Finance Debt – Artists Studio Sun, 24 Apr 2022 23:21:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Finance Debt – Artists Studio 32 32 How technology makes lending more convenient and secure Fri, 08 Apr 2022 06:23:14 +0000 There’s not an element of life that hasn’t been altered by technological advancement at the very least to some degree, and the world of money lending is not an exception.

Through the use of technology banks and financial institutions can increase lending speed and make it more secure.

Companies make use of technology for connecting lenders to customers and help make getting an installment loan much more simple than it was previously. All you have to do to get the loan is complete an online form that is secure. You will then be connected with accredited lenders and can be approved for a loan in the span of one business day.

What exactly is technological advancements aid lending? Let’s have a look.

Access to is simple

While you can still visit a bank in person to fill out the loan application and then wait up to two weeks for it to be accepted, digital lending platforms compress the whole procedure into a few minutes.

A borrower is now able to join these sites online, and then upload all required documents, and then hit a button to send the application, without leaving their home or turning on their laptop or computer, as smartphones are sufficient.

There’s no reason to wait long; in most instances, online applications will be approved and processed within a couple of business days.

Data-driven decision making

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have revolutionized the process of making decisions within the lending industry. Today, lenders do not have to search for information about the borrower they are considering since all the required information can be obtained by machine learning.

Another advantage can be that AI and machine learning that is automated accelerate the approval process and eliminate the need for errors.

While it’s beneficial for people who borrow, it’s the lenders who are the ones who profit most since a thorough analysis of risk, credit scoring, and predictive analysis reduce the risk of making a mistake.

Inclusive lending

In the traditional system of lending, the applicant’s credit score is the primary element. People who do not have a high credit score or collateral are completely unnoticeable to lenders. If the worst happens the collateral must be collateral in order to have the chance of getting a loan.

FinTech companies are looking to diversify their list of borrowers and offer loans to those who have no credit history, or have bad credit scores, providing the loan as a personal loan and not a mortgage.

Security enhancement

The latest technologies such as Blockchain and AI can make the process safer for the lenders and those who borrow. While lenders will have easy access to up-to-date information about their borrowers, those who borrow, on the other hand, can count on full transparency and secure data from their lenders.

It’s certainly more secure now that your paper is not tucked away on a desk any longer.

Blockchain can also make it easier to meet the current security standards and aids lenders in the compliance issues that can be a source of stress.

Market boost

With the help of technology and the sheer amount of information accessible to lenders, they can now gain a greater understanding of the prospective borrower’s needs and desires and can provide them with more targeted and customized services.

Cost-effective operation

This is the part that borrowers aren’t concerned about, while lenders are happy about it.

A significant portion of work is completed through technology including hiring to routine office tasks Human resources can be utilized more efficiently, both expense and results wise.


This money could be put towards further development and digitization.

It can be the only option for a lending firm to thrive and survive in the fast-growing digital world, particularly in the present time since the Covid-19 virus has made contact with people more risky and unpopular than they were in the past.

In the event that traditional financial institutions and banks are looking to remain in business and remain competitive, the introduction of technology to their lending processes is unavoidable.

HSBC fund chief on reinvigorating a business in the age of Covid Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

Nicolas Moreau has barely said hello when his caretaker cuts him off to exclude any discussion of HSBC’s support for Beijing’s repressive new security law for Hong Kong, a stance that has drawn criticism from political leaders and advocacy groups. ‘investment.

HSBC wants a new banking license in mainland China, so the PR’s caution is understandable. Securing Beijing’s clearance will have significant implications for HSBC’s $529 billion asset management unit, which Mr. Moreau has headed for just over a year.

“The growth of wealth across Asia and the development of the middle class are particularly important to HSBC. We can be a bridge between Asia and the West,” he says.

HSBC already owns 49% of HSBC Jintrust Fund Management, a continental joint venture formed with Shanxi Trust in 2005. The partnership has generated steady but unspectacular growth compared to rivals such as Invesco Great Wall.

The acquisition of a banking license will open a new path for growth, allowing the asset management unit to create new multi-asset funds, cash plus and loans for mainland clients. Mr. Moreau also wants to develop partnerships with online platforms to strengthen distribution across China, which is expected to become the world’s second largest asset management market behind the United States this decade.

Mr Moreau, who was hired in 2019 by HSBC to reinvigorate the underperforming asset management business, embarked on a flurry of activity despite his coronavirus infection in March.

“It doesn’t seem to go away completely,” the 55-year-old says. But he adds there are benefits to working from home and hosting meetings via video.

“You lose the social interaction but we did a lot of meetings with potential clients. It’s very effective from an efficiency standpoint,” he says.

Effective and efficient is also an apt description of Mr. Moreau, according to industry observers who have followed his career. He was previously managing director of the asset management divisions of Axa, the French insurer, and Deutsche Bank, and has just been appointed to the board of directors of the Investment Association, the British trade body.

