PHH 2021 Mortgage Lender Review: Lack of Transparency


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Based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, PHH Mortgage is a non-bank lender that has worked in mortgage services for 30 years. It operates in 18 states and offers conventional loans, government guaranteed mortgages, jumbo loans, and a few other products.

The biggest downside we see with this lender is a major lack of transparency and a worrying history of negative customer reviews and legal issues. You will need to register online to receive mortgage application information and check mortgage rates. Before applying for a mortgage with PHH Mortgage, here is what you need to know.

Advantages and disadvantages of the PHH mortgage

The inconvenients

  • Major lack of transparency on the borrowing process on the lender’s website and by phone call

  • Mortgage rates are not available online

  • Only permitted in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island

PHH mortgage: Types of loans and products

Compared to other lenders, PHH Mortgage offers are standard. Borrowers can take out conventional fixed and variable rate loans as well as mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans).

Borrowers can also take out jumbo loans, which are mortgages that exceed conforming loan limits, and loans for vacation homes and investment property. You can also request conventional rate and term refinancing and withdrawal refinancing from this lender. But you won’t find home equity loans and lines of credit, construction loans, USDA loans, home improvement loans, bridging loans, and other niche products.

Here’s a look at what PHH Mortgage currently offers:

PHH mortgage transparency

The most worrying aspect of this lender was PHH Mortgage’s lack of transparency. After numerous attempts to contact PHH Mortgage via email, phone call and one of its physical branches, we were unable to contact a representative. We also never got a response after submitting an online form to request more information about loans with PHH.

This left us with no information on the borrowing or refinancing process, minimum credit score and down payment requirements, fees borrowers might pay on closing, or mortgage rates offered by the lender.

This matches up with several consumer reviews who generally describe the lender as uncommunicative and disorganized. Since the end of 2012, this lender has accumulated nearly 3,300 complaints in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s complaints database, and the Better Business Bureau has given PHH Mortgage a “C” rating.

In 2018, the lender was ordered to pay $ 45 million to settle claims brought against it by 50 attorneys general “for alleged misconduct related to its management of single-family residential mortgages.”

The lender’s parent company, Ocwen Financial Corp., has also been involved in legal battles that allege the company misapplied mortgage payments, failed to make insurance payments on behalf of its borrowers, and generally abused his clients. In 2020, the Florida State Attorney General ordered Ocwen to pay more than $ 11 million to consumers who have been harmed by Ocwen’s alleged service failures.

PHH mortgage: rates and fees

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a mortgage lender is the cost of your home loan. PHH Mortgage does not advertise the daily refinance and purchase rates on its loans, nor does it offer a list of fees borrowers may pay at closing. But it lists several fees borrowers might have to pay during the repayment process, including:

  • NSF / Insufficient Funds Check Fee
  • Late charge
  • Refund Quote Fee
  • Mortgage Verification Document Fee

According to the lender’s website, you can apply for a single rate lock-in, which means your interest rate won’t change between your offer and closing, when you apply for a mortgage. PHH also offers “rate protection,” which acts as a floating rate lock. If mortgage rates drop after you set a rate, you may receive a lower rate within five days of closing. Refinancing borrowers can lock in a lower rate within 15 days of closing.

Pro tip

The best way to save on your home loan is to compare offers side by side. Start by submitting mortgage applications to multiple lenders and requesting a loan estimate. Take the best offer and send it to another lender, asking them to offer a lower interest rate or closing costs (or both). Having strong credit can help lenders compete for your business.

Borrowers will also find educational resources, checklists and lists of frequently asked questions on the website. And although PHH does not list the minimum credit score requirements to qualify for a home loan, its website does indicate that the lender has options for clients with less than perfect credit.

The fees you pay for any loan will be specific to your situation. So, if you do decide to apply for a home loan with PHH Mortgage, be sure to get a closing cost worksheet or loan estimate so you can look at all of the costs associated with the loan. This document lists your interest rate, annual percentage rate (APR), points of call, and closing costs.

Refinancing with PHH Mortgage

If you have an existing mortgage, you could save money by refinancing a loan, paying off your old balance, and paying off the new loan over time. Borrowers usually do this to save money or to borrow money. PHH Mortgage offers the following types of refinance loans:

  • Refinancing at rate and duration, in which you will get a new interest rate, a new loan term, or both. If you qualify for a lower rate, this type of refinance can help save you money. Calculate the total interest paid on your old loan versus the new loan to make sure you are ahead of the game.
  • Refinancing of collection, in which you take out a new loan for more than what you currently owe, then pay off the old mortgage and keep the difference.

PHH Mortgage does not provide a closing deadline for its refinance loans, but industry standards can help you estimate this deadline. According to ICE Mortgage Technology, a refinance close took 52 days in March 2021.

The fees you pay to refinance a mortgage are typically 2-3% of the loan amount. Once you have applied for a refinance loan, PHH should send you a closing cost estimate that lists these fees. If you want to minimize your upfront costs, PHH can factor your closing costs into the loan amount. This is called a “no-cost refinance”. While convenient, it can cost you more in the long run as you pay interest on closing costs.

The PHH mortgage compared to other mortgage lenders

PHH mortgage Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. Guild Mortgage
Minimum credit score Not provided 620 for conventional loans; 660 for jumbo loans; 600 for FHA loans; 600 for VA loans 620 for conventional loans; 600 for FHA, VA, and USDA loans; 680 for jumbo loans
Minimum deposit Not provided 0% to 5% 0% to 3.5% on most loans; 15% on jumbo loans
Where the lender operates 18 states 50 states All states except New York and New Jersey
Main types of loans Conventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, adjustable rate, fixed rate, refinancing Conventional, Jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, Various Home Improvement Loans, Variable Rate, Fixed Rate, Refinance, Refinance With Withdrawal, Reverse Mortgages, Home Equity Loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit Conventional, Jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, Various Home Improvement Loans, Variable Rate, Fixed Rate, Refinance, Cash Refinance, Energy Efficient Mortgages, Manufactured Home Loans, Bridge Loans

How To Shop For The Best Mortgage Rate

One of the best ways to save money on your home loan is to shop around. Each lender has their own way of calculating interest rates and closing costs, so you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan by comparing offers.

Begin the shopping process by contacting three to five lenders, submitting a mortgage application, and requesting a loan estimate. This is a standardized form, so it will be easy to find the lender with the lowest mortgage rate and closing costs. Ask what each fee is and whether or not it is negotiable. Two loans can have the same interest rate, but one can have much higher upfront fees.

Final result

Choosing a mortgage lender is an important part of the home buying process. PHH Mortgage offers several typical home loans, including conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and jumbo loans. But if you’re looking for more specific mortgage types or want to see how PHH stacks up against the competition, you can take a look at the top 2021 mortgage lenders and compare your options. This is the best way to get a good deal on your home loan.


Matt Damon interviewed TAB’s Live Today Show in Australia


Honorary Australian Matt damon just gave an interview in the United States Today’s show a local Australian TAB and a muuuuum, can we keep it?

During the interview, the actor was asked about the news that his boyfriend Ben affleck would have rekindled his romance with his ex-fiancee Jennifer lopez after the couple were pictured vacationing together in Montana. Damon said he couldn’t spill tea, but said he hopes it’s true because “that would be awesome.”

“There isn’t enough alcohol in the world for you to make me say something about it,” he said live from the TAB.

“I love them both,” Damon said. “I hope that’s true. It would be great.”

The actor attended a domestic violence charity event in Brisbane last week and, according to a Reddit post, he made an epic donation of $ 10,000 to the cause.

The actor, who is in town filming the new Thor film, attended the domestic violence charity event hosted by the Safe Haven charity with his miss, Luciana Barroso.

According to the Reddit post of the daughter of Denise hunter, the woman who founded the company, Matt Damon donated $ 10,000 to the cause because, as stated earlier in this article, he is an absolute angel sent from heaven.

Taste the glorious picture of Matt Damon with Denise Hunter:

My mother founded an association that fights against domestic violence. At a fundraising lunch, Matt Damon came over and donated $ 10,000 from Australia

According to Denise’s daughter, Matt Damon was “really interested” in the topic of domestic violence and stayed throughout the event.

The Courier Mail reports that the two attended the lunch to learn more about the issues with coercive control.

“He took the time to call and have lunch, and he was fantastic,” said Jaeneen Cunningham, executive director of the organization represented above.

“I spoke to his wife and she said it was a fantastic thing that we were doing and that they were more educated after the event.

All money raised through donations will be used to provide early intervention and housing for women and children. Go here to learn more about the work Safe Haven does.

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Insect Repellents Market – Growth, Trends, Impact of COVID-19, and Forecast (2021-2026)

The global insect repellents market was valued at US $ 4,150. 91 million in 2020 while registering a CAGR of 6.85% – during the period 2021-2026. COVID-19 has a positive outlook on the global insect repellents market across the globe as it is viewed as a home hygiene and care product.New York, May 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – announces “Insect Repellents Market – Growth, Trends, Impact of COVID-19 and Forecast (2021 – 2026)” report released – In addition, the demand for Personal hygiene and Home care products are expected to increase further in the coming days due to growing consumer awareness in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, manufacturing companies believe the pandemic has made consumers more aware of the need to maintain hygiene, both personally and at home, to reduce the risk of infection, which is expected to become a long-term trend. . The growing threat of diseases such as dengue, malaria, chikungunya, Zika virus and yellow fever are expected to increase demand for insect repellents during the forecast period. Government initiatives to combat disease, increased public health awareness and affordable costs of these products are some of the major factors increasing the demand for insect repellents around the world. and population increase, the demand for mosquito repellents is steadily increasing, especially in the tropics of the region. In addition, the wide range of insect repellents including mosquito repellents in different price brackets have made it easily accessible and affordable for a large consumer base. There is an increase in the adoption of mosquito repellents. insect repellents based on natural ingredients. The adoption of such mosquito repellents is increasing, in order to avoid problems, such as rashes and allergies, among others. Manufacturers are offering various products which reduce the harmful effects of repellents due to the content of and contained in them, which in turn is expected to significantly boost the growth of the insect repellents market during the forecast period. Cases of Mosquito-borne Diseases Health awareness is increasing among urban populations around the world, as awareness of mosquito bite safety increases. In addition, the increasing literacy rate in developing countries in the face of the growing number of mosquito-borne diseases is helping the rural population to focus more on health and cleanliness. Different regions are affected by different mosquito-borne diseases depending on the climate, the types of mosquitoes common in the region, and access to preventive measures and medicines. However, the impact of these diseases remains widespread. For example, in Michigan, between 2004 and 2016, there were 1,493 cases of mosquito-borne illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The incidence of dengue has increased dramatically around the world in recent years. In addition, 2016 was characterized by significant outbreaks of dengue, worldwide. According to the WHO, the Americas region reported more than 2.38 million cases in 2016, while Brazil alone contributed just under 1.5 million cases, about three times more than in 2014 . Insect repellent market in Asia-Pacific region due to being the most populous country with high disposable income, growing awareness, improved standard of living and affordable price of insect repellent, this which increased its penetration into household items. All of these factors cumulatively increase product sales. In addition, household insects like flies, termites, bedbugs, ants, cockroaches and others are very common there. The use of insect repellants in most sprays, sprays, chalk, powders and the like in usable form has caused product sales in Chinese homes to proliferate. While in India, growing awareness and growing health concerns among the people, supported by increased household income and affordable prices of the product, have improved the penetration of insect repellents in Indian homes. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Framework for the Elimination of Malaria in 2016. In addition, the government launched the National Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Malaria which defines strategies for the next five years, starting from 2017, that is to say from 2017 to 2022. In addition, the launch of various programs like Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan have created a sense and importance of hygiene and cleanliness in the minds of people, which has improved the growth of the market. For example, the incidence of malaria caused by mosquitoes has decreased considerably. According to WHO data, there was a 28% drop in malaria cases and 41% in malaria-related deaths during the period 2017-2018. Insect repellant in coil form is the most popular product in the region due to its cost effectiveness and availability in all retail channels. In the rural areas of the region, offline distribution means like convenience stores are more popular sales channels.Competitive Landscape The global insect repellents market is very stagnant and competitive, with the presence of various global and regional players. The major market share of the global insect repellents market is dominated by companies like SC Johnson & Son which is the market leader, followed by the brands Spectrum and Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC in 2020. Extensive product portfolio, presence global and the company’s continued activities in the studied market have made Godrej Consumer Products a market leader. During the period under review, the company mainly focused on product innovations, as it developed four innovative products with the aim of expanding its product portfolio and global presence. Another market leader, SC Johnson & Son, is also benefiting from higher sales in the studied market, supported by the consumer trend towards its wider range of products, including all types of products, such as DEET products, natural and organic insect repellents and other products. As a result, to further strengthen its market position, the company has invested heavily to increase the production of its commodities Reasons to purchase this report: – The Market Estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format – 3 months of analyst support Read the full report: About ReportlinkerReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker researches and curates the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need – instantly, in one place .__________________________ CONTACT: Clare: [email protected] US: (339) -368- 6001 Intl: + 1339-368 -6001


Why wheat markets have peaked for 10 years


BILLING – Squeeze supplies and drought in the northern plains are pushing wheat prices to some of their highest levels in more than a decade.

Jim Bower of Bower Trading says the wheat market itself probably does not have the fundamentals to keep it rising at the current rate, but with outside help, farmers could see wheat prices continue to rise. increase.

“When it comes to wheat prices, a lot of it depends on what the price of corn is doing,” Bower said. “And I think corn hit levels almost unimaginable just six months ago. So when the corn took off, the wheat farmers were waiting to see what would happen. Then things dried up across the vast region of the Canadian Prairies, in parts of Montana to the Dakota, and that has not changed yet. Now that may change on the road and things may get a bit better but they really need some precipitation in this area. Some customers tell me it’s dry. On a larger scale, there is now a lot of money coming out of stocks in commodities, which we haven’t seen for several years, especially money coming from managed funds and the Chinese covering their needs in commodities. stocks. There is also an international aspect to which we must pay attention on a daily basis. You cannot trade this market on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. You have to trade it daily now because there is too much up and down movement at the same time. “

He says all eyes are on spring wheat because there is a lot of movement towards it that other classes of wheat don’t really understand.

“We really need to watch the price of spring wheat, more than hard red winter wheat or soft red winter wheat, because spring wheat is the most inelastic product on the planet,” he said. Bower said. whatever the price, the demand must always be satisfied by the market. That’s why in the past we’ve seen spring wheat make these huge spikes up to almost $ 20. I’m certainly not saying it will happen again, but the market will understand it. And the market knows that whatever the price, the demand must be met. “

While higher corn prices support wheat markets, on the other hand, they certainly give cattle ranchers a lot of heartburn as higher feed prices put strong downward pressure. in livestock markets.


Jennifer Lopez overcomes ex-Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez by flying off with Ben Affleck, reports show


Bennifer is back. But J-Rod is gone.

E! News reports that singer / actress Jennifer Lopez is overcoming her breakup with former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez by rekindling her romance with Ben Affleck.

After the stars appeared separately at the VAX LIVE concert in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 2, they flew together to the Yellowstone Club in Montana, where they vacationed together for about a week, a source told E! New. “They were alone,” said the source. “Just both. “

TMZ has details on the getaway:

Ben and Jen were at the Big Sky Resort in Montana, very close to Yellowstone National Park. They were staying at the same resort and driving together … They also left Montana together Sunday from Bozeman, Montana to LA. house in Bel-Air. … A source from Montana who spotted them told TMZ that they look a lot like a couple.

Introducing Yankees Insider: Receive exclusive news, behind-the-scenes insight and the ability to text directly with the beat makers

In March, the New York Post reported that Rodriguez and Lopez had ended their engagement, which dated back to 2019. Then last month, Rodriguez and Lopez announced their relationship was over in a statement on the “Today” show. .

We have realized that we are better as friends and we can’t wait to stay that way. We will continue to work together and support each other on our common activities and projects. We wish each other and our children the best. Out of respect for them, the only other comment we have to say is thank you to everyone who sent kind words and support.

Two weeks after the announcement, Lopez was spotted in Los Angeles with Affleck, 48, who she was engaged to from 2002 to 2004. At the time, New York Post page six reported that the reunion was “just right. friendly “.

But according to E! News, the chemistry between Lopez and Affleck “is unreal. They picked up where they left off and are enjoying each other’s company right now.

So where does that leave Rodriguez, 45? On the bench, despite repeated attempts to reconcile with Lopez.

US Weekly reported that Rodriguez is hoping for one more round at home plate with Lopez, 51. But according to the report, “J. Lo still doesn’t trust A-Rod. She is very skeptical, but she heard it because she still has a lot of love for him.

Receive Yankees SMS: Eliminate the clutter of social media and text during games with beat writers and columnists. Plus, exclusive news and analysis every day. Register now.

Thank you for relying on us to provide you with journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting with a subscription.

Mike Rosenstein can be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.


CFPB reports on mortgage forbearance and defaults – Finance and Banking


United States: CFPB reports on mortgage forbearance and defaults

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In two publications, the CFPB reported on the results of analyzes of mortgage forbearance and pandemic-related defaults and consumer complaints.

In a special feature on “Characteristics of Mortgage Borrowers During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the CFPB found that mortgage abstention and delinquency is significantly more prevalent in communities of color and low-income communities. The CFPB found that single borrower mortgages accounted for a significantly higher share of past due or overdue loans compared to those that were outstanding. In addition, the CFPB found that “the share of loans with a loan-to-value ratio greater than 60% was significantly higher for borrowers withheld (50%) or in arrears (51%) than for those who were in good standing. (34%) ”. The CFPB concluded that “as programs designed to help mortgage borrowers during the pandemic end, borrowers in forbearance or delinquent programs may be at a disproportionate risk of losing their homes.”

In a newsletter detailing mortgage complaints, the CFPB determined that consumers primarily face issues regarding (i) the accuracy and clarity of the information provided by their loan officers regarding the status of their loans or post-forbearance options and (ii) significant delays or refusals of loan modifications.

The CFPB noted that it had recently published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend Regulation X, 12 CFR 1024 and the existing provisions of the Mortgage Service Rule to add additional protections for borrowers related to COVID-19. The public comment period ends on May 10, 2021.

Primary sources

  1. CFPB Press Release: CFPB Releases Reports Detailing Ongoing COVID-19 Challenges for Mortgage Borrowers
  2. CFPB Report: Characteristics of Mortgage Borrowers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. CFPB Report: Complaints Bulletin – Mortgage Forbearance Problems Described in Consumer Complaints

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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LIBOR’s long goodbye

Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP

Loan or not, borrowers unwittingly notice changes in the interest rates charged to them. Why do you ask?


Some states are cutting unemployment benefits to push people back to work – are the extra benefits really keeping Americans out of the workforce?


Jobs in the United States topped 8 million in March for the very first time, the Labor Department said on Tuesday, up from 7.5 million jobs opened the previous month, but many employers say that they cannot find workers.

Given Friday’s disappointing jobs report, which found 266,000 jobs were created last month compared to most economists’ forecast of 1 million jobs, many lawmakers are pushing to cut benefits unemployment, which they say would eliminate a growing labor shortage.

President Joe Biden acknowledged that “some employers are struggling to fill jobs” in his prepared remarks on the jobs report.

But when asked if improved unemployment benefits prevented some workers from returning to work, he replied: “No, nothing measurable.”

“Study after study has shown that improving unemployment benefits did not prevent workers from returning to work”

– Senator Ron Wyden (D., Oregon)

White House economist Jared Bernstein said this was true even in states where the ratio of the amount of money people receive in unemployment benefits to their previous salary is the highest. He added that “we listen to these anecdotes [of labor shortages] we take them seriously, we monitor them, ”he said in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday.

But some argue that improved unemployment benefits play an important role in people’s willingness to return to work. The governors of South Carolina and Montana are tracing labor shortages that employers face in their states to federal unemployment benefits and eliminating them in their states.

“Right now there are 81,684 open positions in the state of South Carolina. The hotel and restaurant industries are experiencing employee shortages that threaten their sustainability, ”said Dan Ellzey, director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

“While federal funds have supported our unemployed during the peak of COVID-19, we fully agree that re-employment is the best stimulus package for Southern Carolinians and the state’s economic health.”

“There are 81,684 open positions in the state of South Carolina. The hotel and restaurant industries are experiencing employee shortages that threaten their sustainability ”

– Dan Ellzey, director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, on Thursday ordered his state’s labor department to end all federal unemployment programs. This includes the additional $ 300 per week that unemployed Americans can receive until September as part of President Joe Biden’s US bailout stimulus package.

Collective workers, independent contractors and self-employed workers would not receive any benefits. These workers only became eligible for federal unemployment benefits through a program under the CARES Act known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, a Republican, goes even further.

In addition to ending Montana’s participation in federal unemployment benefit programs, effective June 27, Gianforte said the state “will initiate a back-to-work bonus program, using federal funds authorized by the government. the American Rescue Plan Act, ”according to a statement released Tuesday.

The program would pay a one-time bonus of $ 1,200 to those hired who were previously receiving unemployment benefits. A person must have benefited from unemployment insurance by May 4, accept a new job and keep that job for at least 4 weeks of paid work.

“Almost all sectors of our economy are facing a labor shortage”

– Governor of Montana Greg Gianforte

“Montana is open for business again, but I hear too many employers across our state who can’t find workers. Almost all sectors of our economy are facing a labor shortage, ”said Gianforte.

