September 8, 2020
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has partnered with the Alternative Financial Service Providers Association (AFSPA) to assist in an ongoing effort to bring information, research, data and education to the unbanked and underbanked population of America.

#IRS reminder: Unemployment compensation is taxable. Plan ahead and have tax withheld now to avoid a tax-time surprise.

By law, unemployment compensation is taxable and must be reported on you 2020 #IRS federal income tax return. Plan ahead to avoid a tax-time surprise:

If you're receiving unemployment for the first time, remember that having tax withheld from your benefits now can help you avoid owing taxes when you file next year.

#IRS reminds people receiving unemployment compensation that they can have tax withheld from their benefits now to avoid owing when they file a tax return.


Millions of Americans Are Underbanked: Here's How Better Internet Access Could Change That

While the digitally savvy may be used to banking online, for many the idea is still novel. For those without access to the internet? Impossible.

Just 4 percent of Americans don't own a cell phone. But a quarter of people living in the U.S. are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they also used pawnshops or payday lenders to get by. People of color, immigrants, people living in poverty and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable.

About 6.5 percent of U.S. households have no bank account whatsoever, and another 18.7 percent have a bank account but also used alternative services, the FDIC found in 2018. More than a third of Americans don't know how they'd deal with an unexpected bill of $400, according to the Federal Reserve.
Read more at THE DAILY BEAST

AFSPA Partner


California's 'Mini-CFPB' Law May Extend to Small Business Loans

Tucked into California's new law to expand its financial watchdog's enforcement powers over consumer financial products is a provision that could extend to online small business lenders.

The bill, headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) for his signature after legislative approval Monday, would transform the Department of Business Oversight and expand its ability to charge companies engaged in certain categories of misconduct, called unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP). It's modeled after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's UDAAP enforcement authority.

The legislation gives the department the option to regulate nonbank small business lenders-many of them fintech companies-but doesn't require it. If the department, which will change its name to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI), opts to regulate commercial finance lenders using UDAAP, it will have to issue a rulemaking first, said Todd Baker, a senior business, law and public policy fellow at Columbia University's Richman Center.
Read more at BLOOMBERG LAW

AFSPA Partner


Why Visa and Mastercard are suddenly keen on installment lending

Financial industry heavyweights are taking note of the rapid rise of new borrowing options that offer shoppers an alternative to the decades-old credit card.

PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and Citigroup have all made recent moves that reflect the impact of emerging products from the likes of Affirm, Afterpay and Klarna.

Those loan products, which are often grouped together under the "buy now, pay later" umbrella, allow shoppers to make fixed installment payments, rather than tapping into a revolving credit line.

Earlier this week, San Jose, Calif.-based PayPal, which has long offered a line of credit to online shoppers, announced a new option called Pay in 4. It largely mimics offerings from Klarna, Afterpay and others - allowing U.S. consumers to finance purchases of $30 to $600 with four interest-free payments over a six-week period.


Greater Access To Banking Could Help Millions Living In Poverty

We tend to think about banking as a pretty commonplace practice. Despite that impression, though, data from the World Bank finds that nearly 2 billion people globally lack access to conventional financial services.

This is a deliberate choice in some cases; there are plenty of people who simply don't believe they need a bank account. Many may go unbanked, though, because there is limited or no access to banking services available.

The lack of access to banking services often overlaps with poverty. Many unbanked individuals live in countries or regions with developing economies and in which poverty is a common problem. As the World Bank data cited above notes, though, the problem isn't exclusive to developing economies; here in the U.S., for instance, roughly one in eight people lived below the poverty line in 2018. The problem's no better in the EU, where more than one-fifth of the population is considered at-risk of poverty. Read more at FORBES


CFPB Takes Action to Help Employers Develop Emergency Savings Programs to Boost Worker Financial Resilience

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) today announced that it issued a Compliance Assistance Statement of Terms Template (CAST Template) under its Compliance Assistance Sandbox (CAS) Policy to Build Commonwealth, Inc (Commonwealth). Employers interested in creating an automatic savings (Autosave) program as a way for employees to build emergency savings and increase their financial resiliency would then be able to use the CAST Template as the basis for an application to receive approval from the Bureau to create such a program.

Under an Autosave program, new and existing employees would be able to build emergency savings by directing a portion of their earnings to an existing account at a financial institution of their choice. If an employee does not designate an account, the employer would create an Autosave account for the employee at an institution designated by the employer. Autosave programs would be structured similarly to automatic 401(k) retirement savings programs and employees would receive certain advance notice, and have the right to not participate.
Read more at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau


Can multimillion-dollar pledge to Black banks help close wealth gap?

A New York community development financial institution has raised $50 million for a fund aimed at supporting Black-owned banks and steering more capital into minority communities.

The Local Initiatives Support Corp. said it plans to make deposits in Black-owned banks and provide financing to minority businesses later this year with the money raised in its Black Economic Development Fund. The big-box chain Costco recently committed $25 million to the fund, following a $25 million pledge by Netflix that seeded the initiative. LISC said it plans to close its first $100 million this fall.

LISC launched the fund this summer as a way for private companies to help close the racial wealth gap. The CDFI said it already has identified $30 million of potential deposits it could make at specific Black-run banks or loans it could directly extend to certain businesses and projects.


Better Personal Finances Means More Productive Employees

Results from new National Financial Educators Council financial wellness survey show more than half would perform better at work if their finances were in order

It's easy to believe there's a strong connection between an employee's financial situation and their performance at work, as studies have repeatedly shown financially stressed employees are less productive than their non-stressed colleagues.

More evidence emerged this week in the form or results from the latest annual employee financial wellness survey by the National Financial Educators Council. The survey, designed to provide data that help quantify the connection between a person's financial situation and his or her employment, shows just how big an impact personal finances have on performance, and how financial wellness programs can address the problem.

Of the more than 2,000 respondents to the survey, 53.5% said they would be more productive at work if their finances were in better shape, and 55.2% would be more content with their salary.
Read more at 401 Specialist Mag

Dreher Tomkies LLP

Advance Financial
Advance Financial
Advance Financial gives away 125 backpacks in Clarksville

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - The local Advance Financial at 501 Heritage Point Drive gave away 125 backpacks to area school students. The backpacks were loaded with supplies ranging from pencils to hand sanitizer. Generous donations for the packs were made by Cigna, Greenbrier Distillery, Excalibur Group and the Advance Financial Foundation. The packs were safely distributed through the drive-thru window.


Unemployment Likely Rising in 11 States

With new jobless claims still coming in at almost a million a week, states are struggling to cushion the loss of the $600 federal supplemental pay that expired in July.

Some states appear headed for higher unemployment than the official July figures released last week, according to a Stateline analysis of jobless claims data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia had a higher share of workers on unemployment benefits last week than the official July unemployment rate: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas and Vermont.
Read more at The Pew Charitable Trusts


Phoenix will give landlords a $500 signing bonus if they agree to rent to low-income tenants.

The city is trying to beef up its Section 8 housing assistance program to prepare for more housing insecurity spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phoenix's housing department has set aside $500,000 of COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government to use as a cash incentive to encourage more landlords to participate in the housing program.

The city has funding for 275 Section 8 vouchers, which provide rental assistance for people in the very-low-income bracket - an individual who makes less than $25,500 per year or an annual income of $36,450 for a family of four.
Read more at AZCENTRAL



Alternative Financial Service Providers Association

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