HSBC Global Asset Management

Established 1973

Assets under management $529 billion

Employees 2,595

Headquarter London

The possession HSBC Group

Although highly experienced, he no doubt faces significant challenges in transforming HSBC’s asset management operations as the parent bank undertakes a massive reorganization that will see 35,000 jobs cut.

He restructured his unit into a single global operating platform, instead of regional teams. Senior management around Mr. Moreau has been reorganized with Joanna Munro becoming global chief investment officer, Brian Heyworth global head of institutional affairs, Christophe de Backer head of wholesale and partnerships and Edmund Stokes as managing director of the exploitation.

One of the main priorities of the unit is to win more business from external customers, rather than relying primarily on parent company input.

“The litmus test of whether we are doing a good job or not is whether third-party clients choose us. It is very important for asset managers owned by banks or insurance companies to compete with external competitors. to strengthen their franchise,” he says.

Changes are underway across the product range where the smorgasbord for all policy has been abandoned in favor of a more targeted approach.

“Choose your battles,” he says, before embarking on a long list of initiatives.

HSBC plans to launch a private lending fund in the UK this year and a euro-denominated version in 2021, with hopes more tranches will follow. Funds are being raised from Asian insurers for private debt infrastructure where HSBC already manages $2.5 billion.

New alpha-generating equity and rate products are being developed for Asian investors, as well as multi-asset strategies that can be tailored to specific client needs, known in industry jargon as ‘solutions’. HSBC also manages $50 billion in hedge funds and private market strategies, which Moreau says will grow.

Another venture unveiled last month was a joint venture with Pollination, a climate change consultancy, which will focus on “natural capital” investments in sustainable forestry and agriculture, clean water and water. other environmentally friendly projects. HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management is aiming to raise $1 billion for its first fund, set to launch in 2021, and to follow with a $2 billion carbon credits fund. HSBC will be the lead investor in the first fund.

Mr. Moreau sees the Pollination alliance as a model that can be replicated elsewhere and he wants to find new partners for a clean energy initiative and a fintech venture capital fund.

CV of Nicolas Moreau

Born May 8, 1965

Total compensation not disclosed


1988 MSc from Ecole Polytechnique, Paris


1988-91 Arthur Anderson

1991-2016 Various positions including CEO of Axa Investment Managers, CEO of Axa UK & Ireland and CEO of Axa France

2016-18 Joined Deutsche Bank Board of Directors with responsibility for Deutsche Asset Management

2018-2019 CEO of DWS

2019-present CEO of HSBC Global Asset Management

“The world is going through multiple transformations. Financing the transition to a low-carbon economy is one of the most important,” he says.

Eight new ETFs using environmental, social and governance metrics were launched this year to meet growing investor demand for ESG-focused strategies. Mr. Moreau candidly admits that investor interest has not been as strong as hoped. “We raised about $1 billion in new money, which is not as big as expected, but activity has been limited by Covid-19. ETFs are always a priority and we are working on it.

ESG-focused funds are garnering record inflows and increased scrutiny from regulators due to fears that investors may be receiving misleading information about the design of these products.

Moreau insists that well-structured ESG funds can help reduce risk for investors. “We know that governance issues or issues that have a significant social impact can be really damaging, even catastrophic. We want to work with sustainable businesses that will still be in business 30 years from now.

He is not a fan of blunt weapons such as divestment and thinks some rivals are more interested in “populist statements” that easily grab headlines than genuine dialogue with companies to drive change.

“You have to think about how you act. We need the oil companies, but they must adapt their activities to the new reality. Investors can create a real funding crunch if they refuse to take on a new debt offering from a company. Debt foreclosure is more painful than selling a company’s stock.

The pandemic and violent US protests against racial injustice have fueled debate about social inequality and diversity within HSBC.

More ethnic minority fund management trainees will be recruited in 2021 and HSBC is visiting more universities to attract graduates from a wider variety of social backgrounds.

“We are not where we should be, but the culture at HSBC is very inclusive. We know we need to offer people a sense of purpose and an equal chance of success. It doesn’t guarantee we’ll win new business, but it does help build relationships,” he says.

DeSantis’ $1 billion resilience program raises questions among lawmakers who have been slow to recognize climate change – Sun Sentinel Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

TALLAHASSEE — A few years ago, Republican lawmakers opposed public acknowledgment of climate change, outside of sea level rise affecting some coastal communities in South Florida.

Now, while many lawmakers accept the science and support the need for a statewide plan to deal with the impacts of sea level rise, hurricanes and flooding on a state mostly flat, the questions focus on a billion-dollar resilience program that adds debt, introduced by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Environmentalists would like DeSantis to go further, to also tackle the causes of climate change rather than just the effects. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers who have a grip on the state purse strings have yet to fully embrace DeSantis’ proposed four-year plan for a ‘resilient Florida’ as the 60-day legislative session prepares. starting March 2.