“Incentives matter,” he added, “and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. “

The Labor Department did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request to find out whether the state could legally reallocate funds set aside for unemployment benefits.

“According to the Chamber’s analysis, the $ 300 benefit means that about one in four beneficiaries earn more when unemployed than they earned while working.”

– US Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Policy Director Neil Bradley

The US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby group, agrees with McMaster and Gianforte.

“The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work slows down what should be a stronger job market,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“One step policymakers should take now is to end the additional weekly unemployment benefits of $ 300. According to the Chamber’s analysis, the $ 300 benefit means that about 1 in 4 beneficiaries earn more when unemployed than they earned while working.

Other factors preventing Americans from returning to work

Ben Zipperer, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, tweeted this in response to the US Chamber of Commerce:

Zipperer said other factors, including fears of returning to the workplace and inadequate wages, play a role in the equation. “It’s hard to overstate the difficulty and stress that work in the service sector now demands: additional health and safety protocols, anti-vaccine management, serious risk of disease,” he wrote on Twitter . “To ask someone to work for the salary before the pandemic is to ask for a real pay cut.”

Recent research suggests that increased unemployment benefits do not prevent workers from re-entering the workforce, or at least trying to: A Chicago Federal Reserve study earlier in the pandemic, when Americans without employment received $ 600 more per week in benefits, found that those receiving benefits “looked more than twice as intensely” for a job as those who had exhausted their benefits.

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who heads the Senate Finance Committee, called efforts to eliminate improved unemployment benefits “deeply concerning.”

“Improved unemployment benefits have helped save the economy by ensuring that millions of families can pay rent and shop for groceries during this crisis,” he said in a statement Friday. “Cutting all benefits when millions of workers have not yet been able to return to work could cause enormous financial hardship and sabotage our economic recovery. “

“Study after study has shown that improving unemployment benefits has not prevented workers from returning to work, and other factors are at play here, such as the lack of childcare services for millions of women and lingering concerns about the virus. ”

Employees’ desire to return also seems to vary depending on the sector. “[T]he employment report shows a sharp increase in leisure and hospitality jobs, suggesting that ‘generous’ unemployment insurance is not a barrier to working in these industries, ”said Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank focused on the impact of budget and tax issues on inequality and poverty.


Mortgage service complaints peak in three years


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report this week showing mortgage complaints with the government agency reached their highest level in three years.

The CFPB received approximately 38,100 complaints regarding the origination and servicing of mortgages between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, which represents approximately 5% of all complaints received by the CFPB during this period. The overall volume of mortgage complaints rose to over 3,400 complaints in March 2021, the highest monthly volume of mortgage complaints since April 2018.

Many consumers have complained that service providers do not provide clear and precise information about their options. In particular, consumers reported that service providers did not provide loss mitigation information until the consumer’s forbearance ended, and information provided on options after forbearance was confusing and incomplete.

According to the estimate of the Mortgage Bankers Association, 2.23 million owners are in the forbearance plan. Total forbearance loans decreased by 2 basis points compared to the previous week: from 4.49% to 4.47%.

The CFPB urged mortgage agents to take whatever steps are necessary to avoid a wave of preventable foreclosures this fall. Millions of homeowners currently forborne will need the help of their maintenance workers when federal emergency mortgage protections related to the pandemic expire this summer and fall.

“There is a tidal wave of distressed homeowners who will need the help of their mortgage agents over the next few months,” CFPB interim director Dave Uejio said in April. “Responsible repairers should prepare now. There is no time to waste, and no excuse for inaction. No one should be surprised by what is coming.

Uejio said CFPB’s first priority is to make sure families in difficulty get the help they need. “Duty officers who put struggling families first have nothing to fear from our oversight, but we will hold accountable those who harm homeowners and families,” he said.

The main findings of the CFPB complaint bulletin include the following abstention issues:

A common topic raised by consumers in mortgage forbearance complaints concerned communications from service agents. Some consumers have expressed frustration that service providers have not made it clear what relief options will be available at the end of their forbearance period. In particular, some of these consumers were concerned about what would happen to forborne payments and the possibility of extending a forbearance period.

Many of these complaints came from phone calls with maintenance workers, suggesting that maintenance workers may not communicate clearly about the variety of options available.

Some consumers reported that after calling their suppliers, they felt that a lump sum payment, reimbursement plan, or modification were the only options available after forbearance. The ability to modify their loans by moving any missed payments to the end of the loan term was not clearly communicated or discussed during some of these conversations.

Other consumers said they were not told their loan did not qualify for deferrals until their forbearance plan ended. Some consumers have described the confusion with mandatory account notices. Others reported long delays in modifying their loan to meet forborne payments.

Based on complaints and responses from service providers, the CFPB suggests that consumers would benefit from clearer communication from service providers over the phone and in writing.

“Service providers who proactively communicate before the forbearance period ends can help give consumers enough time to understand all of the relief options available and to seek help,” the report said.

Some mortgage agents may soon find themselves subject to increased supervision and enforcement activities.

“There is a tidal wave of distressed homeowners who will need the help of their mortgage agents over the next few months,” Uejio said in April. “Responsible repairers should prepare now. There is no time to waste, and no excuse for inaction. No one should be surprised by what is coming. Our first priority is to ensure that families in difficulty get the help they need. Service officers who put struggling families first have nothing to fear from our oversight, but we will hold accountable those who harm homeowners and families. ”

Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president and chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association, recently expressed optimism about the financial health of the housing market.

“The share of loans in forbearance fell for the ninth consecutive week, falling by 2 basis points,” he said. “The exit rate has slowed over the past two weeks, with this week’s exit rate hitting the lowest since February.”

Fratantoni added: “The labor market and housing market data remains strong. We expect further hiring gains to help support many owners as they come out of forbearance in the coming months. “


Montana Withdraws Federal Unemployment Benefits, Creates $ 1,200 Incentive To Find A Job | national news


The demand for workers is high, Ward said, because there is a lot of money flowing through the state’s economy. Total labor incomes increased in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, even though employment was down, and people received stimulus checks.

“People are spending this money and businesses expect that as more and more people get vaccinated, they will spend even more of this money,” Ward said.

Because of this, Ward said, goods-sector employment in Montana has already fully recovered and even increased.

This means that the demand is high relative to the supply of workers. And the service sector, such as tourism, accommodation, food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, is just trying to grow.

“They all do it at the same time,” Ward said.

Another factor is the low unemployment rate.

Montana’s unemployment rate is 3.8%, almost as low as it was before the pandemic began. This has left many employers in the state struggling to hire workers. And as rental and home prices have skyrocketed in Montana, employees are struggling to make ends meet.

“You’ve also seen a lot of stories about companies struggling to hire workers (before the pandemic),” Ward said.

Even if an employer touts a salary of $ 16 an hour, that works out to about $ 1,950 per month in take home pay. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Missoula is around $ 1,000, which means that more than half of a person’s salary would be spent on rent.


Montana’s Blackfoot Tribe Gives Surplus Vaccines to Neighbors in Canada


BABB, Mont. (AP) – On a cloudy spring day, hundreds of people lined up in their cars on the Canadian side of the border crossing between Alberta and Montana. They had driven for hours and camped in their vehicles hoping to receive the hottest product of the season – a COVID-19 vaccine – from a Native American tribe that was handing out its excess doses.

The Blackfeet tribe in northern Montana provided about 1,000 surplus vaccines last month to their First Nations relatives and others across the border, illustrating the disparity in the speed at which the United States and Canada distribute the doses. While over 30% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated, in Canada the figure is around 3%.

Among those who received the vaccine at the Piegan-Carway border post were Sherry Cross Child and Shane Little Bear, of Stand Off, about 30 miles north of the border.

They recited a prayer in the Blackfoot language before nurses began administering injections, with Chief Mountain – sacred to the Blackfoot – rising in the distance. The prayer was dedicated to people seeking refuge from the virus, Cross Child said.

Cross Child and her husband have family and friends in Montana, but have not been able to visit them since the border closed last spring to all but essentials travel.

“It was stressful because we had deaths in the family, and they couldn’t come,” she said. “Just for support – they are counting on us, and we are counting on them. It was hard.

More than 95% of the estimated 10,000 residents of the Blackfeet reservation eligible for the vaccine are fully immunized, after the state prioritized Native American communities – among America’s most vulnerable populations – at the start of its vaccination campaign.

The tribe received vaccine allocations from both the Montana Department of Health and the Indian Federal Health Service, leaving some doses unused. With an expiration date fast approaching, he turned to other nations in the Blackfoot Confederacy, which includes the Blackfoot and three tribes in southern Alberta who share one language and one. culture.

“The idea was to join our brothers and sisters who live in Canada,” said Robert DesRosier, director of emergency services for the Blackfeet tribe. “And then the question arose: what if a non-tribal member wanted a vaccine? Well, it’s about saving lives. We will not reject anyone. “

The tribe distributed the Pfizer PFE,
+ 0.46%
and Moderna mRNA,
+ 5.56%
vaccines for four days in late April at the remote Piegan port of entry, against a backdrop of rolling meadows to the east and snow-capped Glacier National Park to the west.

As word of mouth spread across Canada, first through word of mouth, then through social platforms and media reports, people came from further afield. Some drove five hours from the city of Edmonton.

The effort was particularly timely as Alberta sees an increase in the number of new cases of the respiratory virus, with a record workload hit this month.

Bonnie Healy, health administrator for the Confederacy of the Blackfoot, said she was happy the vaccination effort reached First Nations and other communities in the province.

“We have family members who live in these areas,” she said. “If we can make these places safe, then our children will be able to go to school safely. It is safe for our seniors to go shopping in their stores.

Canadians who received the vaccines were not allowed to linger in the United States. They returned home with letters from health officials exempting them from the mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed on all who enter the country.

The tribe initiative is one of the few partnerships that has arisen between communities in the United States and Canada, where residents could otherwise wait weeks or months for a photo. Canada has fallen behind in immunizing its people because it lacks the capacity to manufacture the vaccine and has had to rely on the global supply chain for life-saving vaccines, like many other countries.

In Alaska, Governor Mike Dunleavy has offered COVID-19 vaccines to residents of Stewart, B.C., in hopes it could lead the Canadian government to ease restrictions between that city and the Alaskan border community. in Hyder, a few miles away. In North Dakota, Governor Doug Burgum and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister last month unveiled a plan to administer vaccines to Manitoba-based truck drivers who transport goods to and from the United States .

On the Montana side of the border, the vaccinated were often emotional, shedding tears, shouting words of gratitude through car windows as they left and handing nurses gifts such as chocolate and clothes. Some shared stories about what the vaccine meant to them – the ability to safely care for their vulnerable loved ones, reunite with their grandparents, or travel again.

The recipients included 17-year-olds who are low on the country’s priority list and parents who camped with their young children in the backseat.

Maxwell Stein, 25, who plays horn with the Calgary Philharmonic, arrived at the border crossing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and spent the night in his car, finally arriving at the front of the line around 10 a.m. Thursday.

“It wasn’t great, but you do whatever it takes to get yourself vaccinated,” he said. He predicted that if he had waited in Canada, he would likely get his first dose around the end of June and that it would be months before he was fully vaccinated.

The Canadian government has recommended extending the interval between the two doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines from about three weeks to four months, with the goal of quickly inoculating more people amid the shortage. Some of the Blackfeet clinic participants had already received their first injection in Canada. Over 30% of the Canadian population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, but about 3% have received the two doses recommended by drug manufacturers to achieve full immunity. Canadian officials say partial immunity is better than nothing.

“It’s unfortunate because one hit only protects you slightly,” Stein said. “With vaccines, I think it’s really important to get the right dosage at the right time, so that your body develops full resistance.”

When Stein heard about the border vaccination clinic, he didn’t hesitate to make the long haul, especially as a professional musician who has plenty of free time with many canceled concerts.

“Really, I have no excuse. If I had had to drive 10 hours to get the Pfizer or the Moderna, I probably would have done it, ”he said.


Montana to End $ 300 Weekly Unemployment Hike, More States May Follow


Although the recently signed US bailout extended and increased unemployment benefits until early September, Montana is withdrawing that aid early.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own during the pandemic. Fortunately, those who are unemployed have seen their unemployment benefits increase over the past year, allowing them to replace more of their lost income.

Initially, the CARES law, which was signed in March 2020, provided for a weekly increase of $ 600 in unemployment. Once that amount was exhausted, that weekly boost was lowered to $ 300, and the recently signed US bailout ensured that this boost remained in effect until early September.

But one state is already planning to end extended benefits, including that $ 300 weekly boost. And the fear is that other states may soon do the same.

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Montana ends unemployment

Montana has just announced that it will end its participation in federal unemployment programs that allow increased and extended benefits on June 27, rather than allowing that assistance to continue until early September. And as the unemployment rate continues to fall across the country, more states could take a similar path. Some people worry that the programs create a scenario where workers remain unemployed because the benefits are so attractive that it makes little sense to return to paid employment.

So why is Montana depriving its unemployed workers of this help? Largely because the state faces a severe labor shortage. Not only that, but Montana’s unemployment rate is only 3.8%, which is well below the national average of 6%. As such, the state cannot afford to grant these benefits if it prevents workers from applying for jobs. Instead, Montana is offering workers a $ 1,200 return-to-work incentive. Any Montana resident with an active jobless claim on May 4 will be entitled to that $ 1,200 payday after working four full weeks.

In fact, back when lawmakers were busy haggling over a second coronavirus relief plan last summer, rising unemployment was a major sticking point. Some lawmakers have argued that padding these weekly benefits would discourage workers from accepting job offers. They countered that instead of increasing unemployment benefits, a better idea was to offer some sort of payment to those who have returned to the workforce – just like what Montana does.

Will more states follow suit?

Montana could perhaps argue that ending prolonged and increased unemployment is the right move due to its relatively low unemployment rate. Other states cannot yet make a similar claim. But if things improve in more parts of the country, other states could choose to end expanded unemployment benefits earlier than Montana, rather than keeping them in place until September.

As such, workers who currently receive weekly unemployment benefits may want to prepare for this possibility – and do whatever they can to repay their savings where possible. That way, if their benefits are withdrawn early, they won’t immediately be forced into debt just to make ends meet.


Average interest rate by credit score, year


The average interest rate for the most popular 30-year fixed mortgage is 2.98%, according to data from S&P Global.

Mortgage interest rates are constantly changing, and there are many factors that can influence your interest rate. While some of these are personal factors over which you have control and others are not, it’s important to know what your interest rate might look like when you begin the process of getting a home loan. .

Although mortgage rates fluctuate daily, 2020 was a record low year for mortgage and refinancing rates in the United States. They started to increase in early 2021, but remain relatively low overall.

While low average mortgage and refinance rates are a good sign for a more affordable loan, remember that they never guarantee the rate a lender will offer you. Mortgage rates vary depending on the borrower, depending on factors such as your credit, the type of loan, and the down payment. To get the best rate for you, you will need to collect rates from several lenders.

There are several types of mortgages available, and they usually differ in the length of the loan in years and whether the interest rate is fixed or adjustable. There are three main types:

  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage: The most popular type of mortgage, this mortgage reduces monthly payments by spreading the amount over 30 years.
  • 15-year fixed rate mortgage: Interest rates and payments will not change on this type of loan, but it has higher monthly payments since the payments are spread over 15 years.
  • 5/1 year adjustable rate mortgage: Also known as ARM 5/1, this mortgage has fixed rates for five years and then an adjustable rate thereafter.

Here’s how these three types of mortgage interest rates stack up:

Find out more and get offers from several lenders »

National rates aren’t the only thing that can influence your mortgage rates – personal information like your credit history can also affect the price you’ll pay to borrow.

Your credit score is a number calculated based on your borrowing, credit usage, and repayment history, and the score you receive between 300 and 850 acts as a cumulative grade point average of how you use credit. . You can check your credit score online for free. The higher your score, the less you will pay to borrow money. Typically, 620 is the minimum credit score required to buy a home, with a few exceptions for government guaranteed loans.

Data from credit scoring company FICO shows that the lower your credit score, the more you will pay for credit. Here is the average interest rate by credit level:

Check Your Rates Now and Get Offers From Refinance Lenders »

According to FICO, only people with a credit score above 660 will truly see interest rates at the national average.

Mortgage rates are constantly changing, largely influenced by what happens in the economy in general. Typically, mortgage interest rates move independently and ahead of the federal funds rate or the amount banks pay to borrow. Things like inflation, the bond market, and general housing market conditions can affect the rate you’ll see.

Here’s how the average mortgage interest rate has evolved over time, according to data from the Federal Reserve Board of St. Louis:

Throughout 2020, the average mortgage rate has dropped significantly due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Rates throughout 2020 and through 2021 were lower than rates in the depths of the Great

. Thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates hit a low of 3.31% in November 2012, according to data from the

Federal Reserve
of Saint-Louis.

The condition in which you buy your home could influence your interest rate. Here is the average interest rate by type of loan in each state according to data from S&P Global.

What is a mortgage?

A mortgage is a type of secured loan provided by a financial institution to cover the cost of buying a home if you don’t have enough money to pay it upfront. You repay the lender over an agreed period of time, including an additional interest payment, which you can think of as the price of a loan.

Because a mortgage is a secured loan, it means that you are putting your property as collateral. If you fail to make your payments over time, the lender can foreclose or repossess your property. Learn more about how a mortgage works here.

How Much Can I Borrow for a Mortgage?

The amount you can borrow for a mortgage varies from person to person and depends on your financial situation: your credit, your income, and how much money you have available for a down payment. The general rule of thumb for a compliant mortgage (the type most people get, backed by a private company instead of the government) is a 20% down payment. On a $ 400,000 house, that would mean you need $ 80,000 up front.

Note that this calculation may be different if you qualify for another type of mortgage, such as an FHA or VA loan, which requires smaller down payments, or if you are looking for a “jumbo loan” of over $ 548,250 in the area. Most areas of the United States in 2021 (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

You don’t have to go to the first bank to offer you a mortgage. Like anything else, different services have different fees, closing costs, and products, so you’ll want to get some estimates before deciding where to get your mortgage.

What is a mortgage rate?

A mortgage rate, also called an interest rate, is the fee your lender charges for lending you money. Your principal (payments on the amount you borrowed) and interest are consolidated into one payment each month.

What is the difference between the APR and the interest rate?

The mortgage APR is the interest rate plus the costs of things like discount points and fees. This number is higher than the interest rate and is a more accurate representation of what you will actually pay on your mortgage each year.

Why is it important to understand the difference between the interest rate and the APR? When looking for lenders, you might find that one of them charges a lower interest rate, so you think this company is the obvious choice. But you might actually find that the APR is higher than what you can get with another lender because they charge high fees. In reality, it might not be the best deal.

What is a good mortgage interest rate?

In general, you can think of a good mortgage rate as the average rate in your state or lower. This will vary depending on your credit rating – better ratings tend to get better mortgage rates. Overall, a good mortgage rate will vary from person to person, depending on their financial situation. In 2020, the United States saw record mortgage rates across the board, and they are expected to remain low through 2021.

What is a point of call?

A discount point is a commission that you can choose to pay at closing for a lower interest rate on your mortgage. A point of discount typically costs 1% of your mortgage and reduces your rate by 0.25%. So if your rate on a $ 200,000 mortgage is 3.5% and you pay $ 4,000 for two discount points, your new interest rate is 3%.

How do I get a mortgage?

Getting your finances in order starts with getting a mortgage. Having a strong financial profile will a) increase your chances of being approved for a loan and b) help you get a lower interest rate. Here are some steps you can take to strengthen your finances:

  • Calculate how much house you can afford. The general rule is that your monthly household expenses should be 28% or less of your gross monthly income.
  • Find out what credit rating you need. Each type of mortgage loan requires a different credit score, and the requirements may vary by lender. You will likely need a score of at least 620 for a conventional mortgage. You can increase your score by making payments on time, paying off debt, and letting your credit age.
  • Save for a down payment. Depending on the type of mortgage you get, you may need a down payment of up to 20%. Putting even more could earn you a better interest rate.
  • Check your debt to income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay for your debts each month divided by your gross monthly income. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less, but it depends on the type of mortgage you get. To lower your ratio, pay off debt or consider ways to increase your income.

Then it’s time to shop around and get quotes from several lenders before deciding which one to use.

How do you compare current mortgage rates?

Since mortgage rates are so individual to the borrower, the best way to find available rates is to get quotes from multiple lenders. If you are early in the home buying process, apply for prequalification and / or pre-approval from multiple lenders to compare and contrast what they are offering.

If you want a broader idea without speaking directly to lenders, you can use the tool below to get a general idea of ​​the rates you might be offered.


Best Mortgage Lender In Your State? Good luck, it’s Quicken


In the state-by-state ranking of most active mortgage lenders, it’s Quicken and everyone.

Quicken Loans was the largest mortgage lender in 30 states in 2020. Quicken’s dominance is no surprise – it is the nation’s largest mortgage lender, having made more than one million home loans nationwide. national in 2020.

Underlining its leadership position in the market, Quicken Loans was the second largest mortgage lender in 12 other states.

But here’s a twist: No other mortgage lender had pole position in more than one state last year. Each of the 20 states where Quicken was not # 1 had a different # 1 lender.

