AFSPA
ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
August 1, 2019

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Fed Cuts Interest Rates For 1st Time Since 2008

The Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates for the first time in over a decade - a preemptive move aimed at extending the already record-long economic expansion.

The Fed on Wednesday lowered its target for the key federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point. The move should decrease the cost of borrowing, including for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.

The rate cut - the first since the Great Recession - had been widely expected, but it marks a turnaround for the Fed. As of late last year, the central bank was expecting to continue raising rates in 2019.

The U.S. economy is still growing at a modest pace. And, at 3.7%, unemployment is near a 50-year low. But the central bank is concerned that trade tensions with China and slowing growth in other countries could put the brakes on the economy, just as many Americans are beginning to enjoy the benefits of a slow-moving recovery.

In announcing the rate cut, Fed officials pointed to sluggish business investment and inflation that's been running stubbornly below the central bank's 2% target.
Read more at National Public Radio


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LeadSherpa is a lead acquisition platform that combines lead management tools with automated optimization technology to drive lead performance. Easy to use controls simplify campaign management while optimization software powers the acquisition of profitable customers.

Many Americans Still Face Financial Instability Despite Economic Growth

Interviews show continued challenges linked to income, job markets, and family situations

National labor market data over the last few years show a strong, high-performing economy, but those big-picture numbers do not include microeconomic indicators that reflect the more difficult reality of many Americans' financial lives.

For example, a recent Gallup survey shows that 40 percent of Americans say they are running into debt or barely making ends meet. A third of respondents in a 2014 Pew Charitable Trusts survey reported having no savings, and more recent polling shows that many people do not have sufficient resources on hand to deal with an emergency.

To gain additional insight into the way Americans are affected by the changing economy and what they want out of it, Pew conducted a series of in-depth interviews in 2018 with a diverse group of workers and employers in eight cities and three rural areas around the country. The workers had salaries of no more than $75,000 a year. The interviews focused on the interrelationships between employer and employee needs-and people's sense of their economic mobility.

The results highlight the continued economic pressures many people feel, despite the nation's low unemployment rate and record high stock market. Many Americans in this wage bracket continue to struggle to balance work and family or make career changes that could give them more financial security. Read more at Pew Charitable Trusts

Repay
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Home and auto scams top list of consumer complaints in 2018

The biggest and most frequent consumer complaint last year? Shoddy home repair and construction, according to an annual ranking compiled by the Consumer Federation of America.

Buying or leasing a lemon was biggest consumer car complaint in 2018, the latest CFA poll of state and local consumer agencies nationwide found.

Medical-billing problems are among the fastest-growing categories of complaints, the CFA said.

Here is probably the most useful piece of advice these days from the collective wisdom of 35 consumer agencies across the country that guard ordinary Americans against scammers and fraudsters: If you're ever buying, leasing or renting a car, or seeing your car towed, bring out the cell phone and take pictures.

That's one of the takeaways from the Consumer Federation of America's 24th annual survey of the 10 top consumer complaints as reported by a poll of state and local agencies nationwide. The list generally doesn't change much from year to year, but there often are variations on existing fraud, such as using Facebook and other social media to troll for victims. There also are tales of new ways that consumer agencies fight back, according to the latest CFA list, released Tuesday.
Read more at CBS NEWS

CFSA

The Community Financial Services Association of America was formed in 1999 to promote laws and regulations that protect consumers while preserving access to credit options and to support and encourage responsible practices within the short-term loan industry.


Women like Christine Lagarde are the world's best hope to prevent another financial crisis

Female superior ability in the financial sector may have something to do with nurture as well as nature.

Christine Lagarde, managing director and chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund since 2011, was recently nominated to be president of the European Central Bank, which sets policy for the 19 nations that use the euro. This is encouraging news. We desperately need stronger financial sector governance - and women like Lagarde have repeatedly demonstrated a mindset that looks better suited to exercise that responsibility.

In the wake of the 2008 economic collapse, back in 2010, I was sitting on a finance panel discussing the disappointing financial reforms proposed by the House of Representatives, when the moderator asked: If you had only one wish to heal the financial sector, what would it be?