Announcing Resilient Florida on Jan. 28, DeSantis said it was designed to help local and state agencies “address the challenges posed by flooding, intensifying storms and rising sea levels.”

But the proposal came as lawmakers grapple with a budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while DeSantis maintains a more bullish outlook on the economy. And taking on long-term debt through surety bonds — as DeSantis proposes for Resilient Florida — is a big deal for Republicans who consider themselves fiscal conservatives.

Representative Lawrence McClure, R-Dover, would like House staffers to determine if existing funds are available to cover the resilience program.

“Maybe before we go to secure the debt, can we find the revenue?” McClure asked for bonding proposals from DeSantis. “Obviously we face budgetary challenges following last year, and certainly even before that with storms and other events. So I’m a little curious and, quite frankly, a little worried about going into debt, regardless of the interest rate, when we may not fully understand the full budget forecast.

DeSantis’ plan would help local governments through grants — those with dollars or matching assistance would receive more attention — to cover work involving sewage and stormwater treatment, water supply, public facilities used for emergency response management, transportation infrastructure, health care, affordable housing and public educational facilities. The money would also allow coastal and inland counties to complete sea-level vulnerability assessments.

Admitting that he was “just beginning to fully understand the intent of the Resilience Project,” Rep. Rick Roth, R-West Palm Beach, was among those who questioned the Department of Health’s approach. DeSantis Environmental Protection.

“He says the program will fund the additional costs needed to deal with sea level rise, which I think everyone assumed,” Roth said. “But when I read all these implementation projects, it doesn’t immediately jump out at me that these projects deal with sea level rise. For example, public facilities used for disaster response and management. emergency room. It could even be a coastal structure for rainfall discharge by the water management district, where they have to upgrade this project. »

Alex Reed, director of the department’s Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection, said any public building built in a coastal area that could be flooded should be considered for preventive measures.

Also, with a bounty placed on flooding issues, Reed said the state is looking beyond coastal communities.

“Any time you have a storm water discharge or a discharge from a water management district, for example, we have to make sure that as the sea level rises, we don’t have flooding as a result of these release locations,” Reed said. .

DeSantis’ proposal aims to distribute up to $160 million in grants in the program’s first year, through a nonprofit entity to be called Resiliency Florida Financing Corp. The money would come from the bond of 25 million dollars that the State recovers as part of the documentary stamp taxes on real estate transactions. Voters in the state have already directed a third of the so-called “doc stamp” money to land and water conservation.

Under DeSantis’ proposal, state lawmakers would increase the money to pay debt service on the bonds to $50 million in 2022, $75 million a year later, and $100 million in year four. from the program.

Sierra Club lobbyist David Cullen said while the proposal shows sea level rise is finally being taken seriously, “it’s not being taken seriously enough”.

“We’re not the least bit surprised that his proposal only addresses the symptoms and not the disease,” Cullen said. “Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced as soon as possible, and his plan does nothing.”

While the proposal would help local communities plan for the impacts of sea level rise, Cullen pointed to potentially recurring issues in the future.

“What the governor is not including in his calculations is the fact that the problem is getting worse and will continue to do so,” Cullen said. “If we don’t reduce the cause of sea level rise, the money spent protecting assets of regional importance will have to be spent again and again as sea levels continue to rise. Resilience is the ability to bounce back, not back down gracefully. But that’s what the governor’s approach comes down to.

Audubon Florida executive director Julie Wraithmell supported the state’s investment, noting that Florida cities and counties — especially in South Florida — are struggling with rising sea levels. For years.

“The fact that this is a multi-year initiative recognizes that reality, and the proposal to issue bonds recognizes the urgency,” Wraithmell said.

But more innovative green infrastructure solutions are needed, Wraithmell added, citing the need to fund other efforts such as the Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands conservation programs.

“One proposal can’t do everything in the face of a threat as significant as climate change, but this proposal represents a sea change for Florida, which has had climate leadership at the city, county and regional levels for decades. years, but has lacked concerted leadership at the state level,” she said. Habitat conservation and restoration are among the most powerful resilience tools we have.”

Since his election in 2018, DeSantis has successfully worked with lawmakers on his environmental priorities, attracting at least $625 million a year in Everglades restoration and other water-related projects, the same amount he request for the next fiscal year 2021-2022. The bulk of DeSantis’ new request, $493 million, would continue the Everglades’ efforts.

Boris Johnson calls for ‘immediate’ release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe during call with Iranian president Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

Boris Johnson has demanded the immediate release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian mother detained in Iran on questionable espionage charges, in a combative phone call with the regime’s president.