These rankings are based on a bank rate analysis of preliminary Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, with assistance from ComplianceTech’s

States where Quicken leads the pack

Quicken was the primary lender in the five most populous states – California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. And Quicken was the largest mortgage originator in major states such as George, North Carolina, Michigan (Quicken’s Territory), New Jersey, and Virginia.

Quicken clearly focuses on the states with the most borrowers. The company made the most loans in 14 of the 16 largest states.

States where Quicken is not # 1

Despite its dominance, there are two major states where Quicken does not hold the top spot. In Illinois, the first place was occupied by the guaranteed rate.

Reflecting its efforts in marketing to consumers, Guaranteed Rate owns the naming rights to the approximate stage of the Chicago White Sox. Chase ranked # 2 in Illinois for the number of loans issued in 2020, while Quicken ranked third.

And in Ohio, Columbus-based Huntington National Bank was the state’s primary mortgage originator in 2020. Quicken was # 2 in the state.

In states where Quicken is not # 1, the top spot is often held by a local player. Bangor Savings Bank is Maine’s biggest initiator, Glacier Bank is # 1 in Montana, and Summit Credit Union # 1 in Wisconsin.

Here are the top lenders in each state based on mortgage origins in 2020:

Top lenders by state for 2020
state Top lender Origins Lender n ° 2
Alabama Accelerate 12,463 Regions
Alaska Residential mortgage 4,509 Alaska United States
Arizona Accelerate 43,867 United shore
Arkansas Arvest 11 773 Accelerate
California Accelerate 220,416 United shore
Colorado Accelerate 31,299 United shore
Connecticut Accelerate 9,315 Citizens
Delaware Accelerate 5,073 Freedom
District of Colombia First savings 2 165 Accelerate
Florida Accelerate 74 110 United shore
Georgia Accelerate 43 686 Freedom
Hawaii Bank of Hawaii 5 845 First Hawaiian
Idaho Idaho Central 16,214 Accelerate
Illinois Guaranteed rate 30 230 chase away
Indiana Ruoff mortgage 19,099 Accelerate
Iowa Greenstate Credit Union 16 922 Iowa Bankers
Kansas Accelerate 6,044 Fairway
Kentucky Accelerate 9 649 American Bank
Louisiana GMFS 12,052 Accelerate
Maine Bangor Savings Bank 6,125 Accelerate
Maryland Accelerate 25,868 Freedom
Massachusetts Accelerate 20 727 Citizens
Michigan Accelerate 56,323 United shore
Minnesota Accelerate 16 834 American Bank
Mississippi Turstmark 6,805 BancorpSouth
Missouri Accelerate 11 647 Flat branch
Montana Glacier Bank 5 228 Stockman Bank
Nebraska First National Bank of Omaha 6 646 Accelerate
Nevada Accelerate 16,464 Guild Mortgage
New Hampshire Accelerate 6,197 CMG
New Jersey Accelerate 31 547 Wells fargo
New Mexico Accelerate 6 599 Water stone
new York Accelerate 31,209 chase away
North Carolina Accelerate 40,474 State employees
North Dakota Gate City Bank 3 498 First international bank
Ohio Huntington National Bank 41 084 Accelerate
Oklahoma Accelerate 6,846 First United Bank
Oregon Accelerate 16,144 Guild Mortgage
Pennsylvania Accelerate 29,928 Citizens
Rhode Island Citizens Bank 4,075 Accelerate
Caroline from the south Accelerate 18,094 Freedom
South Dakota Plains Commercial Bank 4 831 First First
Tennessee Accelerate 20 818 Mortgage investors
Texas Accelerate 62 677 Freedom
Utah United shore 26 831 Accelerate
Vermont New England Federal CU 4,518 Accelerate
Virginia Accelerate 38 123 Freedom
Washington Accelerate 36,844 Caliber home loans
West Virginia Accelerate 4,076 National Bank of the City
Wisconsin CU Summit 16,616 University of Wisconsin CU
Wyoming First interstate bank 3 052 Accelerate

What you can do to get a better mortgage rate

Should you go with the largest lender in your state for a refinance or purchase mortgage? It depends.

Before committing to a lender, do your research. To get the best mortgage rate, follow these steps:

  • Compare offers. Get offers from at least three lenders. If you live in an area where competition among local banks is limited, this may require you to shop online. The good news: Comparison shopping can save you thousands of dollars. The bank rate tables are a great place to start your research.
  • Look beyond physical lenders. The bank or credit union where you keep your money may offer the best deal on a home loan, but be sure to shop for comparisons. The rates and closing costs can vary widely depending on the lender.
  • Improve Your Credit Score. This is the best way to lower your rate, and more effective than increasing your down payment or improving your debt ratio.

Learn more:

Correction: The original version of this story ranked the University of Wisconsin Credit Union as the # 1 lender in Wisconsin and Summit Credit Union as # 2. However, these numbers omitted origins via pre-approvals, an active channel for Summit Credit Union.


LoanSnap Raises $ 30 Million for Consumer-Focused Mortgage Platform


Serial entrepreneur Karl Jacob has attempted to tackle many industries during his career, from social media to cybersecurity. So when a friend asked Facebook’s founder and former strategic advisor if he could help him with his mortgage company, he replied “of course.” He didn’t know what he was walking in. After spending time at the company’s call center, he realized how bad the system was. Jacob saw reps repeatedly asking clients for financial information that reps could easily access on their own, only to then suggest loans that would generate the most profit, even if they weren’t the best choice. for the consumer. Jacob quickly understood what his next business would be.

“What if we try to modernize, not only the tech stack, but the mortgage process as well?” Jacob remembers thinking. “How do we find out more about this person we’re about to lend money to, so that we can guide them as much as possible?” The resulting company is LoanSnap. Launched in 2018, the mortgage platform aims to issue loans that improve the financial future of the underlying consumer. The startup, which has seen strong demand, has just raised a new round of funding, as originally reported in the Midas Touch newsletter.

True Ventures led LoanSnap’s $ 30 million Series B, with participation from venture capitalists such as Baseline Ventures, The Virgin Group and Mantis VC, among others, and people such as the former quarterback. NFL Joe Montana, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus. This new influx, which brings the startup’s funding to a total of $ 64 million, will be used to expand its services into other areas. “There are tons of other financial products that we are looking at,” he adds. “Especially those who tend to take advantage of consumers where they shouldn’t.”

LoanSnap isn’t the only startup trying to tackle the mortgage industry. But Jacob says his business is different. LoanSnap isn’t just looking to move the process online or make it faster – although the software seeks to close loans within 15 days – it hopes to leave the consumer in a better financial position than where it started. Users provide LoanSnap with basic information, like the last four digits of their social security number, and its AI system scans their financial information and shows users where they are losing money, like interest on loans. student or credit card debt then recommends a “smart” loan that consolidates all of those payments to give users a way to improve their financial health by paying their monthly mortgage payment. “Our approach aims to show [consumers] very precisely how much they’re losing each month, and then using an AI machine that has one goal, to optimize that person’s financial system, ”says Jacob.

The startup’s services are currently available in 21 states. LoanSnap originates the loans itself, rather than being a middleman or market for other underwriters. Jacob says keeping the entire process within the company allows for faster approval times. The company currently issues mortgages, refinances and home equity lines of credit. Jacob says LoanSnap was able to save its users $ 35 million last year by shifting their payments to a single smart loan, and $ 16 million so far in 2021. The company expects to be profitable from here the end of this year.

The startup is looking to tap into the housing market at a time when business is booming. National Association of Realtors shows home sales in March 2021 increased another 12% year-over-year after months of steady growth, creating a wave of activity in the mortgage industry . Despite the recent growth spurt, the mortgage industry remains fragmented. Quicken Loans holds the largest market share with just 5% market share in 2019, leaving the door wide open for players like LoanSnap to profit from the breakup.


Montana Withdraws Federal Unemployment Benefits, Creates $ 1,200 Incentive | 406 Politics


Economist Bryce Ward said on Tuesday the state has about 40% more job openings than it normally would at this time of year, a mind-boggling statistic all the more remarkable as it happens in an economy which six weeks ago had only 5,600 below-pandemic-level jobs.

The demand for workers is high, Ward said, because there is a lot of money flowing into the state’s economy. Total labor incomes increased in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, even though employment was down, and people received stimulus checks.

“People are spending this money and businesses expect more and more people to get vaccinated, they will spend even more of this money,” Ward said.

Because of this, Ward said, goods sector employment in Montana has already fully recovered and has even increased.

This means that the demand is high relative to the supply of workers. And the service sector, such as tourism, accommodation, food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, is just trying to grow.

“They all do it at the same time,” Ward said.

Another factor is the low unemployment rate. Ward said in a report released next week that he expects the state to be at pre-pandemic levels.

Montana’s unemployment rate is 3.8%, almost as low as it was before the pandemic began. This has left many employers in the state struggling to hire workers. And as rental and home prices have skyrocketed in Montana, employees are struggling to make ends meet.


Loan program helps Montanais with disabilities afford assistive technology | Spotlight on the community


People with disabilities face a number of obstacles in obtaining the equipment they need in everyday life. A program in Montana is helping to change that.

The Montana Assistive Technology Loan program offers low-interest, interest-free loans for devices such as hearing aids, screen readers, and even wheelchair-accessible vehicles, which are typically not covered by insurance. private or Medicare and can be expensive.

Julie Williams, the program’s outreach coordinator, said assistive technology is vital to people’s lives.

“It can cover a variety of different types of technology,” Williams said. “But all of them allow people to live their best lives, to participate in society in ways that they might not otherwise be able to.”

The program is a partnership between the nonprofit financial association Rural Dynamics and the Rural Institute of the University of Montana’s assistive technology program MonTECH. It was able to grow thanks to a federal grant last fall.

According to the World Health Organization, around one billion people worldwide benefit from assistive technology, but only one in ten have access to it.

Ann-Margaret Periman, the Disability Resource Coordinator for Rural Dynamics, said people with disabilities often find it difficult to get loans from traditional banks for these types of technologies.

“People feel stuck in the fact that some of this equipment and some of their needs are very expensive, and they have no way of getting it,” Periman said. “Usually people get social security, social security disability and their income is limited.”

Williams said Rural Dynamics also has a financial wellness program.

A quadriplegic client applied for a loan of $ 50,000 for a wheelchair accessible van, but it was refused. Over the course of a year, Williams said the organization helped the client get their finances in order to get a loan approved.

“We also helped him cut the loan amount he had to take out in half to get the vehicle that met his needs,” Williams said.

She said the program had helped her find a van in the range of $ 20,000.


PCMA expands its private customer credit activities in Montana


Non-bank lender PCMA has expanded its private client services to meet the needs of affluent borrowers in the state of Montana.

A press release explained that the company’s launch in Montana is in line with its strategy to expand its footprint nationwide and the explosive growth of the Montana housing market. According to data from the Federal Housing Finance Authority, house prices in the state have risen 10% per year, making it the fifth highest in the country. According to PCMA, condos and townhouses are the most popular among its customers.

“Montana’s crystal-clear lakes and majestic mountains provide the ultimate sanctuary for the private client community,” said John Lynch, CEO and Founder of PCMA. “We are seeing private clients diversifying their assets, buying several small luxury homes instead of mega-mansions, and they are moving into more advantageous markets in terms of prices and taxes. Montana hits the mark on all of these fronts and more.

Read more: PCMA launches an advertising campaign highlighting its organized credit offers

Since the start of the year, PCMA says it has seen unprecedented growth in new loan creation and increased loan amounts for high-value areas. The company also continued its nationwide expansion with plans to launch online in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina over the next three months.

“Our continued growth is evidence of pent-up demand for access to capital from private clients – like OMEGA and ZENITH – who will meet the needs of complex and sophisticated fields,” said Lynch. “Our market-leading products will be a great fit for the home customer community, and we’re excited to serve the affluent needs of the state of Montana.”


Evictions are on the rise in these states, despite the ban on evictions. What can tenants do


Tenants in Texas, Ohio, and Tennessee may not be protected from eviction.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs or suffered income cuts during the coronavirus pandemic. We have been grappling with the economic effects of the virus for over a year now, and even those who could have handled a short-term financial crisis have not been able to cope.

For homeowners behind on payments, forbearance was available, allowing them to pause mortgage payments for up to 18 months. Meanwhile, the moratoriums on evictions have protected some tenants who have fallen behind with rent.

Individual states have put in place their own programs to suspend evictions, and the CARES law, passed in March 2020, established a national moratorium on evictions last March. After it expired, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched another ban that has prevented landlords from evicting some tenants for non-payment. This ban has been extended several times and will now expire at the end of June.

It is difficult to know exactly how many tenants are currently struggling. Data on mortgage payments is collected and published on a regular basis, but we have to rely on estimates of the number of people behind on rent payments. A household pulse survey conducted in March by the US Census Bureau showed that more than 7 million households are currently behind on their rent payments.

This has a ripple effect, so the owners also face difficult times. Many mom and family owners cannot meet their own bills and maintenance costs. As a result, several housing groups have challenged the eviction ban in court.

Judges in Texas, Ohio and Tennessee have spoken out against deportation ban

In Texas, U.S. District Judge John Campbell Barker has ruled the CDC’s ban unconstitutional. The emergency order issued by the Texas Supreme Court to ensure that judges follow CDC instructions expired on March 31. Campaigners say tens of thousands of Texans are now at risk of becoming homeless.

In Ohio, your eviction protection depends on where you live. District Judge J. Philip Calabrese of the Northern Ohio District Court ruled that the CDC had “gone beyond its authority.” Even so, the Cleveland Housing Court says it will follow the CDC order. In contrast, Akron City Court will allow homeowners whose cases have been dismissed due to CDC’s ban to pass on for free.

Tennessee District Judge Mark Norris has ruled the ban unenforceable, leaving tenants in Memphis, Shelby County and western Tennessee in danger of eviction.

Lawsuits are ongoing in other states, but so far judges in Georgia and Louisiana have ruled in favor of the CDC.

What about the $ 50 billion tenant aid?

The last two stimulus packages together committed $ 46.5 billion in housing assistance for tenants in difficulty. This money will help tenants catch up on the rent they owe.

However, the money is distributed to the states, which has been a problem in some places. Some states have not agreed on how to allocate the money. For example, according to Pew Charitable Trusts, Montana paid only $ 17 million of the $ 200 million received.

With the current CDC moratorium at the end of June, there is a danger that tenants across the country will be evicted before they can access financial assistance.

What can tenants do?

If you’ve fallen behind on your rent, take immediate action to fix the problem, no matter what state you live in.

  • Apply for financial assistance. Look at government agencies, local charities, and other nonprofits to see who might be able to help. What about that rental aid we talked about? Find out how your state distributes it, who is eligible, and how to get your name listed. Keep an eye out for local news. The sooner you apply for a new assistance program, the more likely you are to qualify.
  • Talk to your landlord. Dealing with financial difficulties can be stressful. It may help to remember that your landlord has their own bills to pay and may be facing some difficulties as well. Talk to your landlord about your situation and what you can realistically afford. If you can work out a payment plan, it will make it easier on all sides. Legal proceedings are expensive, so it is in everyone’s best interests to avoid this. Also check to see if your landlord has received a forbearance from the mortgage. If this is the case, you are entitled to additional protection against eviction for non-payment.
  • Know your rights. Each state has different eviction procedures, and there is a patchwork of state and local protections. Your state may have introduced additional protections for tenants. Make sure you understand the process in your area so you know what could happen and what steps could delay these procedures. And don’t ignore any letter or email.
  • Find out if you are protected by the CDC’s deportation ban. You must meet certain criteria, such as trying to make payments and requesting government assistance. You must be earning less than $ 99,000 per year and have suffered loss of income from COVID-19.
  • Get professional advice. If you are facing an eviction, contact your local legal aid office for free or low cost assistance. Having a lawyer by your side can make all the difference.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have fallen behind in their rent payments this year. If you are facing an eviction, don’t be afraid to seek help. It’s not an easy process, but you don’t have to go through it alone.


Today’s Mortgage and Refinance Rate: April 13, 2021


If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Mortgage and refinancing rates have been falling since last Tuesday. With the exception of the 7/1 ARM rates, all rates have increased since that time last month.

If you are ready to buy a home or refinance, you may want to go with a fixed rate mortgage instead of an adjustable rate. Fixed rates start much lower than adjustable rates, and you’ll get a low rate for the life of your loan. With an ARM, you risk increasing your rate later.

Prices will likely stay low for a while, so you may not need to rush to buy to take advantage of low prices. But if you know you want to buy soon, you might want to start the process of applying for pre-approval and rate locking. More than half of homes in the United States sell in two weeks or less right now, according to a Redfin study. So you’ll want to act quickly once you’re ready to buy. Pricing

Learn more and receive offers from several lenders. “

You can lock in a 15-year fixed mortgage rate below 3% and a 30-year fixed rate below 4% today.

We provide the national average rates for conventional mortgages, what you might think of “normal mortgages”. You could get a lower rate on a government guaranteed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA. Pricing

Click here to compare the offers of refinance lenders »

Refinance rates tend to be a bit higher than buy rates, but you can still get a 15-year fixed mortgage rate of less than 3%.

Rates generally remain low and have declined from this point last week. You may prefer to lock in a low mortgage rate while you can, especially if you’re ready to buy soon.

But there is no need to rush to get a low rate if you are not ready. Rates will likely stay low for a while, so you still have time to improve your financial situation. Here are some steps you can take to get the lowest possible rate:

  • Increase your credit score by making timely payments, paying off debt, or letting your credit age. You may want to request and review a copy of your credit report to look for errors that could lower your score.
  • Save more for a down payment. The minimum amount required for your down payment will depend on the type of mortgage you want. You have an increased likelihood of getting a better interest rate from your lender with a larger down payment.
  • Lower your debt ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay for debt each month divided by your gross monthly income. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less. To improve your ratio, pay off your debts or look for opportunities to increase your income.
  • Choose one government guaranteed mortgage. If you are eligible, you may want to think about a USDA loan (designed for low to moderate income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (intended for military and veterans), or a loan. FHA (not designated for a particular group). Government guaranteed mortgages often have better interest rates than conventional mortgages. As an added bonus, down payments are not required for USDA or VA loans.

You can lock in a low rate now if your finances are looking good, but you don’t have to rush to get a mortgage or refinance if you’re not ready.

Mortgage rate trends

Mortgage rates have been falling since last Tuesday. Rates have increased since that time last month, with the exception of the 7/1 ARM rates.

Evolution of refinancing rates

Mortgage refinancing rates have declined since this time last week, and two in four have increased since last month.

If you get a 15-year fixed mortgage, it will take you a decade and a half to pay off your mortgage, and your interest rate will remain constant all the time.

You’ll spend more per month with a 15-year term than a 30-year term, because you’re paying off the same mortgage principal in half the time.

However, a 15-year fixed mortgage will cost less overall than a 30-year fixed mortgage. It will take you fewer years to pay off your mortgage, and you’ll get a lower interest rate to get started.

A 30-year fixed rate mortgage is similar to a 15-year mortgage, except that you will pay off the mortgage over 30 years.

You will pay a higher interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage than on a 15-year mortgage. For a long time, you would also pay a higher rate on a 30-year fixed loan than on an ARM. But for now, 30-year fixed rates are the best deal.

Monthly payments are lower for 30-year terms than for shorter terms because you are spreading the payments over a longer period.

You will pay more long term interest with a 30 year term than you would with a shorter term because a) the rate is higher and b) you will pay interest for longer.

A fixed rate mortgage secures your rate for the life of your loan. But with an adjustable rate mortgage, you’ll pay a fixed rate for the introductory period, and then that rate will change periodically. A 7/1 arm keeps your rate the same for seven years. Then your rate will vary each year.

Although ARM rates are relatively low now, you can still prefer a fixed rate mortgage. 30-year fixed rates are equal to or lower than ARM rates, so this could be a great opportunity to get a low rate with a fixed mortgage. This way, you won’t risk a future price increase with an ARM.

If you are thinking about getting an ARM, ask your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed rate mortgage over a variable rate mortgage.

You can lock in a low rate today, but make sure you are financially ready before you act.

Mortgage and refinancing rates by state

Check the latest rates in your state at the links below.

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
new York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
Caroline from the south
South Dakota
Washington DC
West Virginia

Laura Grace Tarpley is a writer at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts and bank reviews. She is also a certified personal finance educator (CEPF). In her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively on how to save, invest, and find loans.

Ryan Wangman is a Review Officer at Personal Finance Insider, which reports on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. As part of his past personal finance writing experience, he has written on credit scores, financial literacy and property.


Here’s what you can get for $ 1.3 million in Billings, MT


With so many people working from home and now able to live wherever they want, real estate in Montana is set to make some big changes.

The state’s largest city, Billings, has a lot to offer a potential buyer. Known as the “Star of Big Sky Country,” Billings sits on the Yellowstone River in southern Montana.

Billings is known for its stunning scenery and outdoor recreation, thanks to the city’s extensive trail system, parks that encompass hundreds of acres, and the sandstone cliffs known as Rimrocks that surround the city.

The city’s history as a railroad town has made it a regional trading center dating back to the days of the Old West, and it remains so today. Major industries in the region include agriculture, with a large Western Sugar Cooperative, and energy, with three oil refineries in the region, according to the Billings Chamber of Commerce. And companies like First Interstate Bank and Kampgrounds of America are headquartered in Billings.

