November 16, 2021
Paving the Payments Future
There Are More Jobs Than Jobless People in 42 States

A record number of job openings and fewer workers to fill them have left 42 states with more available jobs than people looking for work, according to a Stateline analysis of federal statistics from August, the latest available.

Employers such as RF Buche, who runs a 116-year-old family chain of South Dakota fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, are scrambling to fill shifts and cutting store hours because they can’t find enough help.

“I’m more worried about burnout than anything else, people working extra shifts,” Buche said. “It’s as bad as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been in this business all my life.”

The labor shortage, by one measure the most acute since 1968, means higher wages and increased bargaining power for workers. But some experts fear it also could dampen economic growth as the country struggles to recover from the pandemic. And it could make it more difficult to implement the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan Congress approved, which the White House has said is expected to create millions of jobs in fields such as construction and trucking.

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New Orleans to pay teens $350 a month in financial literacy push

More than 100 young people in Louisiana will receive $3,500 next year under a financial literacy program from the City of New Orleans. 

City officials said Thursday that 125 residents between the ages of 16 and 24 will receive 10 payments of $350 starting next spring. The money will be loaded onto an ATM card provided by Black-owned online bank Mobility Capital Finance. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said during a press conference Thursday the cards will go to residents who are unemployed or not attending school. 

The goal, city officials said, is to address the "unbanked" problem plaguing the Big Easy. The "unbanked" is a term the financial services industry has adopted to describe adults who earn money but do not use bank accounts to help them manage those wages. 

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Postal Banking Fails to Reach the Unbanked

Members of the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives have long argued that proposals for postal banking fundamentally misunderstand the case of the unbanked. Yet, the proposals pushed forward, and a pilot program was launched in September.

What are the results so far? Over the past two months, no one has chosen to use the service at the Bronx location, according to postal employees.

If a full‐​scale postal banking program is to be launched, Congress itself would need to enact legislation. Therefore, the pilot program was only launched in four locations across Baltimore, Maryland; the Bronx, New York; Falls Church, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. The program allows customers to transfer business and payroll checks up to $500 to gift cards for a flat fee of $5.95.

Shortly before the program’s September 13th launch, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D‑NY) said, “This is a great first step toward creating a postal bank. [The] pilot program will demonstrate the value to these communities, and show that the USPS can effectively service underbanked urban and rural communities.”

Lender charged 200% interest to military families for pawn loans, CFPB says

U.S. military families are being socked with annual interest rates sometimes exceeding 200% on pawn loans they've taken out from a Texas company, a violation of a federal law that caps how much lenders can charge, a government financial watchdog alleged in a lawsuit Friday. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas in Fort Worth. The CFPB lawsuit accuses Cash America West and FirstCash of disobeying the Military Lending Act, which limits the annual interest rate on a loan for military personnel or their family to 36%. 

CFPB officials said in court documents that they warned Cash America in 2013 about overcharging on interest rates but the company kept doing it, even after a merger with FirstCash in 2016. Between June 2017 and May 2021, the combined companies approved more than 3,600 loans to more than 1,000 borrowers with interest rates higher than the 36% threshold, the CFPB claimed. 

How Does Fintech Regulation Work In Canada?

Banks, trust and loan businesses, insurance companies, credit unions, securities dealers, financing and leasing firms, pension fund managers, mutual fund firms, and independent insurance agents and brokers make up Canada’s financial services industry, which is among the strongest in the world. 

The banking industry is dominated by Canada’s six major financial institutions. There has been a significant rise in the percentage of banking assets held by the nation’s largest banks since the 2008 financial crisis. 

Financial co-operatives in Canada are key community-focused competitors with a member-based model (for example, credit unions, housing co-operatives). At the provincial level, these organizations are often controlled.

The commercial capabilities of trust and lending businesses in Canada are quite comparable to those of Canadian banks. 58 Canadian trust and lending firms are governed by federal law. Of them, trust corporations owned by big Canadian banks account for around half. There are a number of trust businesses that only specialize in fiduciary work.

New program aims to provide financial coaching to college students

Paying for college can be one of the greatest stressors in a student’s life. A recent survey of 25,000 students showed 65% worried about the cost of their education; a quarter of those were unsure how they would pay for their next semester.

After looking at this data, provided by the Trellis Student Financial Wellness Survey, staff with UB Health Promotion’s Wellness Coaching program knew something must be done. Students needed support during this turbulent point in their lives.

And with the implementation of the new Financial Wellness Coaching program, UB students now have the opportunity to receive guidance from an expert in the field of financial coaching: Danial Khan, a financial wellness coach sponsored by AmeriCorps’ Economic Opportunity Corps.

“We know it’s hard to focus on grades and make the most of your college experience when you have an economic burden and loans that you might not fully understand,” says Khan, a financial social worker who earned dual master’s degrees in business administration and social work from UB.

Bank boards should press execs on climate risk, OCC says

Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu suggested five lines of questioning directors should pursue to boost banks' preparedness.

Acting Comptroller Michael Hsu, in a speech Monday, suggested five lines of questioning bank board members should pursue to keep the pressure on bank executives to follow through on climate change risk.

"Bank boards have a critical role to play in turning words into action and, in doing so, can be a strong force for good," Hsu said. "The questions that directors ask senior managers can shift bank priorities, reveal hidden strengths, expose fatal weaknesses, and spur needed changes."

Hsu said he wants board members to exercise their curiosity regarding: 

banks' overall exposure to climate risk

More borrowers are getting forbearance modifications

The total number of loans in forbearance decreased to 2.06% as of Oct. 31, shows MBA

Forbearance predictably declined across the board last week as exits accelerated, but more borrowers are going into plan modifications because they are still struggling to recover their pre-pandemic income.

The total number of loans in forbearance decreased by nine basis points to 2.06% as of Oct. 31, according to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). In the previous week, the rate dropped six basis points to 2.15%.

Just over one million homeowners are still in forbearance plans. The survey included data on 36.6 million loans serviced as of Oct. 31, 73% of the first-mortgage servicing market. This is the last MBA’s weekly survey, as the trade group is moving to a monthly report.

FTC Staff Report Finds Many Internet Service Providers Collect Troves of Personal Data, Users Have Few Options to Restrict Use

Report finds many ISPs use web browsing data and group consumers using sensitive characteristics such as race and sexual orientation

Many internet service providers (ISPs) collect and share far more data about their customers than many consumers may expect—including access to all of their Internet traffic and real-time location data—while failing to offer consumers meaningful choices about how this data can be used, according to an FTC staff report on ISPs’ data collection and use practices.

The staff report, which details the expanding scope and some troubling aspects of some ISP data collection practices, stems from orders the FTC issued in 2019 using its authority under 6(b) of the FTC Act to six internet service providers, which make up about 98 percent of the mobile Internet market:

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