“The Prime Minister has raised the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual British-Iranian nationals detained in Iran and demanded their immediate release,” Downing Street said in a statement on Wednesday, following Mr Johnson’s appeal with Hassan Rouhani.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe served her five-year sentence on Sunday and had her electronic ankle tag removed, but Iran refused to let her return to Britain.

Instead, authorities summoned her to a hearing on Sunday, where it is feared she could face further charges.

“[Mr Johnson] said that while the removal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle monitor was welcome, her continued confinement remains completely unacceptable and she must be allowed to return to her family in the UK,” Downing Street added.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has warned that she is being held hostage in an ongoing legal dispute with Britain over a 1970s tank debt.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 during a visit to Iran and jailed on espionage charges which have been widely disputed. Towards the end of her sentence, she was released from the notorious Evin prison and placed under house arrest with her family in Tehran.

A customer has repaid his debt. Capital One feared fraud Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

Scammers are responsible for all kinds of fraud and mischief, including theft of identity, cash and financial information.

As far as I know, however, no scammer has ever maliciously paid someone’s credit card balance.

So I couldn’t help but be intrigued when a Capital One customer told me about his recent experience of having his card blocked and being investigated for fraud after refunding the most of $14,000 unpaid on his plastic.

“I kept asking them if they thought some random person paid my account,” said Erik Castro, 48. “They said they just needed to know the money was legit.”

Even now, the frustration was clear in his voice.

“The payment came from the same Bank of America account that I use for all my payments,” the Granada Hills resident said. “Why wouldn’t it be legitimate? »

Before we go any further, let’s pause to recognize that credit card fraud protection is a very valuable service. Most cardholders are probably grateful whenever a financial institution spots a suspicious transaction and steps in to prevent losses.

Castro disagrees. He said Capital One flagged questionable purchases on iTunes a few years ago and quickly alerted him that his card may have been hacked. He was. A new card was immediately issued.

On the other hand, Castro said Cap One overlooked someone who used their plastic last year to buy a high-end stroller. He had to report this fraudulent transaction himself, which again resulted in a new card being issued.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the acts of fraud resulted in nearly $2 billion in losses Last year.

Identity theft accounted for approximately 20% of all fraud reports. And of these, credit card fraud was the leading form of identity theft.

It would therefore be foolish to want card companies to be less vigilant in keeping scammers at bay.

That said, Capital One seems a bit overzealous in its efforts – even considering the company itself fell victim to cybercrime last year after a hacker access to personal data of more than 100 million people and small businesses.

Castro told me he never missed a card payment, but started carrying a heavy balance after spending thousands of dollars on Las Vegas Raiders game subscriptions.

Then the coronavirus hit, his working hours were reduced and he and his wife decided they needed to tighten their belts by making smaller monthly card payments.

Before too long, Castro was carrying a debt on his plastic of $14,300. That changed a few weeks ago after he refinanced his mortgage and used some of the equity in his home to pay off the balance.

The next day, Castro said, he received a call from Cap One saying a fraud investigation had been opened.

“They wanted me to upload copies of my bank statements to prove that I had made the payment,” he recalls.

Castro balked at the request. He asked to speak to a supervisor and was told he would be called back. Nobody did, he said.

What happened, however, was that when he tried to buy things at a Ross store, the cashier told him that his Capital One card had been declined. “It was embarrassing,” Castro said.

He called Capital One and was told his account had been frozen until he complied with the request for bank documents.

“I told them it was the same bank account I had used for years for all my payments,” Castro said. “I said they made me feel like a criminal.”

Nevertheless, he downloaded the bank statements. A week passed. His card remained blocked.

Castro again called Cap One. This time, a representative made her wait in line while she arranged a conference call with Bank of America.

BofA has verified that, yes, the payment of over $14,000 was indeed made from Castro’s checking account. Capital One in turn unblocked his credit card.

Castro isn’t bothered that his card issuer looks out for his financial well-being. “That’s a good thing,” he said.

“What bothers me is how they handled it,” Castro said. “They couldn’t protect me from stroller fraud, but they were more than ready to protect me from myself.”

Ariel Brown, a Capital One spokeswoman, told me that “when an unusual transaction occurs, which is defined as something abnormal based on a customer’s account history, our system report the incident as a potential fraud”.

“In Mr. Castro’s case,” she said, “an unusual transaction based on his account history was flagged by our system.”

Capital One froze his card “to ensure Mr. Castro’s financial security,” Brown said, adding that the account was reactivated after the company “finally confirmed that no fraud occurred.”

She declined to explain why paying a balance, albeit in an unusual transaction, would be flagged as potential fraud, especially in light of the fact that the money came from the same BofA account that Castro used for all his payments. .

Was Cap One worried that he had filled his checking account with stolen funds? Did they think Castro scammed someone else with the money?

