July 18, 2019

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I'm an economist and I support payday loans.
Gary Wolfram is the William Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Director of Economics at Hillsdale College.

A recent article in Bridge Magazine told the stories of people who got in over their heads using payday loans and needed to be rescued from the debt cycle that ensued. Stories like these incite many to condemn the companies that sell these products in fact, legislation has been introduced in Michigan to further restrict access to these types of loans.

The Legislature should tread carefully, however. For despite these anecdotes, payday loans and other similar financial products serve a valuable purpose for many Michiganders.

It's easy to see why payday loans get such a bad rap. Most people have borrowed money for a home, a car or college tuition but the long-term loans offered by conventional lenders charge relatively low annual fees and interest rates.

Comparing their rates with what's charged for payday loans makes the latter look like a rip-off: The annual percentage rate of a payday loan can be more than 400 percent. But assessing short-term loans with the measures used to evaluate mortgages and car loans is misleading and inappropriate.

Panning payday loans for having a high APR is ill-considered. The money is borrowed only for a short period - a couple of weeks, typically - so figuring out what you would hypothetically pay for a year's interest is practically meaningless. What matters most is the total amount the loan costs the consumer. Read more at Bridge Magazine



Five myths in the military community about personal finance

Over the past eight years, the Bureau's Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA) has engaged with military families throughout the country and even the world. Each year we receive tens of thousands of complaints from servicemembers, veterans and their families about financial products and services. We have heard lots of barracks rumors and scuttlebutt and we hope to arm you with the ground truth about the following topics.

Myth #1: Credit card companies are required to waive annual fees for servicemembers.
Truth: Although a number of credit card companies offer to do this as a way to say "thanks for your service," the law doesn't specifically require them to waive annual fees for servicemembers. However, the law does require that credit card companies disclose all credit card fees to ensure that you can make a true "apples-to-apples" comparison. Have or getting a credit card? Then check out our resource on credit cards to learn more.

Myth #2: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) only helps by lowering interest rates.
Truth: The SCRA provides many important protections and benefits to active-duty servicemembers beyond just the 6 percent interest rate cap for pre-service loans. For example, the SCRA has special protections concerning foreclosure, repossession, default judgments, and more. And for good reason - troops who are deployed "downrange" shouldn't be worried that anyone is going to take away their house or car. Download our SCRA factsheet to learn about what else the SCRA can do for you.

Payliance: Powerful Payment Processing Technology

Retail graveyard: More than 7,000 U.S. stores have closed this year
  • Last year, the U.S. lost 5,864 stores, while 3,258 opened.
  • So far this year, 7,062 have closed, while 3,017 have opened.
  • All told, the retail closures in 2019 could easily double 2018's total -- extending beyond 12,000.

If the carnage in the retail industry seemed bad last year, it pales in comparison to the damage the sector is suffering in 2019. Already above the pace 2018 set, U.S. store closing could exceed 12,000 this year.

That's according to Coresight Research, which pegs the count of retail outlets that have closed in 2019 at 7,062, versus 3,017 stores opening. Last year, 5,864 stores closed and 3,258 opened. Beyond the shuttered facades lining main streets across the country, the human toll in terms of jobs lost is another impact. Challenger, Gray & Christmas counts 53,248 announced retail job cuts through June, compared to 98,563 for all of last year.

Here's a rundown highlighting much of the damage in 2019:
Read more at CBS NEWS

Trust Science
Say "yes" to thin-file and no-hit borrowers with REAL alternative data and a fully compliant, AI-powered score, customized for your business.
Trust Science

A Measure of Trustworthiness
Everyone has a digital footprint of publicly available information. Our complex algorithms use this data to paint a picture of the trustworthiness of individuals & organizations, this is Credit Bureau 2.0™.

Intelligent Search
In a hyper-connected world, thousands of data points are available on any individual. Through intelligent search we can find and connect this information to build a more robust target profile
  • Make use of publicly available information
  • Connect multiple data sources intelligently
  • Create new opportunities by expanding target options

A.I. Analysis
Our technology platform uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to analyze and interpret data, augment target profiles and make better decisions.
  • Rapid learning and pattern recognition
  • Discover growth areas within existing datasets
  • Do more than is possible utilizing traditional computing
Read more at TRUST SCIENCE

Dreher Tomkies LLP
Dreher Tomkies LLP is a law firm concentrating in the areas of Banking and Financial Services law.

Are New Financial Regulations In Your Best Interest?

Across the country, laws that regulate how and why a salesperson can sell you a financial product (insurance, stocks, financial plans, etc.) are changing in attempt to protect consumers.