"Only women should be allowed to regulate finance!" I answered then. "Brooksley Born, Sheila Bair, Janet Yellen and Elizabeth Warren. If they had been running financial regulation since 1990, we would not have had this crisis!"

Granted, I don't know whether women could have exercised the power in our political economy to reign in the financial sector so effectively that they would have prevented a crisis. But I continue to believe that the perspective of these female leaders could greatly contribute to a sounder and more productive financial sector that would benefit society.
Read more at NBC NEWS

MaxDecisions
Lending as a Service


PRESS RELEASE
Alchemy

Alchemy Integrates with Twillio & Sendgrid to Redefine FinTech Lending Experience

Alchemy FinTech Lending System announces today the full integration with Twilio and Sendgrid to build out the next generation of FinTech lending workflow.

Banks and FinTech are ever-increasing worried about a fast, accurate and friendly consumer onboarding process.
Alchemy has been working on solving some of the most difficult onboarding issues with some of the newest FinTech players in student lending, point of sale financing and home improvement space.

Having a secure, automated and real-time mobile phone and email verification service has become table stakes for most of the FinTech lending platforms out there.
Alchemy's FinTech Lending Operating System has seamlessly integrated with some of the most advanced email and mobile phones verification service providers such as Twilio and Sendgrid.

We have recently announced our successful integration with Solutions By Text. To provide more options and choices for our clients to further their customer onboarding experience, we partnered with Twilio to provide a different mobile and web experience in terms of a mobile phone number verification process.

Our email solutions partner Sendgrid has the state of the art email verification solution that's quick, user-friendly and provides a robust set of APIs for a set of solid integration points.

TransUnion
Alt Data is the key to compete effectively

Payday loan mogul Scott Tucker's possessions draw crowd - and money - at estate sale

More than 1,000 people paid a visit to Leawood's tony Hallbrook neighborhood last month to buy up $85,626 worth of imprisoned payday loan businessman Scott Tucker's abandoned possessions at an estate sale, according to a recent court filing.

That's nearly eight times as much as what an official with Brown Button Estate Sale Services, which conducted Tucker's estate sale on June 28-30, told a television reporter that estate sales normally fetch. More than $40,000 worth of items were sold within the first three hours of the sale.

People bought Tucker's professional racing memorabilia, furniture, exercise equipment and other property left behind after he was sent to serve a 16-year, eight-month prison sentence and his wife abandoned the house earlier this year. The Internal Revenue Service has since seized the $2 million house that backs up to the Hallbrook Country Club golf course.

Tucker's house was featured prominently in a Netflix documentary series called Dirty Money, an episode of which explored Tucker's enterprises and featured interviews and footage inside the house. Read more at KANSAS CITY STAR

Trust Science
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Why self-regulation of social media could work - the financial services model

Trust in social media companies is eroding. At the recent White House Social Media Summit, the president's 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, decried "social media platforms . . . banning conservative voices and supporters of the president." Meanwhile, progressives blame Facebook and Twitter for the president being elected in the first place, citing a campaign of disinformation spread by Russian trolls.

In response, social media companies are taking steps to increase trust on internet platforms. Facebook and YouTube have built huge teams and sophisticated technology to police violations of their self-defined community standards. In a recently released report, Facebook describes tens of millions of posts it reviewed for questionable content, ranging from nudity to terrorist propaganda. News reports suggest Facebook is building a "supreme court" of up to forty individuals to decide "important and disputed" cases.

While these efforts are laudable, they are likely not enough to rebuild public trust or ameliorate regulators. The lack of alternatives to many social media platforms in the market means that if Facebook or Twitter is biased against particular viewpoints, there isn't anywhere for people holding those views to go.
Read more at THE HILL

Dreher Tomkies LLP
Dreher Tomkies LLP is a law firm concentrating in the areas of Banking and Financial Services law.
 
Americans have become much less positive about tech companies' impact on the U.S.

Four years ago, technology companies were widely seen as having a positive impact on the United States. But the share of Americans who hold this view has tumbled 21 percentage points since then, from 71% to 50%

Negative views of technology companies' impact on the country have nearly doubled during this period, from 17% to 33%, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Nearly one-in-five (18%) now volunteer their impact has been neither positive nor negative or that it is mixed, or they offer no opinion.

