February 16, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Credit unions top Fed survey of small-business lending satisfaction

  • About 87% of small businesses that applied for a loan, a line of credit or a cash advance in 2020 with a credit union reported being satisfied, according to a Federal Reserve small-business credit survey released Wednesday. That proportion outweighs borrower satisfaction with small banks, defined as having less than $10 billion in assets (81%); large banks, with $10 billion or more (68%); finance companies (60%); and online lenders (43%).
  • Particularly, when asked about the support they received during the pandemic from their primary financial services provider, 70% of community development financial institution (CDFI) customers reported being satisfied, compared with 61% for small banks, 48% for credit unions, 41% for large banks, 26% for finance companies and 18% for online lenders, the survey found.

Paving the Payments Future
How States Can Direct Economic Development to Places and People in Need

Strategies to strengthen place-based programs, better support distressed areas

Data from an array of sources has shown that Americans who grow up in economically distressed areas experience lower-performing schools, higher crime rates, a variety of health and environmental hazards, and less upward mobility. The consequences of these disadvantages have been on stark display during the coronavirus pandemic as low-income neighborhoods and racial and ethnic minority communities have disproportionately borne the virus’s toll.

To address local disparities and help struggling areas thrive, governments at all levels have spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the past 40 years on a range of geographically targeted, or “place-based,” economic development programs—mostly in the form of financial incentives—designed to boost job creation and business investment, incentivize real estate development, or increase property values in specific places.

Important reminders before filing 2020 tax returns

WASHINGTON — Following an unpredictable year with many changes and challenges, the Internal Revenue Service today shared important reminders for taxpayers who are about to file their 2020 federal tax returns.

Choose direct deposit
The safest, most accurate and fastest way to get a refund is to electronically file and choose direct deposit. Direct deposit means any tax refund is electronically deposited for free into a taxpayer's financial account.

Virginia-based bank provides Bitcoin access at ATMs

  • Charlottesville, Virginia-based Blue Ridge Bank will offer access to Bitcoin at its 19 branch and off-site ATMs, it said Wednesday, claiming it is the first commercial bank in the U.S. to do so.
  • Blue Ridge is partnering with ATM operator BluePoint ATM Solutions and Bitcoin ATM software provider LibertyX to facilitate access to the cryptocurrency.
  • Blue Ridge Bank's announcement comes as banks and regulators appear to be warming to digital assets, and as Bitcoin continues to gain value and attention.

CFPB calls out companies that lag on complaint response

The bureau's efforts to repair relations with consumers and strengthen enforcement follow a move by the SEC to expand the authority to launch formal investigations.

At least two financial regulators this week stepped up their commitment to strengthen enforcement. In a blog post Wednesday, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Dave Uejio called out companies that have been slow to address consumer complaints — and said consumer advocates have found disparities in some companies' responses to concerns raised by Black, Brown and indigenous people.

"This is unacceptable," Uejio wrote. "Elevating the voices of those consumers who are suffering due to the pandemic and from racial inequity is the most important way to ensure that the CFPB is doing the best we can for those who need our help the most at this moment in history."

Tax changes could mean bigger tax refunds for many

Many taxpayers will face numerous tax changes on their federal returns this season after the government put in place various stimulus provisions to provide financial relief during the pandemic. That could mean a higher tax refund for many this year.

But for those who relied on unemployment insurance, they could have a smaller refund if taxes weren't withheld from their benefits payments.

"The thing that is really new this year is COVID," Kathy Pickering, H&R Block’s chief tax officer, told Yahoo Money. "It has brought so many uncertainties to nearly everyone's taxes."

The tax-filing season officially begins on Friday, February 12, with the Internal Revenue Service now accepting returns. Taxpayers have until April 15 to file their 2020 returns with the IRS.

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The Bureau is taking much-needed action to protect consumers, particularly the most economically vulnerable

Last week, I was honored to have been appointed Acting Director of the CFPB by the President. Having joined the Bureau in 2011, I have seen firsthand the impact of the Bureau’s mission and the incredible work being done by its staff. I know that the Bureau’s staff shares my devotion to the Bureau’s mission, and I look forward to serving in this latest capacity.

In furtherance of that mission, I shared the following statement to everyone at the CFPB. Since our work affects the lives of so many people, I thought it appropriate to share it publicly:

Hello all,

I am following up on my initial email reflecting the new priorities and focus of the CFPB. In particular, I would like to convey my broad vision for SEFL in the coming months.

But first, I want to thank everyone for their hard work during these trying times. I know it has been a tough year for everyone working and living through a pandemic, and that you all have pushed through despite tragedy and loss. This email conveys a change of direction, but it is not intended as a criticism of how our professional team executed on the prior leadership’s direction.

IRS Tax Brackets: Here’s How Much You’ll Pay in 2021 on What You Earned in 2020

Your 2020 tax bracket and federal tax rate are both crucial pieces of information if you want to keep as much of your money as possible. The first step to surviving tax season is to know which bracket you fall into and which category you’ll file under. From there, do everything possible to reduce your taxable income — without concealing income, of course. If you’re uncertain about anything, ask for advice from a professional and use an income tax calculator.

Here’s an overview of what you’ll find in this guide to IRS tax brackets:

  • What Is My Tax Bracket?
  • What Is a Tax Bracket?
  • How Tax Brackets Work

Consumers and their experiences to be at the foundation of CFPB policymaking

As consumers of financial products and services, you deserve a Bureau designed to serve and listen to you, the American people. Last week I met with staff from the Division of Consumer Education and External Affairs (CEEA). During the meeting, I listened to CEEA leadership and staff suggest how CEEA could most effectively implement my policy priorities. Today, I shared with CEEA what I am asking of them.

The directions I provided today will ensure consumer voices are heard throughout, and at every level, of the Bureau. From rulemaking to COVID education to increasing racial equities to punishing bad actors, CEEA will seek out, listen to, and integrate consumer voices into all Bureau priorities. I encourage you to read the full text below:

12 tax red flags that could lead the IRS to audit you

Long after this year's tax season ends, the dreaded words IRS audit mean a headache is on the way for many U.S. taxpayers.

Typically, the tax agency will audit less than 1% of all tax returns. But even 0.5% is still one out of every 200 taxpayers, which might have you sweating over your chances of being audited.

But being chosen for an audit is more than a game of chance, and you’re less likely to attract attention from the IRS if you watch out for common red flags when you’re filing your taxes this season.

Here are 12 to look out for.

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