Here's everything you need to know so far:

What is a fiduciary?
If you're buying a financial product, you want the person selling it to you to be a fiduciary. A fiduciary is legally bound to act in your best interest and make all decisions with your bottom line in mind, not their own.

Unfortunately, the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule was defeated legislatively in 2018. This rule required that anyone providing financial advice be a fiduciary for their clients-which was good for everyone EXCEPT those who rely on commissions for financial product sales.

Good versus suitable.
Instead of a fiduciary standard, the big product shops wanted a SUITABILITY standard. This would require all advice to be suitable for the client at the time, but not necessarily in their best interest. Read more at FORBES

We are a revolutionary merchant service and technology firm servicing the debt repayment industry

How to Make the Monetary System Safer

Investors spent the past week obsessed with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress. But they may have been focused on the wrong thing.

The markets were looking for a sign that the Fed would keep the rally going. But that shortsightedness overlooks the central bank's most important task: monetary stability. When money holds its value, consumers want to spend, and companies want to invest. Monetary instability can damage the economy, and in extreme circumstances, even lead to depressions.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to "regulate the value" of money to prevent these problems. Most money, however, is produced by the private sector: More than 90% of America's money supply takes the form of short-term debt issued by banks and other financial firms, rather than physical currency printed by the Treasury. That private debt is largely backed by risky assets, such as long-term loans to businesses and consumers.

The result is "a monetary system in which the private part is vital, but inherently unstable," as Paul Tucker, the former deputy governor of the Bank of England and the current chairman of the Systemic Risk Council-a nonpartisan body formed by the CFA Institute and the Pew Charitable Trusts-wrote in a recent essay. Read more at BARRON'S

National Debt Holdings is a professional Receivables Management Company that partners with creditors to purchase and/or manage receivables at all stages of the account life cycle.

Amscot Financial contributes mini-grants to 16 non-profit service groups

Amscot Financial, a leading provider of convenient, consumer-oriented financial services, recently awarded mini-grants of $250 to $3,500 to support 16 different non-profit service organizations located in the Florida communities where the company serves several million consumers.

"Doing the right thing means doing right by our community," says Ian MacKechnie, Founder and CEO of Amscot Financial. "By supporting local organizations we can help create a meaningful impact here in our own backyard."

Mini-grants went to the following organizations:

Central Florida Family Health Center Inc, Seminole County. They are a private, non-profit community health center, serving low-income, uninsured, underinsured, and underserved populations in Central Florida. Services include adult and pediatric family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, dentistry, podiatry, pharmacy, laboratory, and X-ray services. For more information, please visit:

Florida Police Athletic League, Brevard County. Their mission is to combat juvenile delinquency by offering young people ages six to 18 a meaningful and effective program designed to harness the positive energy of youth, and to
Read more at AMSCOT

Alternative Credit Reporting

Postal regulation nominees: USPS faces 'very real threat' to long-term viability

The last time Congress reached a solution on reshaping the Postal Service's business model, members from both parties thought they had reached a solution that would put the nation's mail-and-package agency on a sustainable track for the long-term.

But with the Postal Service ending each subsequent year with net losses, and Postmaster General Megan Brennan warning that the agency could run out of cash by 2024, members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Reform Committee asked two longstanding postal experts - both tapped by President Donald Trump to serve as commissioners on the Postal Regulatory Commission - what lawmakers might need to revisit from the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.

"I just want to ask the basic question: What do you think was the best part of postal reform? What went right, and what went wrong, and why are we still talking about fixing the postal system?" Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asked at Tuesday's confirmation hearing.

Ann Fisher, the PRC's director of public affairs and government relations, said a provision in the postal reform law mandating a 10-year USPS rate-setting review by the PRC has come at a critical time for the future of the agency.

Lending as a Service
National Debt Holders

National Debt Holdings Donates $5,000 to the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital

Buffalo, NY, July 9, 2019- National Debt Holdings today announced a $5000.00 donation to the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, New York. This generous donation is part of the Company's Corporate Charitable Giving Program and will help to provide important services to Western New York's chronically ill children and their families.

As the only free-standing Children's Hospital in the state of New York, and one of only 43 in the country, the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital is committed to providing the best care for babies, moms, and kids in Western New York and beyond. The hospital provides pediatric patients and their families with services, resources, and support that provide physical, mental, and emotional healing experiences.

