November 19, 2020
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Even a divided America agrees on raising the minimum wage
Even with the historic 2020 election behind us, the American electorate seems as divided as ever. The margin of victory separating President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden in several swing states is less than 1%, and if Republicans hang onto one of their two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia during the January runoff election, America will begin next year with a divided government.

Despite this, Election Day proved there is one policy area where Americans are increasingly not divided: raising the minimum wage.

The election results in Florida illustrate this shift in public opinion. A ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 per hour by 2026 passed with the support of more than 60% of voters. Its success is noteworthy in Florida—a red state with two Republican Senators, a Republican-controlled state legislature, and a Republican governor who opposed the minimum wage hike. Trump secured more than half of the votes in the state, which means that upwards of 1 million Florida voters cast a ballot for the president and for the minimum wage increase.
Paving the Payments Future
Fintech works to elevate minority leaders as users diversify
Call for diversity in leadership comes as data shows that fintech users are now about evenly spread across racial groups

Data is beginning to show that communities historically cut off from banking and investing are using financial technology to increase access. Now, industry leaders are calling for more diverse perspectives in top leadership roles to help drive that progress.

Companies say they’re working on ways to make it happen.

Change Machine, a New York-based nonprofit that helps social services professionals recommend fintech products to their underbanked clients, committed this year to a target that 40 percent of its recommendation list will be products developed by minority-led fintechs.
Lending as a Service
The number of 401(k) and IRA millionaires reach record high amid pandemic
The number of retirement investors with at least $1 million saved in their Fidelity Investment accounts hit a record high in the third quarter, even as the pandemic’s second wave approached and the economic outlook remained uncertain.

The number of so-called 401(k) millionaires increased 17% to 262,000 from 224,000 in the second quarter, according to an analysis of more than 30 million retirement accounts at Fidelity provided exclusively to Yahoo Money. The number of IRA millionaires also increased by 15% to 234,000 from 204,000 in the second quarter, marking a 15% jump.

The previous records for both were in the fourth quarter of 2019, when there were 233,000 401(k) millionaires and 208,000 IRA millionaires.
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.

New but narrow job pathways for America’s unemployed and low-wage workers
In the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic struck a uniquely precarious workforce: No other high-income country has experienced such deep job losses. The shock has exposed and widened rifts in our two-tiered labor market—between workers with stable jobs and the newly unemployed, between those who can work from home and those who can’t, and between high-income workers and those struggling to make ends meet.

These challenges were not inevitable. Before the pandemic, U.S. labor markets were historically tight—what labor experts called a “now or never moment” to improve job quality and worker mobility. But low-wage workers saw only marginal gains. Today, the problems are accelerating, and the stakes are even higher. COVID-19 job losses hit low-wage workers the hardest, and these workers are having the hardest time getting back on their feet. Meanwhile, the pandemic is rapidly shifting consumer preferences and company behaviors, with demand for digital services surging. But few unemployed workers have the time or resources to reskill and find new work on their own. If these shifts continue, many low-wage workers may see less demand for their labor in the long run—meaning lower wages and decreasing job quality for those who can find work, and long-term unemployment for those who can’t.
Banks' Margins Suffer As US Consumers Pay Down Credit Card Debt
U.S. consumers have been paying down payments on credit cards with the pandemic continuing to hamper spending opportunities, which has led to dramatically falling bank card loans, The Financial Times (FT) reports.

According to the report, the total amount of card loans in U.S. banks was $755 billion, down $100 billion from before the pandemic, while balances have drifted lower in three of the last four weeks.

