February 6, 2020
AFSPA Partner


Economy: Personal Income Is Up in All States

Federal Aid Boosts Personal Income in Farm States

Agricultural states received an economic boost in the third quarter of 2019 after the federal government resumed special assistance payments to farmers amid ongoing trade disputes. States in the Farm Belt and the West recorded the highest growth in the combined personal income of their residents over the past year. However, most farm states still trailed national personal income gains since the Great Recession began.

For the third quarter in a row, all states experienced inflation-adjusted increases in the sum of personal income received by their residents compared with a year earlier. Federal subsidies for farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs resumed in August. Although farmers in every state received payments, some states benefited far more than others.

Iowa-where farmers received more dollars from the Agriculture Department's Market Facilitation Program than those in any other state-registered the fastest inflation-adjusted personal income 
Read more at The Pew Charitable Trusts

AFSPA Partner


Speed of Payments: Which Payment Method is Fastest?
Posted by Kristen Hoyman

When people consider adding payment processing to their business operations, their first thought is credit and debit cards quickly followed by ACH and check processing. The truth is, there are a lot of options out there, and they all come with their own unique benefits.

While digital payment methods, such as digital wallets and near field communication (NFC) payments, are growing in popularity, the three primary non-cash payment methods are credit/debit cards, ACH, and physical checks. It's sensible for businesses to offer multiple payment methods - it's a convenience for customers and ultimately means more payments and fewer delinquencies for the business.

But of the three most common methods, which one is the fastest?
Read more

Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis

Decade After Recession, Tax Revenue Higher in 45 States

A decade after the Great Recession ended, the number of states in which tax collections had fully recovered jumped to 45-the highest yet, after accounting for inflation-as most states closed out their 2019 budget year. Still, the size and speed of each state's recovery varied widely, and recent growth showed signs of receding.

As the United States entered its longest economic recovery on record, total state tax revenue at the end of the second quarter of 2019 was at its highest level since falling during the 2007-09 recession. Collections were 16 percent above their 2008 peak, just before revenue plunged, after adjusting for inflation and averaging across four quarters to smooth seasonal fluctuations.

The results mean that states collectively had the equivalent of 16 cents more in purchasing power for every $1 they collected at their recession-era peak more than a decade earlier.
Read more at The Pew Charitable Trusts


Over two-thirds back 36 percent cap on loan interest rates: poll

Strong majorities of Democratic, Republican and independent registered voters support a federal cap on interest rates that could pass the House later this year, according to poll results shared Tuesday with The Hill.

Seventy percent of registered voters said they approved of limiting interest rates on consumer loans to 36 percent, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit that supports stronger lending safeguards for consumers.

Seventy-two percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents expressed some level of support for the rate cap. Just 12 percent of registered voters polled expressed opposition to the rate cap, while 18 percent said they were either undecided or didn't have an opinion about the measure.
Read more at THE HILL


Swiping their way higher: Visa, Mastercard could be the next $1 trillion companies

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tech and internet titans were the first to reach $1 trillion in stock market value, but the next U.S. companies that could do so are better known for their plastic.

Soaring stock prices are propelling credit and debit card companies Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc up the market value charts, where they currently rank 7th and 11th among companies in the benchmark S&P 500 index. The stock prices of both Visa and Mastercard have gained roughly 50% in the past year.

While the stocks may not keep up that torrid pace, Visa and Mastercard would each be worth over $1 trillion by 2023 if their average annual gains of the past three years were to continue, surging past the likes of Facebook Inc and Berkshire Hathaway Inc, if they also maintain their recent pace.
Read more at REUTERS



ACH Payment Processing: Four Ways to Streamline Operations. from PAYLIANCE

Without an electronic payment model such as ACH payment processing, fund disbursal can be a lengthy and cumbersome process. The ACH network provides a cost-effective framework where lenders can quickly and efficiently deliver funds to borrowers and collect repayments.

ACH payment processing not only empowers lenders to quickly send funds to borrowers but is also generally a lower cost option than debit card, delivering a cost-effective and streamlined payment solution. ACH processing empowers lenders to streamline business operations in these four important ways:

Same-Day ACH
Same-day ACH credits* allow lenders to provide funds to borrowers in the same banking day that a loan is approved. Same-day ACH enables lenders to quickly deliver borrowers funds on short notice at a lower cost than a wire or card payment, streamlining the lending process in emergencies.

This important to lenders in a variety of ways:
  • This speed increases customer satisfaction.
  • It provides a competitive advantage for online lenders.
  • This process reduces cash handling at retail locations.
  • Same-day ACH saves money by being cheaper than writing checks for a borrower to cash.

Read more at PAYLIANCE



Know your data: Our updated list of reporting companies

You may know that your credit records affect your ability to get an affordable loan, a job, an apartment, or many other essentials of daily life. But, do you know where and how to actually request your consumer reports and what you can do once you order them?

