July 8, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Open Banking Can Foster Financial Inclusion

Unbanked is a term for those that don’t have a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, over 7 million Americans fall into the unbanked category. Those who are unbanked tend to use alternative (and more costly) forms of financial services, such as payday lenders, check-cashing stores, and money orders for their financial needs.

As methods of payment are shifting, reaching the unbanked population becomes more important than ever before. Before, many people were paid in cash for their work. But as companies and employers move to digitized payment methods, such as ACH and direct deposit, employees who were previously paid in cash are scrambling to find other ways to receive their payments.

Technology & Open Banking Can Help
The accessibility that technology provides will help these large segments of society that remain unbanked. Increased financial inclusion brought about by technology will also play an important role in the new economy once the current pandemic is over. The use of open APIs that enable third-party developers to build applications and services around the financial institution will provide financial transparency options for account holders ranging from private data to open data.

Paving the Payments Future
Despite June’s positive jobs numbers, Black workers continue to face high unemployment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report for June, released today, showed a continuation of the steady economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, 850,000 jobs were added last month, while the unemployment rate ticked up slightly, to 5.9%, after falling from 6.1% in April to 5.8% in May.

This recovery, however, continues to be uneven across racial lines. Black workers had June’s highest unemployment rate, at 9.2%. Table 1 and Graph 1 show the U.S. unemployment rate by race for April, May, and June 2021.

Table 2 shows the U.S. unemployment rate by race, gender, and age from June 2020 to June 2021. On average, Black teens ages 16 to 19 had the highest unemployment rate over the 13-month period, at 19.4%, while white men over 20 had the lowest, at 6.1%.

Child Tax Credit Update Portal: The IRS upgraded the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to enable families to update their bank account information so they can receive their monthly Child Tax Credit payment.

Tax relief for employer leave-based donation programs due to COVID-19 pandemic: The IRS extended the tax relief provided in Notice 2020-46 for calendar year 2021 for employers whose employees forgo sick, vacation or personal leave because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State-by-state data on EIP3: The IRS and the Treasury Department released information detailing how many people in each state received the third round of Economic Impact Payments through early June.

“Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2021: The IRS has begun its "Dirty Dozen" list for 2021 with a warning for taxpayers, tax professionals and financial institutions to be on the lookout for nefarious schemes and scams.
Fireworks On The Horizon For Post-PPP Alt-Lending

The sun is high, the temperature is rising, and with COVID restrictions being lifted around the U.S., Independence Day marks the first opportunity for many to embrace a gathering around the barbeque or a group trip to the beach.

It’s also a pivotal moment for many small businesses eager to bounce back from shutdowns, forced closures and lost revenues. But for the ice cream parlor in need of raw ingredients, or the fireworks vendor looking to restock inventory, preparing for Fourth of celebrations (and, hopefully, a boom in business throughout the summer) can be a burdensome expense.

With the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other government aid initiatives ending, small businesses need to turn to new sources of capital. According to some industry players, the moment could be ripe for an alternative lending comeback.

Most student loan borrowers aren't ready to resume payments, survey finds - here's what you can do

Federal student loans are in forbearance until Sept. 30, 2021, and unless President Joe Biden's administration takes further action, millions of borrowers will need to resume making payments on Oct. 1. But the vast majority of college graduates aren't prepared for federal student loan payments to resume, according to a survey of more than 23,000 student loan borrowers conducted by Student Debt Crisis, an advocacy group.

Senate Democrats have called on Biden to cancel up to $50,000 worth of student loan debt per borrower via executive order, but Biden himself has cast doubt upon such robust student loan forgiveness measures. Just over half of respondents (52%) are optimistic about their student loan situation with President Biden in office, the survey found.

Nine in 10 federal student loan borrowers will not be ready to resume payments on Oct. 1, and about two-thirds (65%) won't be ready until September 2022 or later. If you're among the majority of borrowers who don't know what to do with their student loans, keep reading to learn more about your options to make your resumption of payments easier, like income-driven repayment plans, economic hardship forbearance and student loan refinancing. 

FCC forces phone carriers to step up anti-robocall fight: "If you lie to us, we're going to come after you"

Wireless companies have had until the last day of June to implement call authentication technology to stop robocalls. They must tell the Federal Communications Commission whether they are complying with the agency's requirements — risking possible penalties.

An estimated 4 billion robocalls rung in on people's cellphones in the month of May alone — 12 calls per person on average, according to anti-fraud app company Youmail.

The deadline comes under new Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a lawyer who wants wireless carriers to know she's serious about cracking down.

"Oh my gosh, they're so annoying," Rosenworcel said of robocalls to CBS News Consumer Investigative Correspondent Anna Werner. "We want to stop robocalls and make it easier for consumers to safely answer the phone."

As Federal Eviction Protections Come to an End, CFPB Warns Landlords and Consumer Reporting Agencies to Report Rental Information Accurately

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today released an Enforcement compliance bulletin reminding landlords, consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), and others of their critical obligations to accurately report rental and eviction information. Inaccurate rental and eviction information on a tenant screening report or a credit report can unfairly block a family from safe and affordable housing. As the federal eviction moratorium and other pandemic rental protections come to an end, the CFPB wants to protect families from being denied housing on the basis of inaccurate information. The CFPB’s bulletin is part of its ongoing commitment to a fair and equitable recovery.

“Errors in your tenant screening report shouldn’t hold you back from having a place to call home,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “For families already struggling to make ends meet, an inaccurate report can be the difference between homelessness or settling into a safe and affordable home. Landlords and consumer reporting agencies have clear obligations under federal law, regarding the accuracy of information reported about tenants, and to conduct timely investigations when consumers dispute information. They need to get this right. The CFPB will closely monitor their compliance, and we will use all the tools at our disposal including enforcement, to protect consumers during this critical time.”

Texas Legislature Passes Remote Work Law for Office of Consumer Credit Licensees
The law takes effect Sept. 1, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new law (H.B. 3510 ) that will allow remote work for employees of entities licensed by the Texas Finance Commission.

The licensed entities include vehicle finance companies, traditional installment lenders and mortgage lenders. The law does not impact most third-party collection agencies, but it does impact some creditors and debt buyers.

It also signals that more states are adopting remote work laws for financial services companies, following suit of Washington, Maryland, Minnesota, and Connecticut.  

H.B. 3510 will take effect Sept. 1, 2021.

Twice as Many U.S. Renters Fell Behind on Payments During the Pandemic

FORT WORTH — Twanesha Harrison, 33, was barely making ends meet this year when a historic winter storm hit Texas in February and sent her over the edge.

Harrison had been living paycheck to paycheck since she lost her second job last summer, after the pandemic forced her family-run insurance company to shut down. So when record low temperatures sent her electricity bill soaring, Harrison’s budget fell into the red. She has not been able to catch back up.

“I’ve picked up extra shifts and asked family and friends for help,” she said in a recent interview. “But ultimately I had to make a decision of paying my rent or the electricity.”

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