"National Debt Holdings aims to make meaningful change in the communities we serve," says President Jeremy Poehler. "We share the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital's vision of providing hope and health for our neighbors in Western New York, especially our most vulnerable group, chronically ill children. Our National Debt Holdings team is extremely proud to support The Children's Hospital of Buffalo Foundation and help ensure that all children have access to the best healthcare available." Read more at National Debt Holders

We are a revolutionary merchant service and technology firm servicing the debt repayment industry.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today issued an updated advisory to financial institutions urging them to report to the appropriate local, state and federal authorities whenever they suspect that an older adult is the target or victim of financial exploitation. The Bureau also recommended that financial institutions file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with the federal government when they suspect elder financial exploitation (EFE). Today's updated advisory builds on the Bureau's earlier recommendations and its recent research on elder financial abuse. It contains voluntary best practices to help financial institutions prevent and respond to EFE.

"The Bureau is renewing its efforts to alert banks and credit unions to elder financial exploitation as they are uniquely positioned to detect that an older account holder has been targeted or victimized, and to take action," said Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen L. Kraninger. "The Bureau stands ready to work with federal, state and local authorities and financial institutions to protect older adults from abusive financial practices that rob them of their financial security."
Read more at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Alt Data is the key to compete effectively

U.S. Risks Falling Behind the World in Embracing Crypto, Warns 'Crypto Mom' SEC Commissioner

Hester Peirce doesn't mind the "crypto mom" moniker she's garnered for the pro-cryptocurrency stance she's taken in her role on the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"I've always wanted to be a mom," Peirce-who was finally confirmed as one of the SEC's five commissioners last year, after seeing a previous nomination by President Barack Obama fall through in 2016-told Fortune's Jeff Roberts onstage at the annual Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., on Tuesday. "You always get kids that you don't expect, so here we are."

What Peirce is concerned about, however, is the SEC's reluctance to provide a firm guidance on crypto assets. It's a status quo she recently compared to "a regulatory version of an escape room," and a somewhat puzzling one in Peirce's estimation. "If you apply the reasoning that some of my colleagues at the SEC have used, there are lots of things that would [qualify as] securities," she said, citing Starbucks gift cards and Chuck E. Cheese's tokens as examples.

The situation hasn't been alleviated by the SEC's staff statement last week on the trading of "digital asset securities," which Peirce-who noted that her views do not reflect that of the SEC at large-described as "a bit of a clue, and not an answer" to how regulators should supervise the crypto trading environment in a manner that both enables commerce and protects investors.
Read more at FORTUNE

Introducing AI Lift, the AI-powered credit risk web service that leverages uncorrelated alternative data to identify the 20-30% of today's thin-file and no-file borrowers ready to be creditworthy customers.

Alchemy Integrates with Clarity Services, Now a Part of Experian

Alchemy Technology, Inc., industry-leading lending as a service organization today announce the full integration with Clarity Services, now a part of Experian.

The new-to-credit and subprime lending space is maturing for the past decade and Clarity Services has been on the forefront of working with banks, lenders and financial services organization across the credit spectrum. Recently, Clarity Services was purchased by Experian, one of the premier credit reporting agencies in the United States.

Since the Experian and Clarity's partnership is announced, newer analytical tools both in credit risk and fraud risk have been co-developed by their data scientists to further strengthen their offerings into the new-to-credit, alternative credit and subprime lending space.

We are pleased to work with Clarity Services to add additional analytical toolsets to our customers in point of sale, student lending and home improvement verticals. The newly developed Clarity Credit Risk Score, Clarity Fraud Insight Scores will be made available for existing and new clients of Alchemy. Our early validation of the newly released Clarity Risk Score has shown tremendous coverage and lift over their previous offer.

Redefining how financial service businesses measure risk and process payments.

Why Libra Could Be a Lightning Rod for Big Tech Regulation

The Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act would bar tech giants with $25 billion or more in revenue from offering financial and payments services. The draft proposal was released as House and Senate committees prepare for hearings on Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency.

Ahead of hearings on Capitol Hill this week examining the ramifications of Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency, a draft bill from House Democrats has been circulating, and its name makes the intent clear: the Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act.

As calls to regulate the tech industry have ramped up over the past several years, the primary target has been Facebook. Last week, years after the 2016 election and the public fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it was reported that the social media giant will be hit with a $5 billion FTC fine over privacy violations.

While the actual amount isn't much of a hit to the company's bottom line (Facebook reported $15 billion in revenue in Q1 2019 alone), the FTC settlement is also "expected to include other government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy." The US doesn't yet have federal data-privacy regulations on the scale of the EU's GDPR, but the road to get there starts with state regulations and concrete governmental actions to get the ball rolling.
Read more at PC Magazine


Alternative Financial Service Providers Association

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