Over the past few years, we have updated and published a list of consumer reporting companies. Today, we present you with an updated list. You can filter and search the list online. This year's list includes the following features:

Information to request a report. This includes the latest company name and contact information from the three nationwide consumer reporting companies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) and dozens of specialty reporting companies. We sort the companies by market area, such as employment, tenant, bank, subprime, or insurance.
New tips on which specialty reports might be important for you to fact-check depending on your specific situation. With the exception of employment screening, you can be rejected without warning based on the information in your consumer reports. When you know a consumer report is going to be used in a decision about you, check your consumer reporting information ahead of time.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau



How Businesses Can Grow Revenue Through Extending Low-Risk Credit. by MicroBilt News

Organizations are always looking for avenues to grow revenue and profits. One way to do so is by extending credit options to customers in need of financial assistance.

Unfortunately, millions of individuals in the US are unbanked or underbanked. As a result, they have zero credit history with any of the traditional credit institutions. Without access to this important info, businesses face considerable risk in extending credit to these customers with unknown credit histories.

Thankfully, the availability and growing popularity of alternative credit reporting can significantly reduce these risks associated with serving the unbanked and underbanked. Below, we'll explore exactly how businesses can grow their bottom lines by extending low-risk credit to such customers.

Why Should Businesses Offer Credit Options?
Many businesses don't realize that extending credit is an effective way to attract customers and build lucrative, long-term relationships.

Read more at MICROBILT


Banks Expect Tighter Consumer Loan Standards

Significant net shares of banks expect performance to deteriorate in 2020 for both credit card and auto loans to nonprime borrowers, according to the Fed.

U.S. banks expect to tighten lending standards this year, reflecting concerns over loan performance, particularly in the consumer sector.

The Federal Reserve's quarterly survey of senior loan officers found that significant net shares of banks expect performance to deteriorate in 2020 for both credit card and auto loans to nonprime borrowers.

As a result, 18.4% of banks said they expected to tighten credit-card lending standards, and 8.9% said they expected to tighten them for auto loans.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Auto and credit-card loans have emerged as an area of concern over the past year, following reports by the New York Fed showing that delinquency rates on cars and credit cards have been creeping up, particularly among households with lower credit scores."
Read more at CFO


Why Consumers Are Firing Traditional Retailers

"Jobs to be done" - a theory popularized by the late Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen - is the notion that consumers don't buy products, but they hire them to perform a task they need done.

Extending that analogy to retail, one could look at the data on the decline of mall and retail store foot traffic, the increase in retail store closures and bankruptcies, and disappointing retail sales and margins in an economic environment of increased consumer spending, and might conclude that consumers aren't hiring brick-and-mortar retailers to get their shopping jobs done the way they once did.

But it's more than that. Read more at PYMNTS.COM

Dreher Tomkies LLP

Visa planning biggest changes to U.S. swipe fees in a decade: Bloomberg

(Reuters) - Visa Inc is planning the biggest changes in a decade to the rates U.S. merchants pay to accept its cards, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing a document Visa sent to banks.

Interchange rates of the world's largest payment processor will go up or down depending on the merchant and the way consumers pay for their purchases, the report said.

Higher rates are looming for transactions on e-commerce sites, while retailers in certain services categories such as real estate and education will see fees decline, the report added.

"Based on the most recent review in the U.S., Visa is adjusting its default U.S. interchange rate structure to optimize acceptance and usage and reflect the current value of Visa products," Visa said in the document.
Read more at REUTERS


Giving ATMs Next-Gen Upgrades For Security, Cardless Functionality And More

Brick-and-mortar financial institutions (FIs) compete with digital-only competitors that often take advantage of lower - or nonexistent - physical buildout costs. The former are thus being forced to prove that on-the-ground presences offer added value to consumers, and new technological implementations are helping them create swifter, more comprehensive services through customer-facing staples.

ATMs are standard in most FIs' operations. They allow consumers to skip lines at branches, quickly make deposits and complete other basic services, and they enable those with debit cards to grab cash when branches may not be available. FIs that seek to appeal to on-the-go users are now giving these machines upgrades, offering everything from check cashing and enhanced account generation to improved consumer banking processes.

The following Deep Dive examines how next-gen ATMs are boosting customers' experiences and helping brick-and-mortar FIs remain current.
Read more at PYMNTS.COM


Advance Financial

Advance Financial wins Gold in One Planet Awards

NASHVILLE, TN - Nashville-based fintech company Advance Financial announced today that it received a Gold One Planet Award for Fastest Growing Company of the Year in 2019. This is the second year the company has received recognition in this category, winning a silver prize in 2018.

The international One Planet Awards honor best in business and professional excellence. Organizations from all over the world are eligible to submit nominations, including public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, largest to smallest and new start-ups.

In three years, Advance Financial's gross revenue grew 219 percent - which not only garnered a Gold One Planet Award, but also landed it on the 2019 Nashville Business Journal Fast 50 list, as well as the 2019 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in the nation for the eighth year in a row. Read more at The Tennessee Tribune


Alternative Financial Service Providers Association

315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092