Some may wonder why he doesn’t just cancel his Capital One card and get a new credit card. The answer to that, he told me, is the roughly 190,000 miles he and his wife have accumulated on the card for future travel.

“If I cancel, I lose them,” Castro said.

Not necessarily.

He should consider transferring his miles to an airline affiliated with the card-issuing company. These include JetBlue, Air France and Singapore Airlines.

When I called Cap One, a service representative told me that it was impossible to transfer miles to an airline. But when I persisted, she looked into it and confirmed that mile transfers to certain carriers are indeed possible, but you only get 1.5 miles for every two miles transferred.

And here’s a thought: If Capital One (or any card company) is concerned that a transaction may be fraudulent, how about doing a little due diligence before turning a customer’s life upside down?

In Castro’s case, a lot of the hassle could have been avoided if Cap One had simply contacted BofA and confirmed upfront that the usual checking account’s $14,300 card payment was legitimate. If a customer’s authorization is required for such a call, obtain it.

Capital One’s Brown declined to respond to this.

If nothing else, how about just exercising some common sense? If a questionable transaction involves the repayment of a card debt, it seems highly unlikely that an act of fraud has been committed.

Pro Tip: Scammers focus almost exclusively on plug people’s money without paying their bills.

You’re welcome, Cap One.

Chronicle: Sorry, your mother is dead. Now give us money Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

It’s bad enough that people have a hard time canceling unwanted contracts and subscriptions – an unnecessarily difficult process that some companies seem to deliberately impose in the hope of racking up extra fees.

It’s worse if you’re also dead.

Or if you’re the next of kin of someone who died with unpaid bills or recurring charges from businesses that don’t see getting rid of that deadly reel as reason enough to miss payments.

“It’s been a year since my mother passed away, and the bills keep coming in,” said Andrew Pfeffer, 63. “It doesn’t stop.”

The Channel Islands Harbor resident was responding to last week’s column about the often frustrating challenge of unraveling business relationships such as gym memberships, insurance plans, and cable contracts.

Automatic contract renewals and hard cancellations are “a predatory practice that many industries are addicted to for one obvious reason — a monthly revenue stream,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League.

Going after the dead and their families takes that hassle to a whole new level.

Pfeffer told me his mother died last November at the age of 89 after battling cancer. It was a terrible experience for the family.

Then the bills started pouring in — from health care providers, an insurer, and businesses that were upset that they no longer had a credit card they could hit with monthly charges.

The demands for money became so persistent, Pfeffer said, that he had to print out a stack of copies of his mother’s death certificate so they were readily available to prove she was no longer among the living. .

“Some companies then turned around and came after the domain,” he said. “They said they were sorry for my mother’s death. And then they would send another bill.

According to Federal Trade Commission, the relatives of a deceased person are not responsible for the remaining debts. However, a creditor is legally allowed to seek payment of unpaid obligations from assets left by the deceased, which could reduce your inheritance.

“The deceased person’s estate owes the debt,” the FTC says. “If there isn’t enough money in the estate to cover the debt, it usually remains unpaid.”

Keep in mind, however, that you could be caught out if you co-sign up for a loan (something you want to think long and hard about before doing so).

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows debt collectors to contact the family of a deceased person about any money owed, but that’s it. They can’t pressure you. Also, they usually can’t call more than once.

I noted in last week’s column that while unfair business practices are illegal at the federal and state levels, there is no law on the books that explicitly says it is illegal for a business to make the cancellation process as difficult as possible.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) is trying to resolve this issue.

His unsubscribe would ban so-called online negative option agreements – contracts that automatically renew – “unless the negative option agreement provides the consumer with a mechanism to cancel the agreement in the same manner and by the same means as the one in which the agreement was made”.

In other words, you couldn’t be trapped in an endless cycle of recurring charges without the company providing you with a clear path to freedom.

“If you subscribed to something online, why should you call customer service in the middle of the day to cancel your subscription? Takano told me.

He said his bill “requires you to be able to unsubscribe the same way you signed up and requires you to give explicit permission to be billed monthly, even if you unknowingly missed the fine print requiring you to subscribe after the initial free period”.

A simple solution for an annoying problem. I urge all legislators to get on board.

In the meantime, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the emails I received from readers of the Los Angeles Times regarding the newspaper’s cancellation policy.

“The hardest experience I’ve had myself canceling a subscription or service was trying to cancel my subscription to the Los Angeles Times,” said Santa Monica resident John Ziaukas.

“Looks like you should be able to cancel the same way you signed up – online, right?” said Vista resident David Williams. “No. You have to call a phone number and talk to a subscription retention specialist, or whatever euphemism they are currently using, and then force them into submission.

I shared these sentiments with Hillary Manning, the newspaper’s spokesperson.

“Los Angeles Times subscribers, home delivery, or digital-only customers can call, email, or send us written notice to request cancellation, and we can process cancellations without the need for a phone call,” she replied.