Billings is known for its stunning scenery and outdoor recreation, thanks to the city’s extensive trail system, parks that encompass hundreds of acres, and the sandstone cliffs known as Rimrocks that surround the city. (iStock)


Earlier this year, ranked Montana as the second hottest real estate market in the United States, thanks to factors such as its low tax burden and strong home appreciation.

In the Billings area, the median selling price of a single-family home increased about 6.7% in 2020 to $ 271,000, according to the Montana Association of Realtors.

Meanwhile, Billings homes only spent an average of 38 days on the market in 2020, up from 55 days in 2019, according to the Realtors Group.

With so much to offer a home buyer, here’s a look at what you can get on a budget of $ 1.3 million in Billings, MT:

Pryor Mountain View Drive – $ 1.295 million

This Billings house is listed for $ 1.295 million. (BHHS)

This estate offers panoramic mountain views and plenty of space for entertaining.

The 4,996-square-foot home has five bedrooms and six bathrooms, as listed by Robin Hanel of Berkshire Hathaway HS Floberg.

This Billings house is listed for $ 1.295 million. (BHHS)


The house has rustic touches like river stone masonry, stone fireplaces, wood finishes and vaulted ceilings with exposed beams.

There are several living areas, terraces and patios perfect for entertaining guests. The lower level walk-in features a wet bar and indoor hot tub.

This Billings house is listed for $ 1.295 million. (BHHS)

The owner’s suite has a heated floor, a fireplace and a bathroom with a large shower and a bench. Two other suites have skylights.

There is also a heated garage and a large shop with an apartment on the property.

Flagstone Drive – $ 1.195 million

This house is on the market for $ 1.195 million in billing. (RE / MAX)


This house built in 2014 is located in a pedestrian area with several parks nearby.

The 4,744-square-foot home features five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a half-bath, as listed with Rochelle Houghton of RE / MAX of Billings.

This house is on the market for $ 1.195 million in billing. (RE / MAX)

Located in the Castlewood subdivision, the home was custom built and features contemporary finishes.

The kitchen has double ovens, an oversized refrigerator, granite counters, and a large island with seating. It is open to the dining room and living room, which has a gas fireplace.

This house is on the market for $ 1.195 million in billing. (RE / MAX)


The owner’s suite includes a private café-bar and access to the terrace. Its bathroom has a free-standing bathtub and heated floors.

Outside there is a hot tub and a covered outdoor kitchen with a built-in barbecue and bar seating.

High Trail Road – $ 1.095 million

This Billings house is asking for $ 1.095 million. (BHHS)

This log home sits on over 31 acres, offering a private retreat overlooking four mountain ranges.

The 3,680-square-foot home has five bedrooms and four bathrooms, as listed with Robin Hanel of Berkshire Hathaway HS Floberg.

This Billings house is asking for $ 1.095 million. (BHHS)


A wraparound deck, grill area, and outdoor entertainment area provide plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors.

Inside, the Great Room features high vaulted ceilings and a two-sided stone fireplace. There is also an open kitchen with double ovens and several entertaining areas.

This Billings house is asking for $ 1.095 million. (BHHS)

The owner’s suite includes a private retreat with a reading nook, a gas fireplace, and access to a private deck and hot tub.

The sprawling property also has a barn and four pastures ideal for horses. There are hills and grassy meadows and lots of wildlife.


“Tiger King” star Joe Exotic in solitary confinement for observation of coronavirus

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic,” the focal point of the hit Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” is being observed for the COVID-19 virus, according to The Hill. Maldonado-Passage – who is serving a 22-year prison sentence in a murder conspiracy – was transferred from an Oklahoma County jail to FMC Fort Worth, a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, this week .

Maldonado-Passage’s husband Dillon Passage said in a radio interview this week that Maldonado-Passage had been transferred to a COVID-19 isolation area of ​​the prison because there were confirmed cases of the virus in the prison. institution where he was previously detained. It is not known if Maldonado-Passage has contracted the virus.

Earlier this year, Maldonado-Passage was convicted after being convicted of numerous charges, including organizing the murder of one of his competitors and several charges of animal abuse. Maldonado-Passage gained national fame thanks to the documentary series that explores her zoo, her way of life and her rivalry with Carole Baskin, the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue and the woman Maldonado-Passage wanted to have murdered. The documentary is the most watched program on Netflix since its release last month.

IMF chief worries about middle-income countries; urges a broad definition of “vulnerable”

Content of the article

WASHINGTON – The President of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday that she would discuss with IMF members whether they support the provision of low and interest-free finance to middle-income countries hit hard by the pandemic, and not just to the poorest countries.

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said she was concerned about tourism-dependent countries and other middle-income countries that had weaker fundamentals and high debt levels, even before the pandemic, and generally supported the adoption of a broader definition of what makes a country “vulnerable”.


Content of the article

The IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust Fund can currently only lend to the poorest countries, which limits the ability of developing countries with higher income levels to obtain low-interest loans. little or no interest from the IMF.

The United Nations and other agencies have urged the Group of 20 Major Economies to extend the freeze on official bilateral debt payments and a new common framework for handling debt to include those countries, many of which have been hit hard. affected by the pandemic and its economic consequences. Publication date.

G20 finance officials on Wednesday backed a $ 650 billion increase in IMF emergency reserves, or special drawing rights, that wealthier IMF members can lend to the IMF’s PRGT to help the poorest countries. poor.


Content of the article

Georgieva said the IMF plans to complete work on a formal SDR $ 650 billion allocation proposal by mid-June, and is also working on ways for IMF members to lend their reserves to help the poor countries.

She said it was “realistic” that members could access the expanded reserves by mid-August, but declined to estimate how many SDRs would likely be shared by richer countries.

While IMF members can already lend excess SDRs to the IMF’s PRGT facility, there is no formal IMF mechanism in place to facilitate lending to assist middle-income countries.

Georgieva said the issue was raised at Wednesday’s G20 meeting, noting a call from Mexico and Argentina for more debt relief for middle-income countries.

She said there were other ways to support middle-income countries, but that she would discuss with members the possibility of opening up concessional financing terms to them as well.


Content of the article

Georgieva said her personal view was that the international community should broaden its view of “vulnerability” beyond simple income levels to include climate shocks.

“The international community should look at other vulnerabilities as we think about appropriate ways to support developing countries, and this discussion will continue quite intensively over the next few months,” she said. declared.

While Argentina and Mexico have warned of a possible debt crisis, the IMF chief said she did not expect a systemic debt crisis at this time, but that the Fund would remain vigilant. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese and Andrea Ricci)


In-depth reporting on The Logic’s innovation economy, presented in partnership with the Financial Post.


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Hearing scheduled for man charged with murder of missing Amish girl

Kidnapping and homicide suspect Justo Smoker could have his first hearing on new charges next week, according to court records online.

Smoker is the prime suspect in the disappearance of 18-year-old Linda Stoltzfoos and Smoke was charged with her homicide last week.

A preliminary hearing on the new homicide charge is set for December 30, according to court records online.

Smoker, 34, from the Canton of Paradis, has been in detention since July 11, when he was arrested for kidnapping and false imprisonment in connection with Stoltzfoos’ disappearance.

He became the prime suspect after witnesses saw Stoltzfoos get into a red Kia, which investigators were able to link to Smoker. Despite several extensive searches in Lancaster County, his body has never been found.

“Based on the evidence gathered over the past six months, our office has approved the filing of a complaint alleging that Smoker killed Linda after kidnapping her on her way home from church on Beechdale Road in Township of ‘Upper Leacock,’ the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Press release.

District Attorney Heather Adams said due to the circumstances surrounding Stoltzfoos’ disappearance, they still feared “she would suffer a tragic fate.”

Efforts to locate Stoltzfoos are ongoing.

Learn more about PennLive:

Paulo Gazzaniga in talks on loan transfer to Elche after falling through Spurs pecking order

Paulo Gazzaniga in talks on loan transfer to La Liga Elche after falling lower in the pecking order behind Hugo Lloris and Joe Hart at Tottenham

  • Tottenham stopper Paulo Gazzaniga could be loaned to Elche in La Liga
  • The Argentine is the third goalkeeper since Joe Hart’s transfer this summer
  • Defender Japhet Tanganga could stay despite three clubs investigation

Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga is in talks for a loan to Spain’s Elche side.

The 29-year-old was looking for a fresh start after being Hugo Lloris’ understudy and the arrival of Joe Hart pushing him further up the pecking order.

The Argentina one-selection international has played 37 times in all competitions for Spurs, but none this season, with Hart firmly established as Lloris’ assistant.

Tottenham stopper Paulo Gazzaniga (right) could move from La Liga side to Elche in loan deal

The Spanish window closes at 22:59 Monday evening, with the English transfer window due to close one minute later.

Defender Japhet Tanganga is expected to stay despite requests from three clubs, but striker Kazaiah Sterling will be allowed on loan.

Tanganga has made just seven appearances in all competitions this season and none in the Premier League, while Sterling’s loan to League Two Southend ended in January.


SolarCity MyPower Loan – The fine print repayment is not pretty

Originally published on Solar Love.

A few months ago, I wrote an article about SolarCity’s “Insanely High MyPower Prices” compared to competitor prices. The article was based on an analysis by Pick My Solar. There is a part 2 to the story, however. Unfortunately, it is not prettier.

Let me reiterate that I am long SCTY (which is difficult this week), have no plans to buy or sell any shares anytime soon, think SolarCity has good intentions and strong benefits competitive, and think I can even see why he sets up his loans the way he does (in particular, note that he’s not in financial heaven and is probably trying to make sure he stays alive. long-term).

Coming to part 2, the key point is that some of the fine print is not entirely (to put it mildly) consumer interest in the MyPower loan agreement. Here is a quote from Pick My Solar:

“MyPower does offer loan financing, but it sounds like a lot like a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Reading their 34-page contract won’t enlighten you (a concise solar contract should cover everything in 3-5 pages – this contract takes the fine print to the next level). Payments are made to SolarCity based on system output at an “equivalent rate per kWh” that increases 2.9% each year. These variable payments (due to the fact that they are production based) are applied to the loan as any mortgage payment would be. The variable payment structure is put in place with the aim of having the system fully amortized after 30 years. However, if the solar system does not meet the “expected annual production,” upon which the monthly payments are based, it is possible that thousands of dollars may still be owed after 30 years. The guarantee of electricity production is considerably lower than the ‘Planned Annual Generation’, making this a very possible scenario. The contract includes a clause called “loan term variance” which discloses this possibility. He explains that if there is a balance remaining at the end of the loan term, MyPower will offer a refinancing option for the outstanding balance. (added emphasis)

Catch this? Your monthly payments to SolarCity are based on the expected output of your solar power system. If the return is lower than expected, you may owe SolarCity money after 30 years. 30 years! In such a situation, SolarCity will offer to refinance the remaining loan. Oh joy!

Generally, one should expect to pay off their solar system within 5 to 15 years nowadays. Maybe 20 under the wrong circumstances. 30+ years? It doesn’t seem like a smart option. And that comes to another part concerning the MyPower contract….

“Funding has another ingeniously misleading twist. By charging yourself a low “equivalent rate per kWh” up front (and then increasing it by 2.9% each year), most of your upfront payments will go towards paying interest. As the rate increases over the years, you start to pay off more of the principal. Loan structures are usually set up this way, to pay more interest up front, but increasing payments with an escalator completely skews the dynamics of repayment. The client ends up paying a much larger amount in interest and ultimately thousands more than what would have been paid with a conventional fixed monthly payment financing option. With this payment structure, the effective APR ends up being almost one percent above the quoted 30-year rate. (added emphasis)

Anyone who has paid off a large loan should know that the upfront payments only cover interest to an absurd degree. When I was paying off my graduate loans, it was so irritating that I decided after a few years to just pay off the loans as quickly as possible. I ended up saving probably between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000. But many aren’t able or just don’t do the math and think about paying off a loan faster. If such a person is in a SolarCity contract, it will end up even worse than with many other loans. A ridiculous amount of their payments will be used to pay the interest.

As an investor and someone who cares about the ordinary consumer, I’m not happy to see either of these clauses. While they are probably there to try to make sure SolarCity makes a profit and doesn’t go bankrupt as the solar industry grows, they seem devious and unnecessary to customers, and they seem to have a good chance that ‘they backfire in the long run. Course.

SolarCity’s desire to bring solar power to more people via $ 0 or a small amount of money and low monthly payments is laudable, but if it requires fine print and poor repayment terms, I think we start to back down. Hope these issues will be resolved soon. And in the meantime, I encourage anyone looking to switch to solar power to take a close look at the fine print and compare the options.

In the end, here is what Pick My Solar came up with for a 6 kW system in California:

Cost of the SolarCity MyPower system: $ 33,150
Lifetime payments (tax credit used): ~ $ 50,550 (30 year loan)
Avg. Cost per kWh: 17.3 cents (30 years)
Avg. Payments: 140 $ (30 years)

Typical cost of the installation system: $ 23,400
Lifetime payments (tax credit used): ~ $ 22,310 (loan over 12 years)
Avg. Cost per kWh: 9.3 cents (25 years)
Avg. Payments: $ 155 (12 years)

It’s a shocking difference in my book.

Image via Shutterstock

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What are trans fats or trans fatty acids? How they relate to LDL or HDL; list of healthy fats

Trans fats or trans fatty acids are linked to LDL or HDL cholesterol | Photo credit: iStock images


  • According to the World Health Organization, approximately 540,000 deaths each year can be attributed to the consumption of industrially produced trans fatty acids.
  • High trans fat intake increases risk of death from all causes by 34%, deaths from coronary heart disease by 28% and coronary heart disease by 21%: WHO
  • Partially hydrogenated oils (HOPs) are the main source of industrially produced trans fats. PHO is an ingredient in many foods, including margarine, vegetable shortening, and Vanaspati ghee; fried foods and donuts; baked goods such as crackers, cookies and pies; and pre-mixed products such as pancake and hot chocolate mixes: WHO

The Indian food regulator – the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has reduced the percentage of trans fatty acid content in fats and oils to 3% for the year 2021 and aims to reduce it to 2% by 2022.

This decision which reduced the limit on trans fat levels in food through an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards Regulations is important because the current allowable limit is an unhealthy 5%. And what food products will this amendment apply to?

The revised FSSAI regulation applies to vanaspati oils which are partially hydrogenated oils, edible refined oils, bakery shortenings, in chilled doughs, such as cookies and rolls, cakes, biscuits, pies, margarine and other cooking mediums such as mixed fat spreads and vegetables fat spills out. Trans fats are also found in microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, fried foods including fries, donuts and fried chicken, non-dairy creamer, and more.

These fats are notoriously unhealthy, associated with an increased risk of death from coronary heart disease and heart attacks.

What are trans fats?
Trans fats, or trans fatty acids, are a form of unsaturated fat. They come in both natural and man-made forms.

Natural trans fats, also called ruminant trans fats:
Meat and dairy products from ruminants, such as cattle, sheep and goats. And how is it formed? Trans fats in ruminants are formed naturally when bacteria in the stomachs of these animals digest grass. Studies show that moderate consumption of these fats does not appear to be harmful. The best known trans fat in ruminants is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is found in dairy fat. It is believed to be beneficial and is marketed as a dietary supplement.

Artificial trans fats or industrial trans fats or partially hydrogenated fats:
It is trans fats that are dangerous for your health. How is it formed? When vegetable oils are chemically modified to stay solid at room temperature, giving them a much longer shelf life, they end up causing a significant increase in LDL (bad cholesterol) without a corresponding increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. During this time, most other fats tend to increase both LDL and HDL. A diet high in trans fats increases the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in adults. The more trans fat you consume, the greater your risk of heart and vascular disease.

2 main types of cholesterol:
Low density lipoproteins. LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, can build up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow. You may have heard of brittle arteries or plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. LDL causes this build-up.
High density lipoprotein. HDL, or “good” cholesterol, picks up excess cholesterol and returns it to your liver. It is broken there and thrown out of the body.

Try to use more monounsaturated fat in your diet. MS fats are found in olive, peanut, and canola oils. It is a healthier option than saturated fat. Nuts, fish, and other foods containing unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids are other good food choices that contain healthy fats.

The ‘secret tactics’ used to scare the British into staying at home

A document presented to SAGE called for an increase in the “perceived threat” of Covid using “hard-hitting emotional messages,” according to reports today.

Psychologists have accused Downing Street of using “secret psychological strategies” to highlight the threat of Covid-19 without contextualizing the risks, the Telegraph reported.

It was said to create “an increased state of anxiety”, adding that many people had become “too scared to go to the hospital”.

Experts fear the British have been the subject of experience in using tactics that operate “below their level of consciousness,” it has been said.

They have now filed a formal complaint with an organization that will rule on the guilt or not of the ethics of government advisers.

Downing Street denies this, saying he simply presented the facts.

A document presented to SAGE called for an increase in the “perceived threat” of Covid using “hard-hitting emotional messages,” according to reports today. Pictured: Boris Johnson

Psychologists have accused Downing Street of using

Psychologists have accused Downing Street of using “secret psychological strategies” to highlight the threat of Covid-19 without contextualizing the risks. Pictured: Chris Whitty, Mr. Johnson and Patrick Vallance

The complainants refer to a document handed over to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies last March, when the pandemic began to develop rapidly in Britain.

The document, written by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviors, said: “A significant number of people still do not feel personally threatened enough; they might be reassured by the low death rate in their demographic, although worry levels may increase.

“The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messages. To be effective, it must also empower people by clearly indicating what steps they can take to reduce the threat. ‘

The document, seen by the Telegraph, then reportedly offered 14 options to improve compliance, including “using the media to increase feelings of personal threat,” which they say would be very effective but may have “negative side effects.” “.

Members of SAGE have since claimed that the British public had been “subjected to an unrestricted psychological experiment without being told that was what was happening”.

They added that SPI-B reports are often not “disputed” by SAGE as many of those involved are “not very well equipped to assess it”.

“When someone from SPI-B said we need to escalate the fear and keep it going – there weren’t a lot of questions about it at the start and most of the questions came from outside sources, not from within. ”

The complainants refer to a document handed over to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies last March, when the pandemic began to develop rapidly in Britain.  Pictured: Vallance

The complainants refer to a document handed over to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies last March, when the pandemic began to develop rapidly in Britain. Pictured: Vallance

The government told the Telegraph it had given

The government told The Telegraph it had given “clear instructions to the British people as our approach and knowledge of the virus developed”

SPI-B is described as providing behavioral science advice aimed at anticipating and helping people adhere to interventions recommended by medical or epidemiological experts.

They present independent and expert behavioral science advice to SAGE.

SPI-B is said to have relied on advice from behavioral scientists, health and social psychologists, anthropologists and historians in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last November, Sir Patrick Vallance admitted he had ‘regrets’ for scaring people with an apocalyptic record that predicted up to 4,000 Covid-19 deaths per day during the winter and has been used to justify a second national lockdown.

Number 10’s top science adviser made the comments alongside England chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty after the couple were taken to MPs to defend SAGE’s modeling which also predicted hospitals would be overrun by patients infected with the virus by the end of this month.

While grilling for members of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Labor MP Graham Stringer asked Sir Patrick if he thought he had scared people with the grim death data presented at the Saturday night press conference.

The chief science adviser said: “I hope not and that is certainly not the point… I think I positioned it as a scenario from a few weeks ago, based on a hypothesis to try to “get a reasonable new worst-case scenario. And if that didn’t happen, I regret it.”

Defending the case, he added: “These numbers were compiled by large academic groups based on these assumptions and, in the spirit of trying to make sure things are shared and open, these are the things. that we saw [in the data so far], and it’s important and I think people see it.

Professor Whitty conceded that the prediction of 4,000 daily deaths was unlikely to come true because the modeling was the worst-case scenario based on a situation in which no additional measures were introduced.

He told MPs: “We would all say rates will likely be lower than this peak [of 4,000]’.

Professor Whitty added that a figure of around 1,000 deaths per day was “quite realistic” without harsher action.

The government told The Telegraph it had given “clear instructions to the British people as our approach and knowledge of the virus developed.”

A spokesperson added: “We are clear: we want this lockdown to be the last and relax the restrictions in a cautious, data-driven way.”

MailOnline has contacted the Department of Health for comment.

PPP loan applications extended until May 31

Small employers have more time to apply for paycheck protection program repayable loans now that Congress has extended the deadline to the end of March.

President Biden signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 on Tuesday. The law gives small businesses two additional months to apply for federal loans that can be canceled – converted into a grant – if borrowers meet program requirements.

The new application deadline is May 31, and the US Small Business Administration, which manages the program, has an additional 30 days to process pending applications.

Paycheck Protection Program loans have helped many small U.S. businesses pay their employees and cover essential costs during pandemic-related shutdowns and a sharp economic downturn last year. Congress replenished funding for the program with an additional $ 284.5 billion in December and allowed more businesses to apply for first and second round loans.

To date, Maine employers have received nearly 43,000 loans worth over $ 3 billion from the program.

Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, helped draft the original loan program created last March and she introduced the extension law that was enacted on Tuesday.

