May 25, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Banks to offer credit cards to people without credit scores

It will soon be possible to get a credit card even if you don’t have a credit score.

As early as this fall, banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp will launch a collective pilot program that factors in data from applicants’ savings and checking accounts to boost their chances of getting a credit card, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The program will include data from across banks and is aimed at helping those who are financially responsible but haven’t been able to build credit apply and get credit cards, signaling a major shift in access that could help millions of American adults establish and boost credit.

“It can definitely be a game changer for those that perhaps haven’t been able to be afforded the opportunity to extend credit previously,” said Greg Giardino, a certified financial planner and financial advisor at J.M. Franklin & Company in Tarrytown, New York. “I think it’s a great idea.”

Paving the Payments Future
U.S. Banks Could Shed 200,000 Jobs in Decade in Efficiency Drive

U.S. banks could cut as many as 200,000 jobs in the next decade as they try to boost efficiency to compete with fintech and other upstarts encroaching on their territory, according to Wells Fargo & Co.

The eliminations are likely to accelerate as the economy reopens following the Covid-19 pandemic and conditions normalize, Wells Fargo analysts led by Mike Mayo said in a note, adding that “this will be the biggest reduction in U.S. bank headcount in history.” Banks have little choice but to improve productivity in the face of stiffening competition from fintech, technology and retail firms, he said.

Non-banks offering lower-cost products online have steadily chipped away at the businesses of traditional lenders, with efforts intensifying over the past year as the pandemic pushed consumers to digital options. Earlier this year, Walmart Inc. lured a pair of senior Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers to run its fledgling fintech startup — a move that struck fear on Wall Street. Mainstream lenders have pleaded with regulators to halt efforts by retailers and startups to offer core banking products.

The Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced today that the first monthly payment of the expanded and newly-advanceable Child Tax Credit (CTC) from the American Rescue Plan will be made on July 15. Roughly 39 million households—covering 88% of children in the United States—are slated to begin receiving monthly payments without any further action required.

IRS and Treasury also announced the increased CTC payments will be made on the 15th of each month unless the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday. Families who receive the credit by direct deposit can plan their budgets around receipt of the benefit. Eligible families will receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child age 6 and above.

The State of Household Debt in America

American households are becoming increasingly indebted.

In 2003, total household debt was $7.23 trillion, but that figure has recently doubled to $14.56 trillion in 2020. With just under 130 million households in the country, this equates to an average of $118,000 of debt per household.

Here’s how the various forms of U.S. household debt compare.
Mortgages: Steep Price to Pay for Home Ownership
Making up roughly 70% of all household debt, and growing $5.1 trillion since 2003, mortgage debt now stands at $10.04 trillion.

A fundamental driver of mortgage activity is interest rates. Given the two variables tend to have an inverse relationship with one another, interest rates have a big impact on the affordability of housing. As long as U.S. interest rates remain near 200-year lows, its likely mortgages will maintain at elevated levels.

Post office, Fed checking accounts won't solve underbanking, trade groups say

Banking trade groups urged officials to consider creating alternative forms of identification low- to middle-income (LMI) consumers can show to access financial services, according to a paper published Tuesday.

The organizations, including the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association and The Clearing House, particularly castigated proposals to offer checking accounts through the Federal Reserve or offer banking services at the post office, saying the driver licenses or passports necessary to use such services may be expensive for some demographics.

"Instead of establishing a large, duplicative and potentially expensive banking infrastructure to create bank accounts through the Federal Reserve or the U.S. Postal Service (postal banking), there are more effective and less costly ways to address the unbanked/underbanked challenge," the groups said in a statement Tuesday.

One-third of people who delayed mortgage payments during COVID-19 used cash for groceries, utilities

One of the lifelines for homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic has been forbearance, an ability to skip or make smaller monthly payments on mortgages under the CARES Act, leaving them more cash for emergencies.

Still, the majority of people who went into forbearance remain stressed about getting – and staying – on track with mortgage payments, according to the results of a survey by Credit Karma which was exclusively shared with USA TODAY.

About 2.2 million homeowners had entered forbearance plans as of April 25, 2021, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. In May 2020, more than 4 million U.S. mortgages were in forbearance.

FTC Data Shows Huge Spike in Cryptocurrency Investment Scams

New data spotlight points to more than ten-fold increase in reported losses in last 12 months

Since October 2020, consumers have reported losing more than $80 million to cryptocurrency investment scams, an increase of more than ten-fold year-over-year, according to a new data analysis from the Federal Trade Commission.

In a new consumer protection data spotlight, the FTC breaks down the contents of nearly 7,000 reports received from consumers about these scams in the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The median amount consumers reported losing to the scams was $1,900.

The spotlight notes that cryptocurrency investment scams take on a variety of forms, sometimes starting as offers of investment “tips” or “secrets” in online message boards that lead people to bogus investment websites. Another common form of the scam involves a promise that a celebrity associated with cryptocurrency will multiply any cryptocurrency you send to their wallet and send it back. In fact, consumers reported losing more than $2 million to Elon Musk impersonators alone since October.

Credit Scores ‘May Lose Some Power’ After Covid, Fed Warns

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York warned that credit scores -- the all-powerful number that can determine if a consumer is able to qualify for a loan, rent a home or even buy car insurance -- might have gotten less reliable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Scores for homeowners who took advantage of payment relief on their mortgages actually rose an average of 14 points over the course of the pandemic, according to a new analysis by the New York Fed. That was a bigger jump than the seven-point increase seen among borrowers that didn’t take forbearance on their loans.

“This is because, although they were not making payments, their credit reports are treated as if they’re making continued payments for credit-scoring purposes and account histories,” researchers for the New York Fed said Wednesday in a blog post. “The concept of the credit score, a device to distinguish good borrowers from bad borrowers, may lose some of its power in signaling creditworthiness to lenders, at least for some time.”

Bank Lobbyists Blast Lawmakers' Plans For ‘Unbanked' Americans

The biggest U.S. banks criticized a pair of proposals designed to help consumers who don’t use their services.

Lawmakers’ recent proposals, such as opening bank branches in post offices or offering Federal Reserve checking accounts to every U.S. consumer, may not work to resolve the problem of the so-called unbanked Americans, industry trade groups argued in a paper published Tuesday.

Instead, they urged officials to consider creating new types of identification that consumers can show to access financial services, or encouraging Americans to open low-cost bank accounts when they’re enrolling to receive government assistance.

“Instead of establishing a large, duplicative and potentially expensive banking infrastructure to create bank accounts through the Federal Reserve or the U.S. Postal Service (postal banking), there are more effective and less costly ways to address the unbanked/underbanked challenge,” the trade groups said in a statement accompanying the paper.

The groups represent U.S. banks and credit unions and include the Clearing House, the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Mid-Sized Bank Coalition of America and the National Bankers Association.

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