June 1, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Progressives’ Plan To Destroy Payday Loans

It would be leaving America’s most vulnerable people out in the cold.

Democrats claim they serve the poor, but their latest plan will hurt low-income Americans’—especially racial minorities, immigrants and young people—ability to tap loans that pay for bills like water and electricity.

However well-intentioned, Senate Democrats’ patronizing plan to establish a national interest rate cap is counterproductive for people in need and could very well push them to underground financial products in an unregulated, shadow economy.

U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is reportedly planning to revive his proposal for a national interest rate cap of 36%, believing he can overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold. But the committee’s leading GOP member, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) reportedly plans to block it—as he should

Paving the Payments Future
Summary of the 2021 CFPB Research Conference

The Bureau’s Office of Research held its 5th Research Conference on May 6. The presentations included research by academics and policymakers covering various topics in household and consumer finance. We were honored to have a keynote address by Dr. Raphael Bostic , President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. President Bostic discussed a number of pressing research areas, including disparities in homeownership and access to mortgage credit, improving our understanding of the Community Reinvestment Act, and the evolution of credit scores across economic cycles.

The conference covered timely issues related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer finances and credit markets in its opening session. Lauren Lambie-Hansen from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia presented analysis on the supply of mortgage credit during the pandemic , including the relationship between intermediation markups and the pass through of interest rate decreases to consumers. Michaela Pagel from Columbia Business School presented results using daily, transaction-level data to analyze consumer spending during the pandemic . And Chen Zhao from the JPMorgan Chase Institute presented findings on income and asset profiles of mortgage borrowers during the pandemic.

IRS, Treasury Announce Families of 88% of Children in the U.S. to Automatically Receive Monthly Payment of Refundable Child Tax Credit

WASHINGTON – 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.

The American Rescue Plan increased the maximum Child Tax Credit in 2021 to $3,600 for children under the age of 6 and to $3,000 per child for children between ages 6 and 17. The American Rescue Plan is projected to lift more than five million children out of poverty this year, cutting child poverty by more than half.

Consumers Set to Spend Big (and Take On Debt) As Pandemic Restrictions Ease

With more than 100 million Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, pandemic restrictions are starting to loosen up around the country. And as activities make a comeback, such as traveling and in-person dining, many consumers are ready to splash out with big spending, even if it means going into debt.

A new LendingTree survey found that nearly one in two adults say they may take on debt due to increased spending this summer. Plans for post-pandemic sprees range from nights out at a local bar to new wardrobes and preparations to return to the office or work site.

Key findings
  • Nearly half of all respondents (47%) said it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll go into debt this summer, as the loosening of pandemic restrictions prompts more spending. (Read more)
  • Travel may eat up much of Americans’ post-pandemic budget (with more than one-third citing travel plans), followed by new clothes. (Read more)
  • Those who work remotely expect to spend more as they return to normal, with an 83% majority of that group saying they have purchased or plan to purchase something new for their return to onsite work. (Read more)
  • More than 1 in 3 respondents expect to spend more on fitness post-pandemic, though the ways they work out may have changed. (Read more)
  • Although spending on in-person dining will likely increase which this summer, the rise may not be as substantial as some think. A majority expect to spend more on in-person dining, most will only do so by about 25% to 50%. (Read more)

When do student loan payments restart?

Washington (CNN)Federal student loan payments are set to resume on October 1, after an unprecedented 19-month suspension that was put in place to provide financial relief to borrowers during the pandemic.

  • Borrower balances have effectively been frozen for more than a year, with no payments required on federal loans since March 2020, when Congress first authorized the pause as part of one of its first major Covid relief packages.
  • During this time, interest has stopped adding up -- saving the average borrower about $2,000 over the first year -- and collections on defaulted debt have been on hold.
  • The relief is even more significant for those who work in the public sector and may be eligible for loan forgiveness after 10 years. They are still receiving credit towards those 10 years of required payments as if they had continued to make them during the pandemic, as long as they are still working full time for qualifying employers.

The dismantling of bank brands by big tech

We’ve all heard the rumours. We’ve read the headlines. We’ve even been predicting it for years. Big tech is coming for financial services and if there is anything to learn from other sectors, nothing will stand in the way. In the last 18 months, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, among others, have made clear moves into FS.

Big tech has the resources and technology to deliver a rich banking experience. They have substantial user bases to get them off the ground too. But can they grow consumer trust in a sector with notoriously low levels of consumer confidence? And can they be trusted with their financial data to manage their financial lives?

Here at Equator, we looked at the moves the tech giants made over the last year to help established FS businesses understand what’s round the corner and what they can do to help mitigate this risk.

California legislation seeks no-fee debit cards for ‘unbanked,’ many in minority communities

A new California bill designed to create a public banking system with no-fee debit cards to all citizens presents a balancing act for the state from the entities that know the financial organizations like the back of their hand.

Although considered well-intended, the California Public Banking Option Act (Assembly Bill 1177) is receiving a lukewarm response from banks, credit unions and even state Controller Betty Yee.

It was introduced in February by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, (D-Los Angeles) as a means of providing a leg up to low-income communities. It now stands in the state Appropriations Committee.

Here’s the average student debt balance of borrowers 25 to 34 years old

Select takes a look at how much student debt the average borrower ages 25 to 34 carries.

Twenty-five to 34-year-olds make up the biggest cohort of student loan borrowers, adding up to 14.8 million borrowers in total. The average individual in this age bracket has a student loan balance of $33,817.56, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education’s Q4 2020 data.

While this number is just shy of how much the average student loan borrower of all ages carries ($39,351), it’s more than double what the 24-and-younger cohort is dealing with (their average balance is $14,807.69).

The jump in outstanding debt can be attributed in part to the additional years of interest that 25- to 34-year-olds are paying compared to those under 25, as well as additional loans that they may have taken out to fund additional schooling.

4 Tips for Small-Business Owners Paying Down Pandemic Debt

Paying down pandemic debt can help business owners rebuild and reinvest in their companies.

After more than a year of navigating lockdowns, mandates and COVID-19 protocols, small-business owners are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But the debt many needed to take on to weather the pandemic still casts an ominous shadow.

In 2020, 79% of small employer firms (up to 499 employees) reported having outstanding debt, up from 71% in 2019, according to a February 2021 report by the Federal Reserve Banks. Of the firms that applied for financing, 58% said they did so to cover operating expenses like rent and payroll, compared with 43% in 2019.

Paying down this pandemic debt can help business owners rebuild their companies. The following tips can help you eliminate your business debt faster, while saving money on costly interest in the process

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