteed by the government. Those types of loans could be eligible for certain federal student loan repayment and forgiveness programs, and can also be consolidated into a government-owned student loan through the federal Direct consolidation program. But purely private student loans cannot access any federal loan programs, and cannot be consolidated into a federal Direct loan.

Biden Cancelling Student Loan Debt Through Executive Action

While Biden has expressed general support for cancelling student loan debt, he has expressed serious doubts that he would have authority to enact any sort of mass student loan forgiveness through executive action. Several leading student loan legal advocacy groups, as well as their allies in Congress (such as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren), have argued that the Higher Education Act — the sweeping statute that governs much of the federal student aid system — gives the president very broad powers to “compromise, waive, or release” a borrower’s student debt obligations. Borrower advocates have also pointed to the HEROES Act, which Biden (and President Trump, before him) used to suspend payments and interest on government-held federal student loans in response to the Covid-19 emergency, effectively cancelling billions of dollars in student loan interest in the process.MORE FOR YOUIf Biden Cancels Student Loans, It Could Look Like ThisWhat If Biden Doesn’t Cancel Student Loans?5 Signs Biden Won’t Enact Student Loan Cancellation

But other experts disagree. Attorneys at the Department of Education under former Secretary Betsy DeVos concluded that neither the Higher Education Act nor the HEROES Act gives the president the kind of power that advocates of student loan cancellation say exists. In a legal opinion memo, Department attorneys argued that mass student loan forgiveness would be contrary to what Congress intended when it drafted and enacted these statutes. The attorneys concluded that, “Congress appropriated funds for student loans with the expectation that such loans would be repaid” absent extraordinary and “specific circumstances.”

Even if the current legal review being conducted by the Biden administration concludes that mass student loan forgiveness is achievable using executive action, any relief would almost certainly be limited to federal student loans only. The Higher Education Act and the HEROES Act only govern the federal student aid system. Private student loans are governed largely by individual loan contracts and promissory notes between the borrower and lender, with a mix of state and federal regulation.

Biden Could Sign a Bill Passed by Congress to Cancel Private Student Loans

The Biden administration has repeatedly stated that the President would gladly sign a student debt cancellation bill passed by Congress. And there have been several recent proposals that could benefit private student loan borrowers:

  • Last year, the House passed a bill that would provide for $10,000 in private student loan forgiveness for borrowers experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
  • Also last year, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would have provided up to $10,000 in financial assistance to borrowers to help them pay down their private student loans.
  • In February, Senate Democrats unveiled the Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2021. This bill would make several reforms to the U.S. bankruptcy code, and would make it much easier for student loan borrowers (including those with private student loans) to discharge their federal and private student debt in bankruptcy — something that is currently very difficult to do because of the bankruptcy code’s harsh treatment of student loan debt.
  • Earlier this month, the House passed the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act, which would allow private student loan borrowers and their cosigners to discharge their loans if they become totally and permanently disabled.

While these bills are promising, they face long odds in the Senate, where Democrats hold only a bare majority, and most legislation requires buy-in from Republicans to overcome a filibuster. In addition, Congress’s attention is currently on other matters including infrastructure legislation, police reform, and voting rights.

Ultimately, significant private student loan reform and cancellation is possible, but it’s a long shot, and Biden has limited powers to address private student loans unilaterally using executive authority. It would probably take Congressional legislation that passes both the House and the Senate for there to be sweeping private student loan forgiveness. Whether that will happen remains to be seen.