Businesses that employ up to 500 people and have not applied for the program can receive a loan of up to $ 10 million, most of which must be spent on payroll.

Establishments with 300 employees or less that experienced a loss of income of 25% or more last year can apply for a second forgivable loan.

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New store aims to bring Tacoma community together

April 7 — The arrival of a new store on McKinley Avenue in Tacoma is a dream come true for a local family.


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Parable is a family business, with Deatria (Dee Dee) Williams and her cousins ​​Lakecia Farmer and Le’Ecia Farmer all co-owned.

The family got the space last fall. Raising over $ 11,000 through crowdsourcing, they were able to pay for initial start-up costs and secure inventory to launch online sales, including books and plants.

Their goal is to raise $ 50,000 in total to renovate the interior space so that Parable can move from selling online to opening its doors in the summer of 2021.

They also applied for loans and grants for small businesses.

The location is 3502 McKinley Ave., Suite A, the former Tacoma Lamp Repair site.

The company’s bio on the company’s website indicates that it is a “family, community-owned, LGBTQ-owned, black-owned, female-owned.”

The store will feature plants, books, clothing, products from local artists and more. The family also plans that the store will also serve as a community space for live events, children’s programs and workshops.

The owners recently sat down with The News Tribune to describe their dreams for the store.

“We all had different entrepreneurial ideas, separately and together,” said Le’Ecia Farmer. “A long time ago, Lakecia and I were talking about opening a cafe. I know, I heard Dee Dee talk about some entrepreneurial activities like interior design or different services for people. always been the case our mind is what we want to do. We eventually want to work for ourselves and build our family and future generations.

“And then during the pandemic, a space opened up in front of where Dee Dee and Lakecia live, and where I lived.… Do? What would it be?” And we just started to dreaming about the potential business that it might be.And then the more we talked, the more excited we got.

“And we applied to this space and got it.”

She added: “I feel like companies usually do it the other way around where they have this fleshed out business plan and all the finances and then they find the space, where we just found the space and we’re like, let’s do it. “

Lakecia Farmer said Parable will focus on the community.

“You know, we say it a lot, ‘community, community, community’, but it means a lot to us to have space for people,” said Lakecia Farmer. “Dee Dee and I have been in this neighborhood for four years, so one of the things we just saw that was amazing was how the community comes together for the McKinley Street Fair, and the Farmers’ Market. and all these different things… But there’s not, like, a huge space where you can just, like, come with your family… come like yourself, and you know, maybe go shopping, maybe just be participating in the community. “

Deatria Williams said: “We were walking one day and it was empty, and it felt like everything had come into place like it was lined up for us. So it was pretty exciting.”

They envision reading circles and craft sessions for kids, poetry nights that people can join in, with seating areas to come in and read or listen to records and music, each member of the family will love. particularly interesting in every aspect.

“Technically, as an LLC, we are listed as a shop,” Le’Ecia Farmer said. “But we really want to… focus on a more lively space where people can interact. And so in addition to music and children’s programming, educational workshops… we have our business side. And then there’s the business side. kind of a mix of those two sides too, where it’s like we want to showcase independent designers and local artists. And we imagine a space where they can host events with us, they can have pop-ups , if they’re trying to start a small business … “

The launch of the store will take place in three phases. The online part expanded with sales focused on books and plants. The next phase is the interior renovation. The final phase will open the store to the public and focus on launching the community phase into its full vision when it can be done safely in regards to the pandemic.

While opening a business during a pandemic might seem daunting, the phased approach has given them a head start, Lakecia Farmer noted.

“We are developing our business in phases. And I think that builds resilience… we are innovative in selling online,” said Lakecia Farmer. “This is the story of Parable as an adaptation. We adapt.

“I don’t know if you’re familiar with ‘The Parable of the Sower,’ by Octavia Butler. That’s where the name comes from. But it’s all about resilience during hardship – just being resilient.

“And I think that’s… one of the reasons, ways that we can show ourselves in the community like, ‘Hey, that’s hope. It is strength. It is resilience. We can do it. You can do it. And we’re all in the same boat. ‘”

“I also feel like we are able to look ahead and be like, we want things to be different for future generations,” said Le’Ecia Farmer. “We don’t want them to have to fight tooth and nail to just have some sort of sense of security. Even though it seems really wild to open up during a pandemic, I think this seems like the best option for us. family right now. “

“I’m pretty excited about this,” said Deatria Williams. “I look forward to it. And not only that, we are leaving something for generations to come.”

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Tanzania secures World Bank loan of 570 billion shillings for phase 3 of Dar Bus Rapid Transit

By Hellen Nachilongo

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian government has secured a total of 570.6 billion shillings in loans from the World Bank for the construction of Phases 3 and 4 of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a senior official revealed yesterday.

Phase three of the BRT project includes the construction of infrastructure projects on the 23.6 kilometer stretch of the Nyerere road from Gongo la Mboto to the city center and parts of the Uhuru road from Tazara to Kariakoo Gerezani.

Meanwhile, Phase 4 includes the construction of a 16.1 kilometer stretch along the Bagamoyo and Sam Nujoma roads. Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (Dart) Managing Director Ronald Lwakatare told the Citizen that they received $ 148.1 million for phase 3 and $ 99.9 million for phase 4.

“The funds obtained would facilitate the effective construction of the BRT infrastructure while the government will be responsible for compensating the people who will be affected by the project,” he said.

He said that after the offsets, the government would then announce tenders to start the construction process.

He said that while the actual cost of construction will be determined based on the bids received, the amount to be spent on the project will remain within the same range. It was because the funds were in foreign currency.


Earlier last year, Dart said it had disbursed 5.7 billion shillings to 77 residents of Dar es Salaam to pave the way for construction of the 23.6-kilometer stretch of the BRT Phase 3 project.

Dart said the government had completed the compensation process but only 124.1 million shillings had yet to be paid to those who would be affected.

Dart is a bus-based public transport system connecting the suburb of Dar es Salaam to the central business district that began operations in May 2016. Construction of the first phase was completed in December 2015 at a total cost of 134 million euros, financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank and the Government of Tanzania.

Phase I of the BRT system has a total length of 21 kilometers and stretches from Kimara via Ubungo to end in Kivukoni, Morocco and Gerezani.

Israeli banks profit from settlements

(Elkana, West Bank) – Most of Israel’s largest banks provide services that help support, maintain and expand illegal settlements by funding their construction in the occupied West Bank.

The 41-page report, “Bank Abuse: Israeli Banks in West Bank Settlements,” details new research on the scope of settlement banking activities and the violations to which these activities contribute. The seven largest banks in Israel provide services to the settlements. The report also documents the involvement of most of them in building housing units that expand settlements by acquiring property rights in new construction projects and carrying the projects through to completion. The transfer by the occupier of members of its civilian population to the occupied territory and the deportation or transfer of members of the population of the territory are war crimes. By facilitating the expansion of settlements, these banking activities facilitate illegal population transfers.

“Israeli banks are teaming up with developers to build houses exclusively for Israelis on Palestinian land,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The projects funded by these banks are helping to illegally displace Palestinians. Human Rights Watch searched online lists of settlement construction projects, Palestinian and Israeli land and municipal records, and construction company reports, interviewed landowners, visited settlement construction sites, and examined research on banking activities and land status by profiting Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Kerem Navot.

A map created by Human Rights Watch provides a partial picture of financial services provided by banks in West Bank settlements. In addition to construction projects, banks provide loans to regional and local settlement authorities and mortgage loans to home buyers in settlements and operate bank branches there.

Palestinian residents of the West Bank, barred by military order from entering the settlements, except as workers with special permits, cannot use these services. Palestinian and foreign banks provide services to Palestinian customers outside the settlements. The settlements are illegal under international humanitarian law. They contribute to a discriminatory regime in which the Israeli authorities restrict and delay Palestinian economic development, while subsidizing and supporting Israeli settlements built on land illegally seized from Palestinians. International humanitarian law prohibits an occupying power from using land except for military purposes or for the benefit of the local population living under occupation.

Banks that finance or ‘back up’ construction projects in settlements become partners in settlement expansion, overseeing every stage of construction, sequestering money from buyers and taking ownership of the project in the event of failure of the settlement. ‘construction company. Most of these constructions are on what the Israeli authorities have declared to be “state land,” which may include land illegally seized from private Palestinian owners. Israel uses this land in a discriminatory manner, allocating one-third of state or public land in the West Bank, not including East Jerusalem, to the World Zionist Organization and only 1% for the use of Palestinians. In the Palestinian village of Azzun, for example, Murshed Suleiman’s family lost regular access to their land when Israel erected its separation barrier between Azzun and the neighboring settlement of Alfei Menashe on the Israeli side. Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-largest bank, is teaming up with an Israeli construction company to construct five new buildings in the settlement, on land owned by Azzun.

Just outside the Palestinian village of Mas-ha, Mizrahi Tefahot, Israel’s fourth largest bank, is supporting two new housing projects, with a total of 251 housing units. The project essentially extends the settlement of Elkana towards Mas-ha, exacerbating the restrictions on access to land. The Aamer family largely lost access to what was approximately 500 dunams (50 hectares) of their land. Family members say part of the new construction is on land their father bought but which was seized without their permission and is now off limits to them.

In Mas-ha too, the Israeli authorities built the separation barrier to go deep into the West Bank, to locate Elkana and other settlements on the “Israeli” side.

Human Rights Watch contacted both banks for their response but received no substantive response.

The settlements inherently contribute to serious human rights violations. Companies doing business in or with the settlements cannot mitigate or avoid contributing to these abuses, as their activities take place on illegally seized land, under conditions of discrimination and through a serious breach of obligations. of Israel as the occupying power. These activities raise concerns about looting, due to Israeli military land grabbing policies that make it difficult to determine whether landowners have freely given their consent.

Human Rights Watch believes that in order to comply with their human rights responsibilities, banks, like other companies, should stop doing business in or with Israeli settlements. They should cease locating or carrying out activities inside settlements, financing, administering or otherwise supporting settlements or settlement-related activities and infrastructure, and entering into contracts to purchase settlements. goods produced by the colonies.

“Banks cannot do business in settlements without contributing to discrimination, displacement and land theft,” Bashi said. “To avoid this outcome, they would have to end their settlement activities. “

Why Chinese infrastructure loans in Africa represent a whole new kind of neocolonialism – The Diplomat

With great fanfare, the Nairobi-Mombasa railway line opened in Kenya on May 31, 18 months ahead of schedule. It is the second major railway undertaken by China on the African continent recently, after the launch of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway in January. Chinese media have been enthusiastic about these investments in African infrastructure, often in the context of the One Belt, One Road initiative which aims to achieve economic development through greater transport connectivity. African leaders seem to agree, as many are taking massive concessional loans from China to carry out ambitious projects, such as the East African Railways master plan, in the decades to come.

But it is highly doubtful that African countries have the financial capacity to implement such ambitious plans. In the case of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, for example, its total construction cost of around $ 4 billion represents almost a quarter of the Ethiopian government’s 2016 budget of $ 12.57 billion. Even at concessional rates, servicing and repaying debt will be a significant burden on government in the years and decades to come. It is incomprehensible how the government will be able to undertake other infrastructure projects even if the economy and the government budget are growing steadily, as it has done in recent years.

Indeed, beyond flagship projects such as cross-border railways, infrastructure spending can weigh even more in proportion to local African economies. For the record, I have spent the last two years residing in the rural Iringa region of Tanzania, where Chinese companies have built various government office buildings and brand new paved roads connecting its various townships to major cities in the country. country. Although precise figures are not available, given the region’s economic dependence on commercial maize, timber and tea production as an economic pillar, it is conceivable that such constructions could represent a large part of local government revenue, in many cases unsustainable.

This then raises the question of how African governments will eventually reimburse the Chinese for all this infrastructure construction. Given the growing amount of debt resulting from more and more loans taken out to finance infrastructure developments in the future, African states are likely to need more than just portions of their limited budgets to complete repayment. More likely than not, many states will have to resort to in-kind payments.

The concept of “payment in kind” smacks of colonialism in some ways. The historical precedent of European settlers comes to mind. Europeans built infrastructure in Africa around the turn of the century, allegedly also for local economic development, but in essence the projects were used for the extraction of natural resources. The predecessor of the Nairobi-Mombasa and Addis Ababa-Djibouti railways can be classified as such. Both connect the interior regions with mineral deposits with the main ports of the Indian Ocean.

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And there is no doubt that some of the same natural resources sought after by European settlers a century or more ago are also sought after by the Chinese. While building infrastructure, the Chinese have also invested heavily in local mines and processing facilities. At least part of the cargo to be transported by the new railways and roads built with Chinese funding should be natural resources to fuel the Chinese industrial machine.

Yet the active participation of Chinese construction companies in Belt and Road initiatives around the world cannot mask the fact that the Chinese economy is gradually moving away from dependence on the resource-rich manufacturing sector. natural. The tertiary sector of the Chinese economy already represents more than half of the entire economy and is expected to continue growing as a proportion of the total economy at the expense of the primary and secondary sectors. And as inputs in China become relatively more expensive, low-end, resource-intensive manufacturing is expected to continue to shift to more price-competitive neighboring states, such as Vietnam.

In other words, while the infrastructure developments in Africa associated with the One Belt, One Road project will mainly benefit China through faster and cheaper transport of African natural resources to the Chinese economy, these benefits, in especially compared to loan costs, may be much less than anything European settlers have obtained from their businesses in the past.

Seen in this light, there may be doubts about the financial viability of providing loans to African states for infrastructure construction. However, the public may be underestimating the potential political influence the Chinese government gains by holding billions of dollars in sovereign debt around the world. By ensuring that these debts are paid in one form or another, be it economic concessions, political agreements, or a combination of the two, China can in the long run formulate a new kind of relationship. diplomatic with these foreign countries.

This is especially true in much of the sub-Saharan Africa region. Given the low level of industrialization of local economies, weak economic governance, dependence on commodity exports and unsophisticated financial systems, if the Chinese, through individual actors and state, want to seek majority stakes in finance, real estate, and resource management sectors, China could reap magnified benefits from any future economic development in these countries, far more than can be calculated alone. in terms of debt repayment.

While the almost monopolistic control of the economies of Southeast Asia by the ethnic Chinese serves as a benchmark, the domination of the local economic infrastructure through the control of banks, real estate, commercial networks and retail spaces is essential to ensure that wealth remains concentrated within Chinese families despite successive waves. wave of anti-Chinese regulations, protests and violence. China’s leverage on sovereign debt from infrastructure investments can dramatically accelerate this process and deepen economic control to a less politically toxic level than the case of Southeast Asia.

Either way, it is still a little too early to say that African infrastructure projects are money losing businesses. Yes, impoverished countries where investments will be received will not be able to repay cash loans even decades later. But equating success with financial returns is short-sighted. The Chinese government and its arsenal of state-owned enterprises certainly don’t think so. Historical experiences have equipped them with the expertise to leverage economic positions for political gains that will prove to be far more important than money in the long run.

Xiaochen Su currently resides in Iringa, Tanzania, and works for an NGO that helps smallholder farmers increase their productivity through the provision of high quality agricultural inputs and microcredit. Su previously studied international political economy at the London School of Economics.

“Nobody Saves the World” is a shapeshifter RPG from DrinkBox Studios

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the creators of Cut and Guacamelee, but on Friday DrinkBox Studios presented their latest project, Nobody saves the world. Revealed during Microsoft’s ID @ Xbox showcase, the studio is pitching the game as an action RPG that includes everything people love about the genre, without any gimmicks like grinding. Oh, and Jim Guthrie, the composer behind the music of Indie game: the movie and Superbrothers: Swords & Sworcery EP, writes the game’s soundtrack.

In an interview with PolygonDrinkBox co-founder Graham Smith said part of the inspiration for the game came from Final Fantasy Tactics and its Job system. You can see the influence of Square’s 1997 PlayStation classic on how your playable character, Person, has the ability to take on different forms. You will be able to become a mouse, a horse, a slug, a turtle and more, and you will have to use all the forms at your disposal to complete the game and its many dungeons.

Nobody saves the world will release later this year on Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and PC, where it will be available on Steam and the Microsoft Store. Xbox Game Pass subscribers will also have the chance to play the game over lunch on console and PC.

Eagles’ Doug Pederson Not Relying On Spoiler As Motivation Against Washington

PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles were the first NFC East team to be knocked out of the playoffs last week, and they’re the only one of four teams in the division not to have a chance to win it until Week 17.

But the Eagles have some element of control over who wins the division. The Washington football team must beat the Eagles on Sunday night to win the NFC East. If the Eagles beat Washington, the winner of the Cowboys-Giants game earlier today will go to the playoffs.

The Eagles can change the playoff image from position at the bottom of the division. And while defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has spoken of a “hatless rule” – Washington not having the chance to wear its divisional championship clothes at Lincoln Financial Field – coach Doug Pederson doesn’t see Washington out. of the playoffs as the main driver on Sunday.

“I don’t necessarily use the spoiler as a motivation,” Pederson said Friday morning. “I use the fact that we had another opportunity to go out and show our talents and try to put together a four quarterback game and try to win a game. It’s the motivation, and it’s the division opponent, and that’s our goal. We planned the game, we trained this week that way, and I expect our team, my team to come out and play hard and aggressively. Yes, we understand that for them, if they win, obviously they are entered, and so we know those ramifications as well. We’ve been on that side, so we understand that. But I’m not using the spoiler as a motivation for a football game in any way. “

Read more: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team: 5 games to watch in week 17

The Eagles are also in a difficult position to spoil things for Washington. On Friday, the Eagles ruled out nine players for Sunday’s game, including left tackle Jordan Mailata (concussion), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (neck) and defensive end Derek Barnett (calf). The Eagles, already battered by injuries this season, will be even further shorthanded.

But over the past two weeks, quarterback Jalen Hurts and center Jason Kelce have said their main goal whenever they step onto the field is to win games. Young players are always trying to make impressions. The waiting free agents are trying to put together a movie for the rest of the league. The personal stakes remain, even if the draft position remains the only outcome still uncertain for the Eagles. The Birds could pick anywhere from No.3 to No.10 in the 2021 NFL Draft, depending on the result.

Read more: Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson: “I expect to be here in 2021”

Defensive end Brandon Graham reiterated that point this week.

“You know, you have to go out there to win,” Graham said. “We have to end this thing with a great taste in the mouth, at least. I understand it’s a business at the end of the day, but when we’re in this field, we put our careers and our lives on the line, every time we step into this field. No one just says “Oh, they let him win because they wanted to get this spot.” No, BG looks bad when he looks bad on the movie, so you want to go with that mindset every time to win.

The Eagles are well aware of what is at stake. At the start of Week 16, they were hoping Sunday’s final would be a win-win game for them. But the pieces didn’t fall off that way. And while they can still exert their influence on the NFC playoff image, the Eagles are more focused on themselves.

“It’s a matter of pride,” said security Marcus Epps. “We don’t want other teams celebrating on our field, celebrating the division’s victory on our field. So most of the time it comes down to having pride, heart. We know it’s going to be a tough game because they’re a very good team. But you know, it’s kind of like that every week. I mean, every team – it’s the NFL, every team is going to be a tough game, so we just have to bring it in this week.

Read more: Eagles’ Jalen Reagor reflects on ‘trials and tribulations’ of rookie season

Daniel Gallen covers the Philadelphia Eagles for PennLive. He can be contacted at [email protected]. You can follow it on Twitter and Facebook. Follow PennLive’s Philadelphia Eagles coverage on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

Washtenaw District Attorney to Not Charge People with Unauthorized Use of Opioid Addictive Drugs

ANN ARBOR, MI – Washtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit is adding a drug used to treat opioid addiction to the list of things he won’t sue people for.

Savit, who took office Jan. 1, announced the new policy on Wednesday, Jan.13, saying America remains in the midst of a devastating opioid epidemic.

The prosecutor’s office will no longer charge cases related to the unauthorized use or possession of buprenorphine, often known by the brand name Suboxone, a drug that helps people struggling with opioid addiction, Savit said. .

Further, Savit’s policy calls for “a general presumption against the laying of criminal charges relating to the unauthorized sale or distribution of buprenorphine.”

Washtenaw District Attorney Won’t Charge People With Marijuana, Mushrooms, Other Psychedelics

Many people who illegally sell buprenorphine sell life-saving drugs to others with addiction and it is not in the interests of justice, public safety or public health to lay criminal charges against them, said Savit.

“Today’s political announcement is about saving lives,” Savit said in a statement, saying people generally use buprenorphine to help recover.

“When we charge cases related to buprenorphine, we increase the likelihood that recovering people will end up using drugs like heroin or fentanyl. Data from other communities clearly confirms this. Refusal to continue with buprenorphine is associated with a significant reduction in overdose deaths. This is the outcome we should all wish for.

Savit is sworn in as a Washtenaw County District Attorney and begins work to reshape the court system

Experts helped create the new policy, including doctors, law enforcement, recovery professionals and opioid policy specialists, Savit said.

The use of buprenorphine stabilizes the neurochemistry of people addicted to opioids, relieving intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms, says Savit’s new policy guideline, citing research from health experts.

Although buprenorphine is an opioid, it does not cause the same physiological effects as drugs like heroin that fully activate opioid receptors in the brain, and patients usually do not become intoxicated, he says. On the contrary, they demonstrate significantly improved cognitive function and are generally safe to drive, he says.