Manning also said a new online “subscriber center” set to roll out this month will allow “cancellation online, rather than having to send an email.”

This will be a great improvement, though I unabashedly note that a local newspaper is a vital resource in these times when the truth is disputed.

Let me know before canceling your subscription. Give me a chance to talk you out of it.

Now back to Pfeffer and his ongoing efforts to fend off the vultures that pursue his dead mother.

It is a difficult situation. While it can be a drag for families dealing with such things, creditors have the right to request a copy of the death certificate before releasing a deceased person’s debt.

Perhaps after Takano passes his opt-out law, he will consider creating an online federal database of state-issued death certificates.

As for the federal Do Not Call Listthat requires telemarketers to verify consumer preferences before calling, a deceased persons directory would serve as a one-stop shop for creditors, collectors and others to see if the person they are suing is still breathing.

It would be a handy resource for businesses and a welcome relief for grieving families.

The death of a loved one is hard enough. A little peace from debt collectors isn’t too much to ask.

Reviews | The debt is huge because Trump kept his promises Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000
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Maya MacGuineas is President of the Nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

President Trump has, to a remarkable degree, delivered on his 2016 campaign promises – and the country’s fiscal health is taking a hit.

During each presidential election cycle, our nonpartisan organization assesses the budgetary impact of the proposals of the main candidates. In 2016, candidate Trump ran on a platform of deep tax cuts, increased defense and veterans spending, and no major changes to Social Security and Medicare. sickness. The numbers offered were so huge that, frankly, they seemed exaggerated and improbable.

That year, when debt was already on an unsustainable path and growing faster than the economy, we estimated that Trump’s agenda would increase deficits of $4.6 trillion over the next decade. We also warned that, under his proposals, debt would eclipse the size of the economy by 2025 and hit an all-time high shortly thereafter.

We came reasonably close to the political projections. And now, because of all that borrowing, plus the additional debt financing needed to fight the pandemic and the recession, the debt numbers are alarming.

During his first three years in office, before the coronavirus pandemicpresident trump approved a whopping $3.9 trillion of borrowing for further tax and spending cuts between 2017 and 2026. This has significantly increased the national debt during a period of strong and sustained economic growth. As far as we could tell, the deficit had never been so high when it was associated with such a strong economy as in 2019.

As a result, we entered this year’s health and economic crisis with debt, expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product, higher than at any time in US history except immediately after the Second World War. Adding covid-19 relief measures, the president decreed a total of $6.6 trillion in new borrowing during his first term. Debt is now expected to exceed the size of the economy as early as next year.

Crisis spending aside, the president has largely followed through on his campaign proposals — albeit with some differences.

More importantly, he enacted approximately $2.3 trillion in tax cuts for individuals, businesses and corporations. That’s a huge number but, due to lower rate cuts than originally proposed, the cost of the tax cuts was only about half of the $4.5 trillion that his tax plan 2016 campaign would have cost. During the campaign and before the passage of the tax law, there was a lot of talk about how the tax cuts would be amortized. However, the income turned out to be lower than they otherwise would have been by any meaningful metric.

Trump more or less matched his proposal to increase defense and veterans spending by $950 billion; he signed into law two massive increases to the defense budget, as well as new funding for veterans.

The president’s biggest departure from his 2016 platform was related to his campaign plan to cut national discretionary spending, which would have saved $750 billion over 10 years. Instead, he increased this part of the budget between 2017 and 2021, at a cost of $700 billion over 10 years. In total, all major areas of government have grown significantly under the Trump administration.

Finally, Trump has largely delivered on his pledge not to touch Social Security and Medicare — an unfortunate commitment as both programs face huge funding shortfalls and critical solvency issues. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is expected to run out of reserves by 2024. The Social Security Old Age Fund is expected to be insolvent by 2031, when today’s youngest retirees will be 73. Ignoring these programs is not the same as protecting them; it condemns the beneficiaries to significant and brutal reductions in benefits. It’s time to stop the grandstanding on this issue and recognize that while we may disagree on How? ‘Or’ What to consolidate these programs, we cannot ignore that changes must be made.

So here we are. Our debt is heading for a new high in just a few years and is expected to grow indefinitely faster than the economy. All major trust funds are headed for insolvency. We’re supposed to spend $3.7 trillion in interest over the next decade, enough to send every American household $2,900 a year.

Yes, we have to borrow to deal with the current crisis. But we didn’t have to go into this crisis with trillion-dollar deficits; nor do we need to continue with massive deficits afterwards.

Whoever takes office in January will need to put in place a credible long-term plan to reduce debt once the economy is strong enough and save Social Security and Medicare. But if the last election is any indication, the problem isn’t that politicians aren’t keeping their promises; it’s the promises they keep that we simply can’t afford.

