ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
December 8, 2020
The Gateway For Payroll Data
2020: A Day in the Life in RTO

Name: Teresa Hill

What’s your current role/title?

I am the Vice President of Operational Support at Buddy’s Newco LLC, dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings.

Years in RTO: I have been in the RTO industry for 25 amazing years.

What did you do before RTO?

Before RTO, I was a manager with the Limited Corporation overseeing a high-volume, big-box, retail apparel location.

Paving the Payments Future
More Americans Pay Rent On Credit Cards As Lawmakers Fail To Pass Relief Bill

With their savings running out, many Americans are being forced to use credit cards to pay for bills they can't afford — even their rent. Housing experts and economists say this is a blinking-red warning light that without more relief from Congress, the economy is headed for even more serious trouble.

There's been as much as a 70% percent increase from last year in people paying rent on a credit card, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

"If you're putting your rent payments on to a credit card, that shows you're really at risk of eviction," says Shamus Roller, executive director of the nonprofit National Housing Law Project. "That means you've run out of savings; you've probably run out of calls to family members to get them to loan you money."

Lending as a Service
CFPB sues LendUp for allegedly violating Military Lending Act

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is suing online lender LendUp for allegedly violating the Military Lending Act (MLA) in connection with its extensions of credit, the agency announced Friday.

The CFPB alleges that since October 2016, San Francisco-based LendUp made over 4,000 single-payment or installment loans to more than 1,200 covered borrowers in violation of the MLA, a federal law that caps interest rates at 36% for active-duty service members.

The CFPB's complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks an injunction, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties.

COVID-19 paid leave tax credits for Small and Midsize businesses

Small and midsize employers can claim two NEW refundable payroll tax credits.

The paid sick leave credit and the paid family leave credit are designed to immediately and fully reimburse eligible employers for the cost of providing COVID-19 related leave to their employees.

U.S. regulators implore banks to stop using key rate tied to some $200 trillion in debt by end of 2021

Three U.S. bank regulatory agencies on Monday called on banks to stop writing contracts referencing U.S. Libor by the end of 2021.

The announcement was tied to a separate announcement from overseas regulators establishing June 2023 as the end date for U.S. dollar Libor reference rates.

U.S. bank regulators are trying mitigate the risk of the transition through an orderly winddown.

U.S. regulators have decided to replace dollar Libor a scandal-plagued benchmark with the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR.

Top 10 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

Cyber threats are an increasing problem for small- and medium-sized businesses, especially with the major shift to remote work due to COVID-19. Some of the notable data breaches, such as Equifax in 2017, and more recent ones like the ransomware attack that hit German tech firm Software AG in October 2020, result in customers losing trust in the company.

With this growing threat, small businesses need to take the necessary security steps, especially as AI technology drastically improves.

Here are 10 cybersecurity tips for small businesses:

1. Train employees in security
One of the best steps a small business can take against cyber threats is to train its employees in security principles. By establishing thorough protocol and policies, a company is less likely to be the target of an attack. These policies can include employees using strong passwords and appropriate internet use guidelines that have penalties for non-compliance. It’s also crucial to educate employees on what to look out for, such as fraudulent emails.

CFPB Clarifies Position On Earned Wage Access Policy; Says Programs Are Not An Extension Of Credit

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory opinion Monday (Nov. 30) that earned wage access (EWA) products do not represent extensions of credit under one of its key regulations. Earned wage, or on-demand, payroll access is used by many companies to give their workers access to their pay before the scheduled payday arrives. The solutions in this area run from variations on payday loans, to sliding fees to straight fee arrangements to interest payments.

The regulation cited by the CFPB is within a federal law that standardizes how lenders convey the cost of borrowing to consumers. Among other products, it covers installment loans such as auto loans and personal loans. The earned wage industry is populated by specialists like Even, PayActiv and Daily Pay and HR platforms like Ceridian. Some companies provide early access to earned wages and advance the amount requested by the employee, which is then deducted from the paycheck. Other companies provide simple access to wages for a fee.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Launches Refreshed Website with a New Interactive Enforcement Database

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) launched a refresh of its public website, consumerfinance.gov. The updated website will feature additional user functionality, an improved layout, more content, and easier access to information. Notably, the refresh will also include a new interactive enforcement database to help the public track the Bureau’s enforcement actions. Through these updates, the Bureau aims to increase transparency and make it easier for consumers and stakeholders to locate and access essential resources.

“Our website serves as a critical tool for reaching consumers, and we will continue to seek ways to make it more accessible, user-friendly, and informative,” said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. “With this refresh we increased transparency and made it easier for the public to engage with the Bureau.”

1 Percent of P.P.P. Borrowers Got Over One-Quarter of the Loan Money

Newly released data gives the most detailed accounting yet of the pandemic aid provided to 5.2 million businesses that sought forgivable loans.

The Paycheck Protection Program was the centerpiece of the federal government’s relief efforts to keep millions of small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. But new data shows what many had suspected all along: The money was shared unevenly, with the biggest sums going to a sliver of the companies in need.

Detailed loan information released by the Small Business Administration late on Tuesday showed that a mere 1 percent of the program’s 5.2 million borrowers — those seeking $1.4 million and above — received more than a quarter of the $523 billion disbursed.

There are too many ways to lose unemployment compensation

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, existing unemployment insurance (UI) programs were unable to meet the extraordinary demand from workers abruptly displaced from their jobs. Programs authorized by Congress extended and expanded access to UI. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expanded access to UI benefits for up to 39 weeks for those not eligible for regular UI (like the self-employed). Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended the number of weeks of benefits (by 13 weeks) that are available to regular UI recipients. Unemployment compensation programs support families who have lost employment, helping them to weather the economic crisis while promoting consumer spending more broadly.

In the US, the pandemic is surging and the labor market remains weak. But come December 26, without Congressional action, the pandemic-related UI programs will end. This is not the only benefit cliff that unemployed workers face.

U.S Mortgage Rates Hold Steady at Record Lows

Mortgage rates held steady following a previous week slide to a 13th record low of the year. In the week ending 26th November, 30-year fixed rates remained unchanged following a 12 basis points slide in the week prior.

Compared to this time last year, 30-year fixed rates were down by 96 basis points.

30-year fixed rates were also down by 222 basis points since November 2018’s most recent peak of 4.94%.

Economic Data from the Week
Economic data was on the busier side in the 1st half of the week.

Lawmakers clinch deal on decadelong fight against shell companies

Advocates were bolstered by increasingly vocal law enforcement groups and national security experts seeking to thwart the companies.

The most sweeping overhaul of financial crime safeguards in decades is poised to be attached to must-pass defense legislation in the coming weeks — a product of behind-the-scenes negotiations between lawmakers and Trump administration officials who are usually at odds.

The legislation, hammered out by progressive Democrats, conservative Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, would require millions of business entities to reveal their owners to the federal government in an attempt to deter the use of anonymous shell companies by criminals evading anti-money laundering rules.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
Alternative Financial Service Providers Association
757.737.4088
315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092