Buprenorphine remains a controlled substance in Michigan, which means its use or possession without a prescription can expose a person to criminal charges, Savit noted, although he vows not to let that happen here.

Under Savit’s policy, charges can still be brought against manufacturers or large-scale distributors engaged in the black market sale of buprenorphine for profit, or against people who sell or manufacture “designer” drugs. »Dangerous product containing both buprenorphine and fentanyl.

There were 41 opioid-related deaths among residents of Washtenaw County between January and August last year, according to the county’s health department.


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Local Eats: Kalamazoo Town Center Sandwich Place Brings High Quality Ingredients to Your Lunch Break

KALAMAZOO, MI – While many restaurants in Kalamazoo and across the state were forced to temporarily close in March due to the coronavirus, a downtown Kalamazoo sandwich shop stayed the course.

Artisan Sandwich Co., located at 348 S. Kalamazoo Mall in downtown Kalamazoo, “never really” closed, store owner Ryan Schmidt said.

As Michigan’s stay-at-home order on March 16 stifled downtown walking traffic and led to a decline in business in March, Schmidt, 30, said his store’s food orders had in fact increased due to the pandemic.

After losing all of his staff, Schmidt kept his restaurant open and operated the store himself, offering take-out service, until the stay-at-home order was lifted in June. It has since added new and returning workers and currently has five employees, Schmidt said.

Since opening in August 2017, Artisan has been serving hot and cold deli-style sandwiches that emphasize fresh, homemade ingredients. Schmidt says his restaurant’s philosophy stems from two ideas: eat well and live better.

Related: Artisan Sandwich Co. opens in downtown Kalamazoo

Popular specialty sandwiches include: the Kalamazoo Club, with bacon, ham and turkey; the albacore tuna salad sandwich, with fresh albacore tuna prepared daily in small quantities; a turkey and avocado BLT, with fresh avocado sliced ​​to order and hickory-smoked bacon; and the Veggie, which offers a spread of hummus, cheese and vegetables.

After working odd jobs after graduating from Western Michigan University, Schmidt said he decided it was time to take a risk.

“I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do after I sort of tried to figure out life, I said, ‘I’m an entrepreneur and I just have to do it,'” Schmidt said.

After laying the groundwork and assessing the feasibility of making his idea a reality, Schmidt said, he was able to secure a loan from the bank and has since made Artisan Sandwich Co. his passion.

“We really scratched it together, but we got there and in a way that looks mature and professional,” Schmidt said.

Inside the 980 square foot space, guests will notice a modern yet rustic feel. Schmidt said that one of the main influences behind the design of his store was the name “Artisan” itself.

“If you look up Artisan in the dictionary it means handcrafted, specialized made, in smaller batches, so that’s the idea when I built the space, I said, ‘I’m going to handcraft everything ”and literally put the brick on the wall, built the counter myself, painted the ceilings on my birthday in 2017.”

Related: 12 restaurants opened in 2017 in the Kalamazoo district

All of the store’s sandwiches come wrapped in packaging designed to look like an old-school newspaper – which has been a somewhat unexpected hit with customers, Schmidt said.

You can find Schmidt, the new father of a four-month-old son, inside the Artisan Sandwich Shop on most days the Artisan doors are open.

“At first I said, ‘OK, I’m going to be here and let each of my clients know how special they are,’ because customer service is such a huge thing,” Schmidt said. “I remember when we first opened I had a customer ask me, ‘Why are you so nice? And that’s just who I am, but you realize nobody does it like us.

Those wishing to place an order in advance can contact Artisan Sandwich Co. at 269-220-5665.

Also on MLive:

Local Eats: Food Dance in Kalamazoo Adapts to Coronavirus Restrictions with Outdoor Seating and Cocktails to Go

Local Eats: Black-owned restaurants feature community favorites in Kalamazoo

Local Eats: Blue Dolphin owner grateful for support from Kalamazoo community during pandemic

Mike’s Hard Lemonade launches seltzer range

The company that brought us hard lemonade has now created a hard lemonade seltzer.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer is available now and comes in four flavors: Lemon, Strawberry, Mango and Pineapple.

“Made by THE hard lemonade experts who created the category on April 1, 1999, hard lemonade fans can rejoice and cheer with the new superior tasting hard lemonade seltzer,” Mike’s said in a press release.

“Made from the ultimate lemon trifecta – a proprietary blend of three specialty lemon grapes – Mike’s lemonade flavor delivers a unique taste and crunchy finish.”

Mike’s said he used “a special cold pressing method” to extract more flavor from the lemons. Seltzer has 100 calories, 1 gram of sugar, and is gluten free.

“We’re obsessed with making the tastiest hard lemonades, which we’ve perfected over the past 21 years,” said John Shea, Marketing Director, Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. “Other companies are doing other things. , Mike makes lemonade. Mike’s has been the # 1 hard lemonade for over two decades to deliver superior taste, and now we’re excited to introduce Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer, the best hard-tasting lemonade seltzer.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer comes in a 12-box pack of four flavors.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer is now available nationwide.

New Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer comes in a 12-can pack of four flavors.


  • Krispy Kreme’s new donut is out of this world and available for one day only.
  • Popeyes unveils a new Cajun plaice sandwich and offers insurance, just in case you don’t like it.

Homebuyding Startup Knock IPO Exploration

Sean Black of Knock and Jamie Glenn (Knock, iStock)

Knock, a startup that helps people buy new homes before selling old ones, is the latest proptech company to consider going public.

The company hired Goldman Sachs to help advise it on a possible IPO, Bloomberg News reported. Knock is considering both a traditional initial public offering or a merger with a specialist acquisition company, and hopes to raise between $ 400 million and $ 500 million with an IPO. He is aiming for a valuation of around $ 2 billion.

Knock has raised $ 600 million in equity and debt to date, with investors such as Foundry Group, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Redpoint and Greycroft, according to Crunchbase.

Knock was originally launched in 2015 as a traditional iBuyer and has marketed homes directly to consumers. It has evolved since: last year it launched its Home Swap program, which allows consumers to buy new homes before selling their old ones by pre-financing mortgages. It also offers interest-free bridging loans to allow sellers to make repairs. The program is now available in nine states.

The startup was founded by former Trulia executives Sean Black and Jamie Glenn, who are CEOs and COOs of Knock respectively, as well as Karan Sakhuja, who is the company’s chief architect.

In recent months, Knock has been expanding its C suite. In January, it hired Michelle DeBella, who previously worked at Lyft and Uber, as its senior CFO.

[Bloomberg News] – Amy Plitt

15 Wayne County Small Businesses Get COVID-19 Relief Fund Loans

RICHMOND, Ind. – A program set up to help small businesses in Wayne County survive the novel coronavirus pandemic distributed $ 331,000 to 15 businesses in the first round of applications.

Wayne County, the City of Richmond, the Wayne County Revolving Loan Fund Board, the Wayne County Economic Development Corporation and the Economic Growth Group came together a month ago to create a $ 900,000 fund to distribute under form of zero rate loans of up to $ 25,000 to qualifying small businesses.

The money can be used to pay for rent, mortgage, utilities, supplies, equipment, insurance, inventory, labor costs, and other operating expenses.

RELATED: 8 Downtown, Depot District businesses chosen for COVID-19 relief funding

RELATED: Over 80 Wayne County Businesses and Nonprofits Get P3 Loans

There are no loan origination fees and payments are deferred for six months. Businesses then have up to 54 months to repay the borrowed amount. Monthly payments that are 30 days past due will incur a late fee of 5% of the overdue amount.

“Our small business community is fighting just to survive the economic impact of this pandemic. We are proud to know that they will survive and continue to be the lifeblood of our communities, ”said Wayne County Commissioner Denny Burns, President of the Wayne County Revolving. Board of the Loan Fund.

In the first round of applications, 22 companies applied for loans, 15 of which were granted by the board of directors. Of the seven who did not receive loans, only one was outright rejected. Two others withdrew their applications on their own and four were suspended for a second round of funding.

Those who received the money included:

  • Allen Antiques and Curiosities, $ 10,000;
  • Armstrong Cleaners, $ 25,000;
  • Cochran and Associates, $ 25,000;
  • 5th Street Coffee and Bagel, $ 25,000;
  • Galo’s Italian Grill, $ 25,000;
  • Grace Sales and Marketing, $ 20,000;
  • Handmade Halo, $ 6,000;
  • Heartbreaker Entertainment, $ 25,000;
  • Infinite Print, $ 25,000;
  • Luxury Lizzies, $ 25,000;
  • Molina Properties, $ 25,000;
  • Olde Richmond Inn, $ 25,000;
  • OnVine Media, $ 20,000;
  • Swagatam hospitality, $ 25,000; and
  • Warm glow candles, $ 25,000.

Second round of applications, funding

Applications for a second round of funding are being accepted until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19, with some changes to the eligibility criteria.

Previously, the business owner had to live in Wayne County. Now, companies that can prove that at least 75% of their employees are county residents can apply.

In addition, the maximum number of employees has increased from 50 to around 100.

“I say ‘around’ because we don’t want to overlook a candidate who might have 104 or 108 employees,” said Valerie Shaffer, president of EDC. “We want to be a little flexible on that number of 100 to make sure that we are supporting businesses that are in desperate need of this loan in order to continue their operations.”

Businesses must always be for-profit, be physically located in the county, be subject to county taxes, be up to date with all property and social taxes, and meet the eligibility criteria of the US Small Business Administration.

“It’s quite a process we’re going through,” Shaffer said. “However, now that we’ve gone through the process once, we hope it will be a lot easier the second time around.”

Interested parties can visit EDC’s website,, for more details and to complete an application.

Jason Truitt is the team leader and senior reporter at Palladium-Item. Contact him at (765) 973-4459 or [email protected]

Revolving credit vs installment credit

Revolving credit vs installment credit: an overview

There are two basic types of credit repayment: revolving credit and installment credit. Revolving credit allows borrowers to spend the borrowed money, pay it back, and spend it again. The lender advances them a fixed credit limit that can be used in whole or in part.

On the other hand, borrowers repay installment loans with scheduled periodic payments. This type of credit involves the gradual reduction of the principal and a possible full repayment, thus ending the credit cycle.

Revolving credit and installment credit come in both secured and unsecured forms, but it is more common to see secured installment loans.

Key points to remember

  • Installment credit gives borrowers a lump sum and fixed and scheduled payments are made until the loan is paid off in full.
  • Revolving credit allows a borrower to spend the money they have borrowed, pay it back, and borrow again as needed.
  • Examples of revolving credit are credit cards and lines of credit.
  • Examples of installment loans are mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and personal loans.

What is revolving credit?

A credit card and a line of credit (LOC) are two common forms of revolving credit. Your credit limit does not change when you make payments to your revolving credit account. You can come back to your account to borrow more money as often as you like, as long as you don’t go over your limit.

Because you don’t borrow a lump sum when you open the account, there is no fixed payment plan with revolving credit. You can borrow up to a certain amount. However, this flexibility often results in lower loan amounts and higher interest rates. Borrowers owe interest on the amount they draw, not the entire credit limit.

Revolving credit can be a more dangerous way to borrow than installment credit. A big part of your credit score (30%) is your credit usage rate, for example, how close your card balance is to your overall limit on each card. Having high balances lowers your score.

What is installment credit?

The most distinctive features of an installment credit account are the predetermined term and end date, often referred to as the loan term. The loan agreement usually includes an amortization schedule, in which the principal is gradually reduced by installments over several years.

Common installment loans include mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and personal loans. With each of them, you know how much your monthly payments are and for how long you will be making payments. You need to apply for more credit to borrow more money.

Revolving credit vs installment credit
Revolving credit Installment loan
The loaned amount can be used at any time, repaid and borrowed again as needed Borrowers have access to the loaned amount in a single payment
At higher interest rates May be more difficult to qualify
Borrowers owe interest only on the amount they draw Fixed number of payments, including interest, over a defined period of time

Advantages and disadvantages of installment credit

Installment credit has advantages and disadvantages that must be taken into account. Here’s how it compares to revolving credit.

Predictable payments

The biggest benefit of using installment credit to pay off revolving debt is the adjustment of monthly repayment expectations. With credit cards and other revolving debt, you have to pay a minimum amount on the outstanding balance. This can create many required payments with a wide range of reimbursement amounts, leading to budgeting difficulties.

With installment credit, you get a fixed monthly repayment amount for a period of time, which makes budgeting easier. Installment loans can also be extended over time (a 30-year mortgage is one example), allowing for lower monthly payments that can better match your monthly cash flow needs.

Reduced borrowing costs

For qualified borrowers, installment credit may be cheaper than revolving credit when it comes to interest rates. Credit card companies charge interest rates that compound each month when balances are not fully paid. The higher the interest rate, the more expensive it can be to carry revolving debt over the long term.

In general, installment credit lenders offer lower interest rates for borrowers who have good credit. Some people even take out installment loans to pay off their revolving credit. There are advantages and disadvantages to this strategy. In addition, revolving debt can come with excessive fees in the event of late payments or exceeding credit limits.

Disadvantages of installment credit

While there are some advantages to using installment credit to pay off more expensive revolving debt, there are some drawbacks. First, some lenders do not allow you to prepay the loan balance. This means that you are not allowed to pay more than the required amount each month (or even pay off the debt entirely) without imposing a prepayment penalty on yourself. This is usually not a problem with paying off credit card debt.

Installment credit lenders have more stringent qualifications regarding income, other unpaid debts, and credit history. Most credit card companies are more lenient in their lending practices, especially for high-risk borrowers.

Installment credit may seem like a panacea against high-interest revolving debt, but this strategy is only beneficial if you commit to buying a lot less with credit cards after you’ve paid off the balances. The accumulation of new credit card balances, in addition to the monthly payments required by an installment loan, can put incredible pressure on your budget each month.

Agencies Publish New Interagency Q&A on Private Flood Insurance | Weiner Brodsky Kider PC

A notice and request for comment has been issued for further interagency questions and answers regarding the acceptance of flood insurance issued by private insurers, as required by regulations implementing the Reform Act 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance.

On July 1, 2019, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Farm Credit Administration and the National Credit Union Administration (collectively, the Agencies) amended their regulations regarding lending in areas of particular flood risk to implement the private flood insurance provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The regulations require lending institutions to accept policies that meet the legal definition of “private flood insurance” in the Biggert-Waters flood law. Credit institutions may also exercise their discretion to accept flood insurance policies issued by private insurers and plans offering flood coverage issued by mutual aid societies that do not meet the legal definition. “private flood insurance”, subject to certain restrictions.

The 24 proposed Q&A are “broadly applicable to lenders and supervised service providers” and provide clarification on three consolidated topics:

  • Compulsory acceptance of private flood insurance;
  • The circumstances under which discretionary acceptance or denial of private flood insurance is acceptable; and
  • Additional general compliance issues related to regulations implementing the Biggert-Waters Act.

Comments on the proposed questions and answers must be submitted no later than May 17, 2021. Instructions for submitting written comments are available here.

Housing market opens amid calls to extend stamp duty holidays – Forbes Advisor UK

The UK housing market will remain open during the lockdown, allowing property viewing to continue and people to move out. This is in stark contrast to the first foreclosure, which saw the market halt for seven weeks.

Realtors and other staff will continue to perform their jobs while adhering to coronavirus guidelines, such as wearing face coverings and social distancing.

Tomer Aboody of bridge loan specialist MT Finance said: “We believe that the market will not be disrupted as it was last year because the end is in sight, thanks to the roll-out of the vaccination program.

“This, together with the fact that appraisers and lawyers can still work and there is still access to properties, should boost confidence in the market as a whole. Borrowers, in turn, will feel more confident in completing their transactions. “

Government guidelines for the move remain the same, including:

  • Initial visits should be made virtually whenever possible
  • Members of the public visiting an agent’s office or touring property should wear appropriate face coverings, unless they are exempt from this requirement. This must be confirmed with the agent prior to arrival. Anyone with concerns should contact the agent prior to their visit to discuss appropriate action.
  • Visits must be organized by appointment only and “open house” visits must not take place. When visiting properties in person, you should avoid touching surfaces as much as possible, wash your hands regularly, and / or use hand sanitizer. If you must be with young children, you should try to prevent them from touching surfaces and make sure they wash their hands regularly.

Industry calls for extended stamp duty holiday

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in July last year that for residential properties in England and Northern Ireland buyers would not have to pay property tax (SDLT) on the first £ 500,000 of the purchase price until March 31, 2021.

In Wales and Scotland the first £ 250,000 of the transaction value is exempt from property tax until the same date.

However, there are fears that the end of the SDLT holiday will cause the housing market to decline after March, with some industry experts calling for an extension of the deadline.

Mr Aboody said: “What this lockdown means is that the stamp duty holiday will have to be extended, if not made permanent. The Chancellor must review the deadline, in light of this unexpected lockdown. stamp duty holiday should be either postponed or removed from the agenda for the time being, in order to avoid any further shutdown or disruption to the already struggling economy. “

David Hannah of real estate tax consultancy Cornerstone Tax suggests that more should be done to help first-time buyers access the real estate ladder and give more security to the housing market: or change the date of payment of taxes so that buyers can still enjoy the holidays even if they cannot complete before March 31.

“The most preferable option would be a phasing out of vacations, to prevent those who are currently buying their properties from essentially being thrown onto the edge of a cliff.”

Situation in Scotland

New foreclosure regulations in Scotland state that you should only leave your home for a reasonable excuse. This includes: “moving or undertaking activities relating to the maintenance, purchase, sale, rental or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for”.

Whenever possible, people, including those in the real estate industry, should be working from home until at least the end of January.

The market goes digital

Many real estate agents have stepped up or introduced innovative methods to carry out day-to-day operations to accommodate social distancing measures, such as live auctions and virtual viewings.

Utsav Goenka of VYOMM, a real estate portal for sellers, said: “There is no doubt that buyers and sellers want to do more digital and limit physical meetings to those that are essential. Unfortunately, most real estate agents have little to offer beyond virtual tours, which, while welcome, are only partially and occasionally useful.

“The industry needs a completely different level of clearance where sellers can appoint agents who can market and sell homes effectively, without requiring repeated physical exposure to each other. “

USDA Implements OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative

On August 31, the USDA announced the implementation of the agency’s OneRD guarantee loan initiative and released new information on rates and terms that will help lenders apply for loan guarantees to support rural businesses, community infrastructure and equipment.

The agency released a final rule on the initiative on July 13, noting that the program aims to facilitate lenders’ access to four guaranteed loan programs, including the Rural Energy for America program, the loan guarantee program for water and waste disposal, community facilities guaranteed. Loan Program and the Guaranteed Loan Program for Business and Industry.

The REAP program is particularly interesting for players in the biofuels and bioenergy industry. It provides loan guarantees and grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to improve energy efficiency. Solid biomass, biogas and biofuels projects are among the renewable energy systems eligible for the program.

As part of the OneRD Guarantee Loan initiative, the USDA said it is standardizing requirements for credit reviews, loan processing, loan services, and loss claims. The agency said these measures will make the application process simpler and faster for lenders. The changes include a common loan guarantee application and consistent forms that lenders can use across all four programs.

In July, the agency also said it plans to issue loan note guarantees to lenders within 48 hours of providing documentation proving that the requirements of the conditional commitment have been met. USDA will also provide percentage collateral and fee requirements to lenders through a single annual notice at the start of each fiscal year and allow lenders to obtain loan guarantee approval before projects start. of construction. The agency will also provide automatic approval to lenders in good standing who are overseen or created by state or federal regulators to participate in the four programs, while unregulated lenders can apply for approval to participate through a unique certification process that will be valid for five years.

In the announcement released Aug. 31, the USDA said it was providing guarantee percentages, annual fees, periodic retention fees, and optional construction fees before fiscal 2021 to help lenders apply for the four loan guarantee programs involved.

For the REAP program, the loan guarantee fee is set at 1%, the periodic guarantee retention fee is 0.25%, the loan guarantee percentage is 80% and the guarantee issuance fee loan before the completion of construction is 0.5%. The fees in the notice are effective October 1.

Additional information is available on the USDA website.

Shelby: Democrats attempt “blatant takeover to force federal electoral system”

US Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has strongly opposed S.1, which is the Senate Democrats’ version of HR 1.

The legislation, the so-called “Law for the People”, has been widely criticized by Republicans. The House recently passed HR 1 without a GOP vote and with bipartisan opposition; US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said this week he would not support the measure unless it receives bipartisan support.

On Wednesday, the Senate Rules Committee – of which Shelby is a member and former chairman – held a hearing on S.1. While the Senior Alabama Senator was unable to attend the meeting, Yellowhammer State native Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader was in attendance and asked questions.

Shelby issued a statement Thursday calling the legislation a “blatant takeover to impose a federalized electoral system across the country.”

“Not only would S.1 give unelected, ultra-liberal Washington bureaucrats the ability to control how Alabama conducts its elections, it would open the doors to fraud and have a devastating impact on our freedom of speech,” he continued. “In addition, S.1 would allow taxpayer money to be used for political campaigns. I vehemently oppose this bill and urge each of my colleagues in Congress to do the same. This legislation would have dangerous implications for the future of our democracy.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Digitization: new opportunity, old challenge for gender equality – Opinion

Jamshed M. Kazi, Maesy Angelina, Nila Marita

Jakarta ●
Wed, Mar 31, 2021

Digitization, Women, Gender Equality, Opportunity, Small Business, COVID-19, Recovery, Gojek, Stimulus
To free

Half of all micro and small enterprises (MSBs) in Indonesia are either owned by women or women play a key role in their operation. Including small traders, street vendors and others, these businesses form the backbone of Indonesia’s economy.