In addition, the amount of Americans opening new accounts was down to 8.6 million in the third quarter, almost 50 percent lower year over year, according to stats from TransUnion. That has also had a negative impact on banks, with card revenue for Citigroup falling 18 percent this year compared to 2019; a Wells Fargo bank analyst said credit card spending would likely stay down until COVID-19 was on the way out, the report says.
JPMorgan drops from top of FSB's list of systemically important banks
  • New rankings Wednesday from the Financial Stability Board (FSB) suggest JPMorgan Chase is no longer the world’s most systemically important bank.
  • The Basel, Switzerland-based panel recommended a lower capital burden for the U.S.’s largest bank — an additional buffer of 2%, down from 2.5% — than it had in previous annual assessments of 30 financial institutions. The lower ranking means any instability at the bank poses less risk to the global financial system.
  • Two other U.S. banks — Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo — also ranked less risky, according to the FSB's assessment Wednesday. The panel recommended a 1% additional buffer for those firms.

Possible Biden picks for Treasury Secretary: a who's who
The nation’s next Treasury Secretary under President-elect Joe Biden faces a historic challenge: pulling the world’s largest economy out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Rumors have already been swirling over who Biden will slot in the Treasury role. The shortlist so far has revealed a theme for the transition team’s preferences: previous or current public servants with experience in navigating Washington, D.C.

Prior to the election, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard generated buzz as a possible front runner for the position.
CFPB Guide to Economic Impact Payments
We’ve worked to break down the most common questions about the Economic Impact Payments, including how much you’re eligible to receive and when you can expect to receive it.

Note: If you’re not typically required to file taxes, you may still be eligible and need to take steps to claim your payment. You have until November 21 to use the IRS’s non-filer’s portal . Find out how.

For most people, the payment was directly deposited into your bank account, sent to you by check, or sent to you on an EIP debit card.

No matter how you receive your payment, the IRS will send you a letter in the mail—to the most current address they have on file—about 15 days after they send your payment to let you know what to do if you have any issues, including if you haven’t received the payment.
These major retailers are spending millions of dollars to show employees appreciation
With their profit coffers fully stocked after months of consumers hoarding food and cleaning products during the COVID-19 pandemic, some major retailers are opening up their checkbooks to reward tired workers ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

On Tuesday evening, Dollar General became the latest to cut a check to workers. The 16,000-plus dollar store chain said it would award about $50 million in additional “appreciation bonuses” to eligible frontline workers in the fourth quarter. The investment is double what Dollar General had planned to award workers. Dollar General said it now plans to hand out $100 million in bonuses combined for the third and fourth quarters. For the full year, the number is estimated to be $173 million.

“To demonstrate our ongoing gratitude and support for our employees directly serving our customers and communities during this pandemic, we are proud to double our initial plans for second-half bonuses by awarding an additional approximately $50 million to our frontline team members,” said Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos in a statement. “Customers continue to look to and trust Dollar General to carry the essential household items on which they depend, all while furthering our mission of Serving Others. Our dedicated store, distribution and private fleet teams continue to work diligently to meet our customers’ needs, especially as we see increased demand and stock-up behaviors.”
Biden transition team brings back key CFPB players
President-elect Joe Biden is creating transition teams as he prepares for Inauguration Day in January, and there is a very familiar name at the top of the transition team for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Leandra English, the hand-picked successor of former CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision passed (and fought for) by President Donald Trump’s administration, a new CFPB director is widely expected to be one of the early actions Biden will make once in office.

Just before Cordray stepped down in November 2017, he promoted English from chief of staff to deputy director, positioning her to take over as acting director upon Cordray’s departure. But the Trump administration fought back against Cordray’s choice and installed former Acting Director Mick Mulvaney.
The Average Older American Has This Much in Retirement Savings.
If there were a magic savings number that guaranteed financial security throughout retirement, saving for that milestone would be a lot easier. But that magic number can't exist because everyone is different. You may want to spend your retirement traveling the globe and living in a major city, while someone else may want to spend his or her senior years spending time with family and staying local.

Still, it helps to have a savings target in mind when it comes to your 401(k) or IRA, and so to that end, you may find it useful to know what the average older American has socked away for retirement. And to this end, Schwab has an answer. In a recent survey, it found that the average U.S. adult aged 55 to 75 has an impressive $920,400 on hand.
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