Read a letter responding to this opinion piece: The president is not the only one responsible for the American debts

​​David Byler: No one can predict this election. Here’s why.

Robert J. Samuelson: Trump is addicted to deficits

Catherine Rampell: The deficit has worsened. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

The Post’s View: Trump and the GOP are fueling our national debt explosion

]]> Netflix takes on more debt. Is it sustainable? Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

If there’s a deep gash in your couch from all the watching Netflix during quarantine, you’re not alone. The company recently announced that its new viewership was double what was expected.

Tim Hanlon of media consultancy Vertere Group cautions against reading too much into this. “Subscribers and viewing don’t translate to profits,” he said. “Same [Netflix CEO] Reed Hastings said in his call today that he expects these growth numbers to be relatively short-lived and to decline somewhat as the virus begins to manifest and the people are starting to go out again.

So it might come as a surprise that Netflix also announced that it would raise $1 billion in debt to acquire and produce new content. Netflix has always done this, but as the economic crisis worsens, many are wondering if this is a sustainable model.

There are more streaming platforms than ever competing with Netflix, trying to tap into that captive audience. Meanwhile, Netflix lost licensed content, shows like “Friends.” “Office.” “Scandal.”

It’s been pivoting to original content for a while now – and it costs more upfront than licensing an old sitcom. Rahul Telang of Carnegie Mellon University said investors understand this. “At the end of the day, this business will be about who gets to do the show that people are willing to pay for.”

Netflix’s debt has always raised eyebrows. But with the pandemic, it’s not the only streaming service that concerns investors. Consider its competitor Disney. Eric Haggstrom is an analyst at eMarketer. “Their parks are closed. Live sports are canceled right now, which is bad for ESPN, which is also owned by Disney. What I will say is that Netflix is ​​in a much better position than many of its competitors.

Netflix’s cash burn may seem risky. But at least they don’t have to worry about a bunch of empty roller coasters.

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Tips to increase your net worth Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

Your net worth can tell you many things, but it’s just a way to gauge your own financial success. Many have calculated their net value and come to the conclusion that it needs an overhaul, but improving it can seem very difficult. However, this only requires a few tips, a little willpower and a lot of patience.

Key points to remember

  • The first step to increasing your net worth is clearing your debts. Net worth is equal to equity minus debt, so reducing this debt significantly increases net worth.
  • Making smart investments, not just in stocks, is a surefire way to increase net worth. Buying a reasonable car or house and cutting back on luxury expenses are all important steps.
  • Net worth does not necessarily mean rich. For some, a positive net worth is a goal they should be proud of. People with high debt, like those with medical bills and student loans, should rejoice when their net worth finally turns positive.

Pay off your debt

The money you owe is money that could be used to increase your net worth. Pay off all your debts as soon as you can, but be aware of penalties that may apply for early payment (such as with mortgages).

Consolidation of your debts borrowing at a lower rate to pay off high-yield debt is a proven strategy. The key here is knowing what you owe and having a plan to pay it off. Make extra payments where possible and work to reduce your overall debt burden.

Identify high-interest debt and target it first, paying off less debt along the way.

Maximize your pension contributions

Many private employers offer pension plans that have desirable tax features. Other tax-advantaged accounts (eg. Roth IRA) are also available. In fact, many employers have matching programs that will help you raise your dues faster.

By not taking advantage of these programs, you are leaving money on the table. Pension contributions create a double benefit. They report your taxable income to your lowest earning years and increase your available generative assets. Acting now for your retirement will help slow down one of the biggest obstacles to growing your net worth: taxes.

Reduce expenses by making expenses

No one likes to hear that they spend too much and need to cut back. We all know that eating out or buying the latest gadgets is catching up with us, but what we don’t realize is how quickly small expenses can add up, too.

Make a habit of logging your expenses every day for a week and you’ll be shocked at how well your paycheck is flowing. The intention is not to stop eating out or give up hobbies altogether, but rather to become aware of your spending habits and identify areas where you can make adjustments; a little goes a long way.

Also, remember that debt from step one? Much of this comes from credit card. Cutting up your credit cards and using only the money you have will help you limit your spending.

Keep the money you’ve saved where it will grow

You probably already have one savings account, but do you use it? Your current account should be meager enough for your regular expenses and everything else should be in interest bearing accounts. Better yet, invest what you can. Some people tend to be risk aversethen take a look at guaranteed investment contracts (GIC) or bond funds.

If your savings are in a coffee canister above the fridge, you’re not making your money work for you and undermining your hard work. As a side note, resist the urge to immediately spend any deals you may receive; invest it to ensure that you will continue to reap the benefits for a long time.

Buy the car you’ll drive forever

You can virtually guarantee that a vehicle purchased today will be worth much less a year from now. Combine this depreciation with maintenance costs and insurance premiums and you have a recipe for the real financier cost of owning a car.