The ills of the pandemic, however, have resulted in declining incomes and the female MSB owners are disproportionately ill-equipped to cope. This highlights the need to support women owners of MSBs and in so doing contribute to the overall economic recovery of the country.

According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), MSB women are at the forefront of adopting digital tools to stay afloat during the pandemic. But what does it actually mean for them to use these tools to deal with challenges, such as limited income streams due to physical distancing measures?

UN Women and Pulse Lab Jakarta recently released a research report that investigates this issue, titled “Optimizing Digitization to Address COVID-19: An Indonesian Case Study of Women-Owned Micro and Small Businesses”.

Funded by the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund for COVID-19 Response and Recovery (MPTF COVID-19) and conducted in partnership with Gojek and with the support of the National Council for Financial Inclusion of Indonesia (S-DNKI ), research has found that using digital platforms to sell products and services helps women-owned MSBs in the food and beverage industry keep their businesses afloat and support themselves. of their families.

In addition, 82% of female MSB owners surveyed indicated that using digital solutions, such as GoBiz, Selly and MokaPOS, allowed flexible hours to better balance work and household responsibilities at a time when care work is crucial. .

Most importantly, the benefits of digitization are not felt equally by all ESM women. The analysis showed that digital tools were particularly useful if the company was less than a year old. Inequalities in infrastructure, digital skills, affordability and time availability also inhibit the ability of some women to adopt and navigate new digital tools.

As the Indonesian government will continue to focus on economic recovery in 2021, now is the time to create synergies between boosting economic growth and advancing gender equality. So what can we do to help female MSB owners take advantage of digital tools to keep the lights on at work and at home?

Filling the data gaps is one of the essential first steps to understanding the full impact of the pandemic, especially the gender dynamics within the MSB sector. Investing in sex-disaggregated data collection and gender analysis can better inform targeted policy interventions, including monitoring the implementation of social protection and stimulus programs.

For example, information from the data highlighted that women who had informal MSBs were the least likely to access benefits such as those provided through government programs, including the National Economic Recovery Program ( PEN) from Indonesia, the Keluarga Harapan (PKH) and Kredit Usaha Rakyat (KUR) program. This evidence can and should be used to tailor stimulus packages and ensure that effective measures are in place to support these groups of women entrepreneurs.

Second, women are more likely than men to be employed informally, and many depend on MSBs for their livelihoods. Cash transfers, fiscal stimulus packages, and working capital loans or credit guarantee programs for MSBs, including informal MSBs, can help them cope and revitalize the economy. Targeting female-owned MSBs, especially those operating informally, should be a key priority in the response to COVID-19 to ensure equal opportunities and accelerate economic recovery.

Third, tackling the unequal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work is key to removing barriers to women’s economic participation, especially in the context of the COVID-19 recovery. Digitization and the use of technology will be more useful if it can help entrepreneurs and / or MSBs to better balance their family and work responsibilities. The promotion of digital literacy among female MSB owners is also necessary to support this change.

Fourth, supporting women entrepreneurs will require a multi-stakeholder approach. Public policy must be complemented by actions resulting from intersectoral partnerships between the government, civil society organizations and the private sector. While 43% of new merchants who join GoFood are first-time business owners, technology or funding alone is not enough to help these young businesses thrive. Instead, a multidimensional approach including access to capacity building, markets and loans can have a more lasting and meaningful impact.

There is no single answer to the COVID-19 crisis, and therefore none of these four solutions is more important than the others. The different characteristics that define men and women entrepreneurs, from their gender and location to the size of their company and their level of formality, have motivated them to adopt different solutions to face the crisis.

The coping strategies deployed by Indonesian companies vary widely based on their different characteristics, which can be visualized by moving these seesaws.

Ultimately, these recommendations indicate a more inclusive strategy for the PEN program that should be based on gender-specific data and evidence, stronger targeting of female-owned MSBs, addressing inequality of unpaid care. and domestic responsibilities, and multisectoral partnerships to promote a strong and sustainable environment. economic recovery.


Jamshed M. Kazi is UN Women Representative in Indonesia, Maesy Angelina is Social Systems Manager at Pulse Lab Jakarta, Nila Marita is General Affairs Manager at Gojek.

Student loans weigh heavily on black and Latino borrowers in North Carolina | DFA 90.7

Está historia is available in Spanish in La Noticia

Reatna Taylor had big dreams of becoming a primary care physician when she entered Johnson C. Smith University. In 2015, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology. A partial scholarship covered most of her tuition, but she still had to take out $ 54,000 in student loans to cover all other expenses related to being a student.

Both of Taylor’s parents are from Panama. Because she was the first in her family to attend a four-year college, they didn’t understand how expensive it was going to be.

Reatna Taylor felt the brunt of her student loan debt. But she took advantage of the payment hiatus, allocating funds to be used for her family’s needs during the pandemic.

“I don’t think they understood how much college was either,” Taylor said, “because my mom set up a college fund for me and my brother, but maybe it was. be $ 2,400 when I graduated. “

Taylor continued his education at UNC-Chapel Hill, earning a master’s degree in public health. It cost him an additional $ 52,000 per year. By the time she graduated, she had accumulated $ 185,000 in student loan debt.

This was in part because she had paid tuition fees out of state and missed payments on previous loans. Because she had not consolidated them, her interest varied from lender to lender. This debt is part of the reason she put her dream of becoming a doctor on hold.

Taylor now works as a nutritionist for Mecklenburg County. She’s also a new mom currently on maternity leave, so she took advantage of the break on federal student loan payments to have more money to care for her family.

“It was like a huge relief not to have to think of, say, $ 1,500 more to go somewhere that could pay for other things we need,” she said.

The Department of Education suspended payments and interest on federal student loans at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Borrowers do not need to register and will not be penalized if they miss payments. The recess was scheduled to end on January 31, but shortly after taking office, President Biden extended the deadline to September 30.

There is $ 1.5 trillion in student debt nationwide. North Carolina borrowers alone owe $ 44 billion, according to Rochelle Sparko, North Carolina policy director at the Center for Responsible Lending.

Sparko says North Carolina mirrors what’s happening in the United States, with black and Latino students borrowing at higher rates. Ninety percent of black students and 72% of Latino students nationwide take out student loans, compared to 66% of white students. Sparko says it’s because they tend to lack generational wealth to help pay for school.

“Due to the lack of intergenerational wealth, black borrowers start their careers at a disadvantage, tending to take on more debt,” Sparko said. “They face lower incomes than their white counterparts in the workforce, and therefore, their ability to repay their student loan debt may also be affected by institutionalized racism.”

In fact, the Student Borrower Protection Center, a consumer advocacy group, analyzed zip codes in major US cities and found that the median income of white households is at least 10 times greater than the median income of black and Latino households. , which makes white students more likely to receive help from their families to pay for school.

Once it’s time to pay off their loans, black and Latino borrowers have a harder time keeping up with their payments, especially if they live in communities of color. Black and Latino borrowers who live in predominantly black and / or Latino communities are five times more likely to default on their loans. Sparko says it may prevent them from getting a house, a car and even more business loans.

“In the case, for example, of P3 loans, which were intended for small businesses during the pandemic, if you had a student loan that you missed payments for, you might not have been eligible to get a loan to keep your business afloat, ”she said. noted.

This downward spiral is what Joshira Maduro worked hard to avoid. For eight years, she lived with her parents, on a tight budget, paying off her $ 132,000 in student debt.

Joshira Maduro 1.jpeg

Joshira Maduro graduated from Lehigh University with $ 132,000 in student loans. Today she paid almost $ 120,000.

Maduro graduated from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania with a degree in finance and marketing. She is the first in her family to attend a four-year college in the United States. Her mother is from Curaçao in the Caribbean and her father is from the Netherlands. He went to school abroad, where higher education was not as expensive. So when Maduro finished high school, she and her parents had no idea how to pay for college.

“His colleagues had children who were going to law school with $ 200,000 in debt,” Maduro said of his father. “And so to him he was like, ‘Okay, well, if you have to take a loan of $ 100,000, that just seems natural. You take six figures off the debt, as if that wasn’t uncommon.

Tuition at Lehigh was almost as high as at Harvard – nearly $ 55,000 a year in 2020 – but she fell in love with the campus after visiting while in high school. One of the reasons student debt is so high among black and Latino borrowers is a lack of financial literacy, experts say. Maduro says his family didn’t know federal loans were an option, so his father told him to take out a loan from a bank. With private loans, she was unable to take advantage of the pandemic payment freeze.

However, after eight years, she has paid off almost $ 120,000 of her student loans, increasing her payments from $ 1,300 per month to $ 500.

“Now I have a payment that doesn’t seem so emotionally draining to me every month,” Maduro said. “It still hurts to have so much money in debt for education that happened eight years ago, but it certainly doesn’t seem as emotionally intense.”

Although Maduro majored in finance, his loan customer service agents were some of his best teachers.

“I knew some of them by first name because eventually I would call around the same time and get them and they would say, ‘Oh, that’s a great question, actually. Here is what you can do, ”she said.

She took everything she learned and made a career out of it. Maduro now works at Lending Tree, helping others manage their credit card debt and personal finances. She says she makes a point of telling her clients that once they can reduce their debt to a point, they need to start investing in their future again.

Because making those personal investments will help them in the long run.

Additional resources for those who need help

GreenPath provides tips for managing your debt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers information on how to take out a loan and advice on repaying it.

Calculate your payment options with the Federal Student Aid simulator.

Dhanbad fitness industry calls on government to change second shutdown order

Authorization sought to operate with 50% capacity

Our correspondent



Posted 07.04.21, 20:20

Gym owners and fitness trainers on Wednesday called for the relaxation of the state’s decision to close all fitness centers due to the increase in Covid cases.

The protesters led by the president of the Dhanbad Gymnasium Owners Association, Gautam Tiwari, handed a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Dhanbad informing him of the financial difficulties they were facing during the pandemic and thus called for changes to the ordinance concerning the closing of gymnasiums. They requested authorization to operate gymnasiums with a capacity of 50%, in accordance with the authorization given to restaurants.

Tiwari said: “We are the worst victims of the pandemic and the resulting restrictions, as we were the last sector to be allowed to reopen, but the government first reimposed the restriction on us.”

“The financial situation of the majority of gym owners has become precarious, as many of those who have purchased their equipment by taking loans from banks or finance companies do not pay IMEs and risk losing their equipment,” he said. Tiwari said.

“A lot of others haven’t even been able to pay the rent in the past eight months,” he said.

Sonali Roy, manager of a women’s gymnasium in Katras, said: “We cannot understand the reason for the mother-in-law treatment for us when hotels, restaurants, markets etc. are open. “

“On the one hand, there are no restrictions in the places where the elections are held and on the other hand, all the restrictions are applied to those people who are ready to follow the standards,” she said. declared.

“The shutdown, in addition to affecting operators like us, is also affecting the livelihoods of a large number of people associated with us, such as coaches, sweepers, peons, security guards etc.” said Roshan Gupta, a Jharia-based fitness expert.

Lawyer for man convicted of murdering Michael Jordan’s father claims he has new evidence that could set him free – WWLP

Boston Preliminary Election

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MA state officials. struggle to block vaccine checks in state buildings, schools

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Online training, outdoor training among the top fitness trends for 2021

All over the world, people have had to deal with many new fitness challenges brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Closed gyms, working from home, and generally more stationary lifestyles have become commonplace. From a mental perspective, 2020 has seen an unprecedented acceleration in awareness of the impact of physical exercise on well-being.

Every year since 2007, ACSM – American College of Sports Medicine publishes the results of the ‘Global Fitness Trends Survey’, a comprehensive review that involves thousands of fitness and wellness professionals from around the world, including experts such as personal trainers, body physiologists ‘exercise, health professionals and gym club owners.

The final report aims to monitor, assess, predict and introduce new trends in fitness that impact the evolution of the industry itself, according to a press release.

Here’s a look at the fitness trends that are expected to continue in 2021.

  • Online training
  • Wearable Technologies – Fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and smartwatches.
  • Bodyweight training
  • Outdoor training
  • High Intensity Interval Training – high intensity exercise followed by medium to low intensity breaks.
  • Exercise is medicine – health care initiative that aims to encourage primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of each patient visit and refer their patients to exercise professionals.
  • Virtual training
  • Strength training with free weights
  • Fitness programs for seniors
  • Personal training

Autochek Launches Africa’s First Online Truck Lending Marketplace

By Bennett Oghifo

Autochek, a company focused on automotive technology, has announced the launch of its online truck lending marketplace in Nigeria and Ghana.

This is about migrating the trucking industry to online transactions and increasing financing penetration, according to a statement from the company which said it aims to create solutions for the African market.

This good news allows the company to offer the same services to trucks as to cars already registered on its platform. Autochek’s 360 degree solution provides truck financing through financial partners with core expertise in financing fleets such as Baobab Group and FundQuest Nigeria, spread across Africa and at competitive rates .

Described as the first truck loan market of its kind in Africa, the launch follows Autochek’s recent expansion into Ghana, one of Africa’s most advanced auto markets.

With hundreds of truck dealers across Nigeria and Ghana on its platform, the fleet includes flatbeds, semi-trailers, tankers as well as heavy, garbage and panel trucks. As part of the rollout, Autochek is partnering with key logistics players in Nigeria and Ghana, including Kobo360, to fund trucks for electronic logistics carriers and African truck owners.

This means that customers interested in owning a truck can do so with financing at the best rates.

The new platform is available through the Android app or the Autochek website and all trucks go through a 150-point screening inspection process before being listed to guide customers on the exact condition of the trucks.

To ensure trucks are kept on the road in good condition, truck owners also benefit from affordable and expert maintenance services from standardized workshops and technicians from the Autochek partner network.

John Egwu, Autochek vice president of operations, said: “Autochek’s goal has always been to transform the auto business on the continent. Now is the time for us to extend our services to trucks, as we expand our network and support our partners by providing them with a structured market for the purchase and maintenance of their fleet.

According to Egwu, “Financing penetration for trucks is less than 1% in Africa and our ambition is to migrate what is known to be a basic offline market to a digital platform, in order to increase the penetration of the market. financing and create a one-stop shop. this will not only meet the needs of partners, but will also increase earning capacity and job creation along the value chain.

Launched in 2020 by Etop Ikpe, serial entrepreneur and Chairman / CEO and supported by TLcom Capital, 4DX Ventures, the thriving automotive online marketplace combines technology and data to improve the buying and selling experience for African consumers , by creating a single market for all automotive needs.

To date, the Autochek application already has 20,000 unique vehicles listed on its platform, and more than 12,000 dealers and private sellers as well as a range of partners and professional customers.

Autochek is an automotive technology company created to create digital solutions aimed at improving and enabling automotive trade across Africa.

The company aims to transform the automotive buying and selling experience of African consumers with its digital applications and solutions.


By Bennett Oghifo

It’s not uncommon for people to mix or use the wrong fluids in their cars, and if they do, the results can range from irritating to fatal. Consumer Reports describes the potential damage you can cause to yourself or your car in an article published in the November issue.

“Adding antifreeze to the washer fluid reservoir could just create a slimy mess,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ automatic test center in East Haddam, Connecticut. “But a UK health study found that filling the tank with just water creates good breeding ground for the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease.

Consumers should consult their owner’s manual before filling fluids under the hood of their cars, Champion said. People should check with a mechanic, or even people behind the counter at the local auto parts store, if they have any doubts.

The story appears in the November issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale October 5. It is also available to subscribers of Updated daily, is the go-to site for the latest auto reviews, product news, breaking news blogs, and car buying information.

Here is what else could happen if you use the wrong fluids:

1. Lack of engine oil. The brand of engine oil does not matter, but its viscosity grade (10W-30, for example) is important. Use only what the owner’s manual specifies. Using the wrong oil can result in reduced lubrication and shorter engine life. If the manual says to use synthetic oil, then do so. Contrary to what some believe, adding synthetic oil to regular oil will not damage the engine, but there is also no benefit to doing so.

2. Battery fluid. Some car batteries have single accessible cells that may need to be replenished with a little water to cover the lead plates. Use only distilled water, which does not contain salts or minerals. If tap water is added to a battery’s liquid electrolyte, it can allow minerals in the water to build up on the battery’s internal lead plates, which will reduce battery power. and shorten its lifespan.

3. Be cool with the water. A car’s cooling system uses a mixture of water and antifreeze; properly called coolant, at concentrations (typically 50/50) designed to prevent it from freezing in cold weather and boiling in hot weather. Adding too much water to the mixture can make it more susceptible to freezing and boiling. It can prevent the car from starting when it is freezing and cause overheating in hot weather. Tap water can also lead to a build-up of minerals in the cooling system, reducing its efficiency.

4. Adding diesel fuel to the tank of a gasoline car. This will cause the engine to trip and knock, if it is running. Fortunately, diesel pumps have oversized nozzles, so this mistake is hard to make. Depending on the amount of gasoline added to a diesel vehicle’s tank, it could do little harm or damage the fuel pump, injectors and other parts. If the confusion is detected early enough, a technician can limit the damage by draining the contaminated fuel. During this time, do not run the engine.

5. Special sauce for your brakes. Brake systems use hydraulic fluid specially formulated for this purpose. Replacing the transmission or power steering fluid, which are similar to each other, can affect the seals, damage the system, and possibly cause brake failure. Note that if the brake fluid level is low, your vehicle probably needs brake system service anyway. Either the brakes are worn or there is a leak.

6. Gears stuck. Automatic transmissions should only use the fluid specified by the automaker, such as the Dexron series from General Motors or the Type T from Toyota. Using the wrong fluid can lead to poor lubrication, overheating, and possibly transmission failure. A mechanic might not be able to reverse the damage, even flushing the transmission. Adding engine oil or brake fluid by mistake can destroy your transmission as well.

7. No-nos windshield washer fluid. Besides creating the perfect environment for deadly bacteria, water doesn’t clean as well as washer fluid and is prone to freezing. Using household glass cleaners or ammonia can leave foam on the windshield, damage a car’s finish, enter the air intake system, and create a potentially harmful environment in the car. passenger compartment. (Source: Noria newswire)

UK launches £ 75 billion Covid recovery loan scheme: CityAM

Starting today, businesses will be able to apply for new government-backed Covid-19 ‘recovery loans‘ through a £ 75 billion scheme.

The new loan scheme will allow businesses to apply for loans between £ 25,001 and £ 10million, with the government assuming 80% of the default risk on each loan.

The new loan program, announced by Rishi Sunak in his budget last month, comes as England prepares to reopen much of its economy on April 12.

Non-essential retail businesses, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality will all be allowed to reopen next Monday.

Open-air hospitality, theaters, cinemas and museums will be allowed to reopen on May 17.

“As we safely reopen parts of our economy, our new stimulus loan program will ensure that businesses continue to have access to the finance they need as we emerge from this crisis,” Sunak said.

The loan scheme comes with new grants of £ 18,000 for businesses hit by the latest nationwide foreclosure.

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, said: “This is vital support that remains as restrictions ease and demand returns to normal, allowing businesses to recover, save jobs. and support the reopening. “

Has the Paycheque Protection Program Helped Small Businesses? (Point of view)

As the head of the Small Business Administration that oversaw the Paycheck Protection Program, I’m often asked, “Has PPP really worked?” “

The PPP was a response to state and local governments imposing shutdowns as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. The premise was: Encourage lenders to provide small businesses and nonprofits with SBA-guaranteed forgivable loans over an eight-week period as a payroll support measure. This financial support for small businesses was designed to help prevent mass unemployment while Americans were confined to their homes.

The PPP was initially funded for $ 349 billion. Talk about distortion speed – SBA and PPP lenders processed 14 years of SBA loans in less than two weeks and over $ 500 billion in less than a month. Congress authorized more P3 funds in April, December and most recently in March. The program continues to enjoy broad bipartisan support, as evidenced by the recent 415-3 House vote to extend the program for a few more months. The Senate is preparing to approve the same extension in the coming days.

But has the paycheck protection program kept its promise? Evidence shows he did – and in more ways than most realize.

As the economy shut down a year ago, there were dire warnings of unemployment rates exceeding 20%, maybe even 30%. Data from the Ministry of Labor from March 2020 to April 2020 shows that unemployment rose rapidly from 4.4% to a peak of 14.8% in the COVID era before gradually declining over the following months.

Fortunately, the worst-case scenario never happened. A Herculean effort by Congress and the Trump administration allowed dozens of small business workers to preserve both their jobs and their health.

Any lucid assessment of these efforts would recognize that the program was not perfect, like no government program that had to be in place in less than a week and distribute more than $ 700 billion could be. However, recent academic studies have suggested that the program is ineffective, if not unnecessary. However, much of this snapshot analysis has only focused on the past year.

Here’s another scenario to consider: As noted above, DOL data reveals that PPP and other measures have stemmed the economic free fall. Economists and other experts have not reflected on how these programs have prevented longer-term “deaths of despair”. Such horrific events have many contributing factors, but too often job loss and economic dislocation are the trigger.