The survey, which asks about the impact of seven major institutions and groups - including banks, universities, the news media and religious organizations - finds that no more than about half of U.S. adults say any of them are having a positive effect on the country.

There are substantial partisan differences in these views, but the gap between Democrats and Republicans is relatively modest when it comes to technology companies: Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are 10 percentage points more likely than Republicans and GOP leaners to say these firms have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country (54% vs. 44%). Since 2015, there have been similar declines in positive views among members of both parties. Read more at Pew Research Center

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Fintech state regulation proficiency examined

Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) personnel maintain state financial regulators possess the expertise, data, and real-time insight into how companies are interacting with consumers and functioning in the marketplace.

During a recent task force session Washington Department of Financial Institutions Director Charlie Clark, representing the CSBS on a regulators panel, addressed fintech regulation before the House Committee on Financial Services' Task Force on Financial Technology.

Clark, who also chairs the CSBS Non-Depository Supervisory Committee, said the current intersection between financial services and technology has accelerated change in the industry and for the state system.

"With industry participation, we are leveraging technology and data to create a more networked system of state regulation that functions more efficiently, with stronger consumer protections," he said. Read more at Financial Regulation News

  NDH
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.

House hearing looks at the impact of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on small businesses

The House Committee on Small Business held a hearing this week that explored the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on small business.

The hearing - titled "Is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a Help or Hinderance to Main Street?" - featured testimony from small business owners and tax experts on how the law has affected operations since it was enacted on Dec. 22, 2017.

One of the speakers was past chairman of the National Small Business Association Grafton Willey. Willey said that while the new tax law made some tax cuts, it increased the overall complexity for small businesses and their tax practitioners.

"There are some good things in the legislation, there are some bad things in the legislation," Willey said. "And while I think it's overall impact is positive, there is no question that more should be done to ensure simplification, fairness, and long-term sustainability."

Willey made a slew of recommendations to improve it. Overall, he said it should be simplified. He also said the rates for individuals and small businesses should be made permanent. He would also like to see it close the state and local tax (SALT) limitation and make permanent the R&D tax credit. Further, Willey advocated for the increased estate tax and AMT exemption to be made permanent. Read more at Financial Regulation News

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Scams involving your Social Security number and benefits are on the rise

Have you received a call or voicemail from someone warning that your Social Security number or benefits are suspended due to suspicious activity? Scammers are hoping you'll be scared into believing their claims. They usually ask you to confirm your Social Security number and pay money to "reactivate" your number, protect it, or restore your benefits.

Social Security scams are on the rise
Social Security scams now outnumber other types of scams, including Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scams, which were formerly the most common. Pretending to be a representative of the government is a common way for fraudsters to trick people into giving up their money or personal information. Knowing how to tell the difference between a scammer and a genuine call from the federal government is important.

Here are the facts:
The government will not threaten to take away benefits or ask for money or personal information to protect your Social Security card or benefits.
Scammers can fake your caller ID, so don't be fooled if the call seems to be from the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) real phone number or the SSA Inspector General's Fraud Hotline number. You can always call the Social Security Administration directly at (800) 772-1213 to find out if they are really trying to reach you. Read more at CFPB

microbilt
Alternative Credit Reporting

Have a Capital One credit card? Then take these 5 steps

If you're among the 106 million individuals who hold a Capital One credit card or who applied for one, your personal data - including self-reported income and birth date - could be in the hands of scammers. Experts recommend taking the five steps below to keep your finances safe.

Capital One disclosed on Monday that a hacker gained access to the personal information of over 100 million individuals applying for credit. Among those, 140,000 customers had their Social Security numbers stolen, and about 80,000 had their linked bank account numbers swiped, Capital One said.

While the McLean, Virginia-based bank said Monday it found out about the vulnerability in its system July 19 and immediately sought help from law enforcement to catch the perpetrator, that means scammers could already have had several days of access to your data. Yet there have been so many data breaches at all kinds of companies and institutions over the past few years that you should assume your data is already available to scammers, they add.
Read more at CBS NEWS

AFSPA
ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION

Alternative Financial Service Providers Association
757.737.4088

315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092
dan@afspassociation.com
www.afspassociation.com