Every new car you buy ultimately decreases your net worth. You can reduce the negative financial effects of owning an automobile by buying only the vehicle (or vehicles) you need, with a view to driving it until it needs to be replaced.

Talk to a professional

This is the most important and yet most overlooked step. People do not want to pay to consult a accounting or Financial Advisor often because they are embarrassed by the state of their finances.

That said, talking to a professional can give you the latest information on how to use tax breaks or support you in your budgeting. Never be ashamed to ask for help and use the resources available.

MTN drops dividend in favor of debt… Thu, 11 Mar 2021 08:25:54 +0000

MTN took the shine off a strong set of annual results by suspending the payment of its final dividend – after also withholding an interim dividend. While the uncertainty of Covid-19 played a part in her decision, she also fought to repatriate (upstream) dividends from Nigeria, her biggest operation, and is still awaiting proceeds from the companies she has sold as part of its ambitious R25 increase plan. -billion over the next few years.

The network operator, which operates in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, intends to reduce debt at the holding company level, which fell to 43.3 billion rand last year, through the proceeds of a number of asset sales. However, the pandemic has delayed some deals, including the listing of IHS, the wireless tower operator in which he has a 29% stake.

Rather than appease shareholders with a payout now, it has pledged to pay a dividend of at least 260c for its 2021 financial year, with the possibility of a special dividend or share buybacks if things turn out better provided that.

“The board has decided to suspend dividends in light of certain uncertainties we face, particularly around cash upfront, but, more importantly, our desire to deleverage the balance sheet more quickly,” said CEO Ralph Mupita in an investor presentation.

“If some of the uncertainties prove more positive, it will consider returning any excess cash either through special dividends or share buybacks, whichever is more accretive to shareholders.”

Despite Mupita’s assurances, Stephán Engelbrecht, fund manager at Anchor Capital, said the market would be disappointed with the decision not to pay a dividend and the lack of progress in selling some non-core assets.

“The market is eagerly awaiting the completion of some of these transactions, as they can unlock significant value in the business and reduce the debt burden on the business. The listing and sale of MTN’s stake in IHS, in particular, are highly anticipated by the market,” said Engelbrecht. Business maverick.

“The repatriation of operating cash from Nigeria has been an issue and concern for some time and while the market may be disappointed that nothing has been resolved on this front, we do not believe market participants will be moved by it. surprised.

“On our assessment, the market currently places no value on Nigeria, so if or when MTN can start repatriating money from Nigeria, it can unlock significant value.”

Dividends aside, MTN had a stunning year, with a much stronger second half, particularly in South Africa.

Despite tough business conditions, Mupita said the group added an additional 28.8 million subscribers last year, bringing its total subscriber base to nearly 280 million. It added 19 million active data users and 11.7 million MoMo (mobile money) users, while the number of active merchants accepting its MoMo offers more than doubled to 440,000.

Group services revenue increased 20% in the 12 months to the end of December and rose 12% to R170 billion in constant exchange rates. Voice revenue grew 4.8% despite pressure on voice traffic, particularly at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown. However, this had the opposite effect on data revenues, which grew by 31% as traffic more than doubled due to higher levels of online demand as more consumers worked and studied from home. At the end of December, MTN had 114.31 million active data users after adding 19 million more during the year. It increased its fintech revenue by 24% due to an increase in MoMo users and its move into insurance through the aYo joint venture.

For the year, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 22%, before adjusting for one-time items. Earnings per share rose 87% to 946c and overall earnings per share (Heps) jumped 60% to 749c. Non-operational impacts removed 128c from Heps.

“Results were operationally strong with most operating metrics moving in the right direction,” Engelbrecht said.

“The decision not to pay a dividend has had the effect of significantly reducing net debt to Ebitda and, in the longer term, this will significantly reduce risk to the business. The company has also set out a new policy more conservative dividend policy. Although it may seem disappointing at first sight, we believe that this policy will be more sustainable.

As the group leaves its operations in the Middle East to focus on its pan-African strategy, it said it completed a comprehensive strategic review in the last quarter of last year and set out a new “Ambition 2025” strategy, as part of which it planned to structurally separate its infrastructure assets and platforms, such as fintech, to unlock value and attract third-party capital and partnerships to these businesses, in the medium term.

“Going forward, we believe our revised strategy, Ambition 2025, will position the business to seize exciting opportunities in our markets, and our medium-term guidance has been enhanced to reflect this acceleration in growth prospects,” said Mupita.

In support of this, it plans to invest around R29.1 billion in its network, fintech and digital services platforms this year.

“We are unwilling to place real value on fintech investments,” Engelbrecht said.

“We will have a wait-and-see approach to see if these initiatives will generate economic benefits in the future.” DM/BM