Some studies suggest that the opioid epidemic accelerated in the wake of the Great Recession. Humans naturally understand how economic hardship can lead to desperation: a person loses their job as well as their employer-funded health care, then ends up getting injured or ill, is unable to access proper care, and ultimately becomes fatal opioid addict in just a few minutes. short years.

The true value and lasting legacy of PPPs and other COVID relief programs will lie in their mitigation of economic and human tolls over time.

It will only become clearer over time that the Paycheck Protection Program has averted mass unemployment and restored calm to labor and small business markets while balancing the need for nationwide social distancing. . These measures avoided a death toll with a longer tail that could have amounted to millions more deaths over several years.

The little agency that could at SBA has done a lot of good under historically horrific circumstances, so that heroic small business engineers can continue to keep America on track.

Bill Briggs most recently served as Acting Associate Director for the SBA Capital Access Office. He oversaw the launch of the current cycle of the Paycheck Protection Program and served as the liaison between the SBA and financial institutions.

Springfield pushes for passage of house rules bill to allow impoundment and confiscation of off-road motorcycles

SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers introduced a new autonomy bill that, if passed, would allow the city to step up efforts to remove all-terrain motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles from city streets in order to protect public safety.

The bill was introduced last year but expired without adoption at the end of the year.

State Representative Orlando Ramos, D-Springfield, introduced the bill, and he was also supported by State Representative Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield. Gonzalez is chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno praised the two lawmakers and the new bill, saying the city is already witnessing illegal and sometimes dangerous activities with bicycles and vehicles as warmer weather approaches.

The bill, which allows police to impound such vehicles, is needed “to quell the lawlessness and disrespect shown by the illegal group of off-road motorcycle marauders who terrorize our downtown streets.” city ​​and neighborhood ”.

The bill was approved in 2019 by Sarno and the city council, and must now be approved by the Legislative Assembly and Governor Charlie Baker. As a self-reliance bill, it only affects Springfield.

The bill would allow police to impound off-road motorcycles and off-road vehicles, and allow the city to request a Superior Court hearing to seek confiscation of the vehicle.

Council and the mayor approved a city ordinance in 2019 that allows police to issue a $ 300 ticket for those caught driving off-road motorcycles and other recreational vehicles on the streets and sidewalks of in the city and in parks.

“These illegal bikers are not only putting their own lives at risk, but the lives of others on the road,” Ramos said in a prepared statement. “We need to do everything we can to get these illegal vehicles off our streets before more people are injured. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to get this self-reliance petition passed.

Gonzalez joined the call for the passage.

“This is a public safety and quality of life issue and I will continue to work with my state and local government colleagues to impose appropriate legislation,” Gonzalez said.

Top Rookies: Armorion Smith is an ‘alpha male’ in River Rouge title defense

MLive spends the spring checking out Michigan’s top 2021 football rookies. Each weekday, MLive will feature a new athlete and receive updates on their recruiting, goals and more. Today, the safety of River Rouge Armorion Smith is in the spotlight.


Height: 6 feet 2 inches

Weight: 190

Position: Security

Year: 2021

Rated: # 23 on MLive Top 50; 3 stars by 24/7 Sports

Commitment: Cincinnati

Offers: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Iowa State, Liberty, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Syracuse, Temple, Toledo, Western Illinois, Western Michigan

River Rouge’s Ronnie Smith (21), left, and Armorion Smith (7) mourn together, delighted in the dying minutes as time runs out during the Division 3 championship soccer game against Muskegon on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Ford Field in Detroit. River Rouge defeated Muskegon 30-7. “Nobody chose us to be here. Nobody,” Smith said. “We did it. It’s up to us.” (Jake May | May |

RED RIVER, MI – River Rouge moves Armorion Smith from one location to another.

But this is not to hide it.

It’s about highlighting the sheer amount of talent he brings to a wide range of defense challenges.

“He’s an explosive player,” said River Rouge coach Corey Parker. “We had him play three different positions on the pitch. If you asked him what position he was playing in, he would probably just say “Defense” because we move him all over the place. “

Whether he’s lined up for cover, running through high school, or right in the middle of the field, Smith is a threat to deliver great defensive play with every snap of the ball for the reigning Division 3 state champions.

With a versatile skill set and a 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame, Smith is a higher level player. And he announced on April 17 that his next level would come to the University of Cincinnati.

Its time to lead

Smith played a pivotal role in running the state championship last fall, but the Panthers are counting on him to take on even more responsibility as a senior.

He is called in as a captain, a leadership role that he should have no difficulty in accepting.

“He’s the dominant male,” Parker said. “If it was a pack of wolves, he would like to be the toughest. He’s an extraordinary guy. He won’t leave anyone behind. “

Smith said he didn’t want it any other way. He takes his leadership role to heart on the field, in the study room and in the weight room.

“I’m not forcing it, but it’s a good feeling to know that people depend on you,” he said. “I like to lead the way and help everyone be better.

“As a defensive captain, I have to play a leading role so that the defense can follow me. I have to do everything right for them to do everything right.

Armorion Blacksmith

Armorion Smith is a hybrid defense player for River Rouge. (Courtesy of Dylan Odner)

Wherever he can roam

In the field, Smith’s responsibilities are deep and constantly evolving.

Depending on the situation, River Rouge’s braintrust bounces Smith from the corner to safety to the linebacker and sometimes lines him up on the edge. He has shown his ability to handle anything, with a combination of strength and speed and the football sense to adapt to whatever is thrown at him.

“I consider myself to be a hybrid player,” he said. “I just play the game and focus on that call no matter where I play.

“It’s fun (lining up in different positions) and I have the ability to do it. I don’t struggle when I move. I can do all of this and I love to do it.

As a result, Smith’s flagship reel is an array of slaps, quarterback sacks, and hits.

“He’s one of those guys you never know what’s going to happen when he’s on the pitch,” Parker said.

Armorion Blacksmith

Armorion Smith celebrates a game in the state final for River Rouge. (Courtesy of Dylan Odner)

Look of a champion

At a school known for its 14 State Boys Basketball Championships, the Panthers were hungry to put their football team on the map. After reaching the semi-finals for the fourth time in five years, they were able to reach the top with the program’s first crown.

And they did so by completely dominating Muskegon – the state’s No.1 ranked team led by State No.1 ranked player Cameron Martinez – for a stunning 30-7 victory.

“It was good to be the first in history,” Smith said. “We were there to make a statement. We were the underdog and we wanted to prove everyone wrong. This is what we have been doing all season.

Smith recorded four solo tackles on the big Ford Field stage, but more importantly, did his part to keep Martinez bottled. After Muskegon scored the first touchdown of the game, River Rouge’s defense was unbreakable the rest of the way.

“Everyone was so excited we couldn’t wait to get on the pitch,” said Smith. “It was taking (the previous team) so long to get their trophies, and we couldn’t wait. Then we came out too excited, and that’s why we got penalties and why they scored.

“We had to calm down as a team and get there. Once we did, they never scored again.

First of all

Smith was offered by virtually every mid-American conference school – as well as Michigan State University under then-coach Mark Dantonio – but settled on Cincinnati. He made his announcement on Twitter on April 17.

“It’s not too far and it’s not too close,” he said.

Smith said he had a good relationship with the Cincinnati coaching staff, liked the way he fit into the Bearcats’ defensive style and believed he might have a shot at make an impact as a rookie. But he doesn’t want to discuss his college future yet.

His senior season and state title defense command his attention for now.

“It’s at the top of the list,” he said. “We can’t let anyone take that away from us.

“We have a lot of guys coming back and we can’t wait to get back on the pitch and get down to business. “

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Dream Teamer and his team won’t have to wait any longer for a high-level challenge. River Rouge opens the 2020 season on August 28 against Division 2 State Champion Muskegon Mona Shores in the Kickoff Classic at Wayne State University.


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Almost half of restructured bank loans

By Christine Kasemiire

Financial institutions have restructured nearly half of their loan portfolios, signaling the devastating effect of Covid-19 on the economy.

Bank of Uganda research director Dr Adam Mugume told Daily Monitor that in January banks restructured almost half of their loans, which represented 46% of the total loan portfolio in the banking sector.

This is an increase from the 40.5% recorded in September, which translated into Shs 6,700 billion in restructured loans.

However, according to a Stanbic Bank banking sector market report, in December 2020, restructured loans amounted to Shs.7.7 trillion, or 44.6% of gross loans in the sector. At least Shs 764.5 billion worth of loans among those that had been restructured were in arrears at that time.

The Central Bank last year asked financial institutions to restructure loans to customers on a discretionary basis in order to protect the economy from the effects of Covid-19.

The credit relief period, which was scheduled to end in April, was extended by the Bank of Uganda for a further six months from April 1.


Ms Anne Juuko, managing director of Stanbic Bank, said the central bank’s credit relief measures had helped moderate the rise in non-performing loans. The increase in non-performing loans affects the quality of banks’ assets, which in turn has an impact on the economy.

Stanbic CFO Sam Mwogeza revealed that these pending major restructurings, especially in education and tourism, were due to the fact that they were still on lockdown, noting that while the quality of banks’ assets was ‘had deteriorated before Covid-19, it was getting worse now. .

The ratio of non-performing loans rose to 5.3% in December from 5.1% in September.
However, Juuko said there was hope as the number of restructured loans began to decline due to the resumption of economic activities.

“For the first time, 40% of the total outstanding bank debt was being restructured. Now I’m happy to report that these numbers are getting better and better. With each wave of restructuring, we see a smaller restructured amount, which indicates that companies are recovering and are able to meet their loan obligations, ”she said.

Ms Juuko, who was speaking before Stanbic’s financial results were released, also predicted that the quality of banks’ assets will continue to weigh on the industry for about three years and will determine the performance of the financial institution.

Lost interest
Before releasing the bank’s results for the fiscal year ended December 2020, Stanbic, Mr Mwogeza said he waived Shs26b in interest payments due to an 18% average prime rate cut to 16.6%.
In 2020, the Bank of Uganda maintained a low lending rate of 7% and asked commercial banks to respond by reducing the prime rate.

The move is intended to stimulate an increase in the use of credit in the private sector which had fallen during the lockdown period.
Stanbic believes Uganda’s economic recovery will be driven by the oil and gas sector, among other factors.

[email protected]

Japanese man who came to Gurugram for work was cheated of Rs 1.8 crore | News from Gurgaon

GURUGRAM: A Japanese national filed a complaint with the police alleging that he was cheated for 1.8 crore rupees by a woman who befriended him and took out small loans under the guise of or another.
Takanori Takeda, who had moved to the city on a work visa in 2019, met Asang Chang in October of the same year. Chang, he alleged, identified herself as the manager and co-owner of a karaoke bar in the city. She allegedly told him that she was from Nagaland but that she was born and raised in Bengaluru.

Over time, Chang developed a close bond with Takeda and introduced him to his sister. They also played golf together at the TERI Golf Club. “She said she would take care of me while I was in India and help me in any way she could,” Takeda said in her complaint.
In early 2020, Takeda traveled to Japan, but returned to India in March. A few days later, Chang reportedly emailed him asking for a loan of Rs 7.5 lakh. She told him that the money was needed to receive a package from the United States that had been lying around for a long time at Bengaluru airport.
“She invited me to her apartment to explain why she needed the money. Her younger sister and brother were also present and said they were students. She asked for Rs. 7.5 lakh and told me that she had to pay a remittance fee for an international package. The package had been sent by his cousin from the United States and it contained diamonds, gold and some documents, ”Takeda told police.
Chang reportedly told Takeda that the package was extremely important to her. Although a little hesitant, Takeda transferred Rs 5.5 lakh to her bank account. Chang told her that she would return the money once her cousin from the United States, who worked in Turkey, sent her 50 crore rupees in a few months.
In an attempt to make Takeda believe that Chang’s relationship with her cousin was indeed true, she allegedly asked someone to pose as a senior RBI official and send her messages.
“She also showed me documents indicating that the amount she would now receive was over Rs 8 crore,” said the complainant.
Chang allegedly showed Takeda a few other papers and begged him to ask for more money to have the package released from Bengaluru airport. One such document, which mentioned the Union Finance Ministry, stated that Chang was to deposit another Rs. 12.2 lakh. Between March and July of last year, Chang allegedly made Takeda pay off several of these loans, each time assuring the Japanese national that she would return the money once she got the funds from her cousin.
“I believed that the story projected before me by Ms. Asang and the documents she showed were correct and in friendly faith loaned her a huge sum of money to the tune of Rs 1.85 crore,” wrote Takeda in his complaint.
Takeda said he fell into depression after learning he had been cheated and was unable to approach police during the lockdown. He eventually lodged a written complaint with the Police Commissioner, as a result of which a case was registered under sections 406 and 420 of the IPC, explaining a sanction for breach of trust and cheating and dishonest incitement to delivery of goods.
A senior police officer said, “We have registered a case in this matter and an investigation is ongoing. ”

Santa Rosa approves $ 38 million loans for affordable housing

The Santa Rosa Housing Authority has approved the use of approximately $ 38 million in federal disaster relief funds to build hundreds of new affordable homes over the next few years.

On Monday afternoon, a shorthanded housing authority voted the loan of $ 38,353,107 to developers of five projects in Santa Rosa that initially offer the pledge of 377 combined units, almost all of which are reserved for low-income residents.

The top prize, notable both for its circumstances and for its size, went to the first phase of the 3575 Mendocino Avenue project, which, when fully constructed, provides for 532 homes on the site of the former Journey’s mobile home park. End. Linda Adrian, a former park resident and staunch supporter of the redevelopment effort, praised the $ 11.9 million price tag for the project, which would create 370 apartments at market rates as well as 162 units in an affordable development to replace the 160 Journey’s End homes, most of which were destroyed in the Tubbs fire in 2017.

“At the moment, I still live in a temporary apartment of only 320 square feet, and I was waiting for this – for Journey’s End to be rebuilt so that I can go back there,” said Adrian, who had lived at the park for 25 years.

The funds represent a bittersweet boon to a city in desperate need of additional affordable housing. While the money offers a rare chance to spur several large projects simultaneously, Santa Rosa would not have had access to the funds had it not been for the massive Tubbs fire disaster.

The city received money last year through state officials from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development because of the damage inflicted on Santa Rosa by the Tubbs fire, which exacerbated the current shortage of affordable housing by destroying more than 3,000 homes across the city. The city officially opened the fundraising process in November, less than a month after reaching an agreement with state officials to release the money.

The city received 17 applications, four of which were deemed incomplete. Two were subsequently withdrawn. The remaining 11 claims, representing claims of around $ 80.3 million – more than double what the city had to offer – were reviewed by a panel of two Housing Authority members, Vice President Diane Test. and Commissioner Steve Burke, and two members of the town. Council, John Sawyer and Tom Schwedhelm, guided by city staff.

Their unanimous recommendations went in support of five projects, three of which are supported at least in part by Burbank Housing, the affordable housing developer based in Santa Rosa. According to city documents, the projects, along with their loan amounts, total costs, number of units and estimated month of construction completion, are:

  • The first phase of 3575 avenue Mendocino; Loan of $ 11.9 million; Development cost of $ 56.7 million; 94 units; March 2023.
  • The Railroad Square Cannery; $ 10.3 million; $ 86.8 million in development costs; 129 units; June 2023.
  • The first phase of Caritas Homes; Loan of $ 8.9 million; Development cost of $ 39.8 million; 64 units; December 2022.
  • Burbank Avenue Apartments; $ 5 million loan; Development cost of $ 38 million; 64 units; July 2023.
  • Senior Linda Tunis Apartments; Loan of $ 2.1 million; A development cost of 9.4 million dollars; 26 units; March 2022.

The loans include affordability guarantees for 55 years from the date of original occupancy and annual interest rates of 3% deferred for the same term, according to city documents.

Burbank Housing is a development partner in the 3575 Mendocino, Caritas Homes and Burbank Avenue Apartments projects. The Cannery Project was presented by the John Stewart Company, and the Linda Tunis Project – named after a former Journey’s End resident who perished in the Tubbs fire – is supported by Petaluma Ecumenical Properties, or PEP Housing.

“This is actually a major step forward in reducing the housing units that are needed and in demand, especially affordable units, for the city of Santa Rosa,” said Efren Carrillo, director of housing development and development. government affairs for Burbank Housing.

The two non-Burbank housing projects have both agreed to reduce the amount of loans they requested from the Housing Authority, according to city staff. There was no indication that the three Burbank Housing projects had to do this.

The Housing Authority usually has seven members, including two tenants’ commissioners. However, at its Monday meeting, the administration did not have the two tenant positions, two of its current five commissioners were serving expired terms and one had to recuse himself to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

All units except one for each project, for a total of 372 units, are limited to some extent to income. The other five units are unrestricted and are intended to accommodate on-site project managers.

The pre-award review took into account the projects’ ability to obtain planning approval and other committed funding sources, conduct environmental reviews, total costs per unit, and start dates and construction completion, said Nicole Rathbun, the city’s housing program specialist.

“We really focused on preparing for the project and we wanted to get these units into the community as quickly as possible,” Rathbun said.

You can contact editor Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or [email protected] On Twitter @wsreports.

Editor’s Note: Efren Carrillo was misidentified in an earlier version of this article.

Illinois AG, member of a coalition calling for more aid for student borrowers

CHICAGO (WREX) – A group of attorneys general across the country, including Illinois, is calling on the federal government to provide more relief to student borrowers.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 23 attorneys general, today wrote to U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona urging him to adopt reforms to facilitate the process of education. repaying student loans and preventing student borrowers from repaying their debts. for-profit and missing colleges.

In the letterRaoul and Attorneys General are urging Secretary Cardona to consider several actions that could help student borrowers, including:

  • Continue the policy of suspending student loan payments and waiving interest for as long as necessary to support distressed borrowers.
  • Continue the policy of suspending involuntary collection activities and allowing suspended payments to count for both utility loan forgiveness and income repayment scheme (IDR) remission.
  • Enact reforms to allow student loan borrowers to access and stay in the IDR plans to which they are entitled, allowing borrowers to have more affordable monthly payments, avoid the severe consequences of default and to obtain the cancellation of the loan if necessary.
  • Enforcement of the higher education law’s paid employment requirement, which would protect borrowers from for-profit programs that do not prepare students for a career.

“For millions of student loan borrowers, the struggle to repay loans has been exacerbated by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these borrowers need relief,” said Raoul. “I encourage the US Department of Education to support borrowers by enacting reforms that will help them repay their loans and avoid defaults.”

Attorney General Raoul is also working with Illinois lawmakers to pass legislation to protect student borrowers and those considering taking out student loans.

Raoul Know Before You Owe’s legislation was passed by an Illinois House of Representatives committee earlier this month and will ensure student borrowers have information about their eligibility for federal aid before they go. turn to more expensive private loans.

The measure is also pending in the Illinois Senate.

Additionally, an Illinois House committee recently passed Raoul’s legislation to protect student borrowers from student debt relief companies, or SLDRs.

SLDRs often prey on student loan borrowers by charging high fees for services they cannot provide, such as loan forgiveness and cancellation. Borrowers can apply for these benefits free of charge from the federal government or their loan manager.

Student borrowers who have questions or need assistance can call the Attorney General’s Student Loans Helpline at 1-800-455-2456. Borrowers can also file complaints on Attorney General’s website.

Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey , New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon join Raoul. , Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

You can read the full letter below.


Halloween party causes COVID ‘cluster’ at Westwood High School, prompting district to switch to distance learning

Westwood school officials cited an unmasked indoor Halloween party as the source of a high school COVID-19 cluster that caused at least five positive cases of the coronavirus.

Westwood Superintendent Emily Parks and Westwood High School Principal Amy Davenport said on Sunday that Westwood’s Director of Public Health, the school doctor and the COVID-19 medical advisory team recommended to unanimity that the high school is switching to distance education this week as a result of the cluster. .

Two positive tests of first-year high school students on Sunday prompted school officials to move. The two new cases bring the total to five last week in high school.

School officials said the switch to distance learning would give them time to complete contact tracing, receive close contact test results and “hopefully shut down the cluster.”

On Sunday, contact tracers at Westwood identified around 20 students considered close contacts of those who tested positive. They will be quarantined for at least 14 days.

School officials said during the contact tracing, “There were inconsistencies in reporting and varying levels of cooperation with the contact tracing process.

“We strongly recommend that parents have frank and honest conversations with their children about their social behavior over the past week, including attending indoor gatherings and socializing without following other measures. required safety, such as wearing masks, ”a letter to families from Westwood High School said. “If you have reason to believe your child has engaged in these behaviors, our Westwood Public Health Director recommends that you contact your child’s doctor and get them tested for COVID-19.”

The district contacted DESE for support from the state mobile testing unit. School officials said the unit may be able to provide free tests to a limited number of students and staff this week.

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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.

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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.

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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.

If you decide to trade Manhattan Bridge Capital, use the cheapest platform * ranked # 1 overall by Barron’s, Interactive brokers. Trade stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds in 135 markets, all from one integrated account.

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.
*Interactive Brokers ranked Least Expensive Broker by Annual Online Review 2020

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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.

Instead of applying for more credit cards, open one, and apply for a small loan like this. Then pay this new loan off each month. This is another way to save money and will help your credit score as well.

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.