February 25, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
President Biden’s Plan To Change Credit Reporting And Scoring

The Biden administration has a big target in its sights, or rather three big targets—Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. If President Biden has his way, he will create a public credit reporting agency (CRA) to compete with the three major credit bureaus and maybe one day replace them altogether.

The push for a public credit reporting agency is part of President Biden’s job and economic recovery agenda. The president’s agenda is inspired by a proposal from Dēmos, a liberal think tank with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. It calls for the formation of a new, national credit reporting and scoring division inside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“Being able to obtain an accurate credit report and score is a critical step for homeownership,” says The Biden Plan to Build Back Better by Advancing Racial Equity Across the American Economy. The proposal suggests that a government-run CRA could fix a credit reporting system that frequently holds consumers back from becoming homeowners due to problems like credit reporting errors and racial disparities.

Paving the Payments Future
World's Most Unbanked Countries 2021

Hundreds of millions of people globally have no checking or savings bank account. Financial exclusion undermines their quality of life and hold their nations’ economies back.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “unbanked” refers to a person or entity “not having access to the services of a bank or similar financial organization.” You would be out of luck if your preferred vocabulary is the Merriam-Webster, which concisely explains that the term describes something that is “not deposited in a bank.”

Yet, around the globe, there are scores of such thinly or ill-defined specimens: more than 1.6 billion adults, according to the World Bank. Never mind the practicality of cheques or ATM machines, let alone the luxury of credit cards or airline miles: the unbanked have no checking, savings or mobile money provider accounts, no access to financial products like insurance, loans or mortgages, no protection for their money from theft or loss. They are also more likely to be poor—and to stay poor too.

Taxpayers can start filing now: Electronic filing, including Free File is the best way to avoid pandemic-related paper delays. E-filing combined with direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund.

Recovery Rebate Credit: If you’re eligible – and either didn’t receive Economic Impact Payments or if you think you qualify for more than you received – you’ll need to file a
2020 tax return and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit even if you otherwise
State Tax Revenue Plunges After Decade of Growth

Pandemic Drives Historic State Tax Revenue Drop

Total state tax revenue was down $46.4 billion from its pre-pandemic level in the four quarters ending June 30, 2020—the past budget year for nearly all states. Tax collections had been growing in most states until the COVID-19 outbreak but then took their steepest plunge in at least 25 years in the final quarter. Although at least some of this drop was expected to be recovered in the third quarter, nearly half of states still project revenue declines this fiscal year.

State tax revenue from April through June 2020 collectively was lower by an extraordinary 25% from the same quarter of 2019. Receipts fell after the public health emergency disrupted large parts of the economy and set off a recession. But much of the sudden shortfall was due to the federal government’s decision—copied by nearly all states—to delay the April 15th income tax filing deadline until July 15th. The delay pushed large sums of state personal and corporate income tax payments into the first quarter of the current fiscal year, aggravating the strain on many states’ budgets last fiscal year.

PPP changes get mixed reactions from banking industry

"Many lenders are questioning whether the two-week exclusive window for smallest businesses is truly necessary," one bank consultant said.

A two-week window allowing firms with fewer than 20 employees exclusive access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) started Wednesday, a change Biden administration officials say will ensure the smallest businesses are not left out of the forgivable loan program. 

But the change is getting mixed reactions in the industry, with some questioning whether it's needed, said Michael Brauneis, managing director and U.S. financial services industry leader at global consulting firm, Protiviti.

Given the amount of businesses with fewer than 10 employees that have already received loans since the program's reboot in January, Brauneis said, "many lenders are questioning whether the two-week exclusive window for smallest businesses is truly necessary."

Prior business relationships influence PPP coronavirus lending, study finds

A business with a previous lending relationship enjoyed a 57 percentage-point advantage in obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, with 75% of "relationship-borrowers" getting a loan compared with 18% of "non-relationship firms" doing so, according to a study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Boston College and the University of Geneva. 

A personal connection between the lender and top management of the borrower — such as shared education, prior employment or ties to nonprofits — increased the likelihood of obtaining a loan amid the COVID-19 pandemic by more than 7 percentage points, according to the study of PPP borrowing by publicly traded companies.

Cashless Is Here to Stay: Why Contactless Payments Will Be the Status Quo for Consumers & Businesses

The convenience and ease of use that come from contactless payment solutions are just one benefit, but digital payment solutions and accessibility are an added noteworthy feature that will propel the technology further through consumer and investor interest.

Contactless payment systems are poised to become the predominant way we buy things moving forward. Mass adoption brought on by the pandemic has fast tracked consumer interest in utilizing this payment technology into their everyday lives. According to the National Retail Federation, in the U.S. alone, no-touch payments have increased 69 percent since January 2020. Of those currently using contactless, 57 percent of participants said they’ll continue to do so beyond the pandemic. Cash and credit cards, as we know it, may vanish from much of consumers’ routine purchases, and with this mind, investments and business opportunities within contactless technologies are likely to continue their growth beyond the pandemic.

Taking a closer look at where and how these payments benefit consumers, we can easily see the positive impact they provide now and into daily life post-COVID. The convenience and ease of use that come from contactless payment solutions are just one benefit, but digital payment solutions and accessibility are an added noteworthy feature that will propel the technology further through consumer and investor interest.

Virginia General Assembly close to passing major consumer data privacy legislation

Your online activities, your purchases, your travel and your political views all have been a commodity for many years now. That data is bought, sold, shared and used in ways you probably aren’t even aware of, and you can't do much about it.

Virginia lawmakers are trying to give consumers more power over their data — sort of.

The General Assembly is close to giving final approval on the Consumer Data Protection Act, which would give Virginians certain rights over the data that large companies and data brokers collect. The rights have limits, and it’s unlikely to lead to widespread instances of Virginians significantly altering how their personal data is used, but lawmakers said this is an important first step in making changes to the data collection industry that has gone unregulated.

Fed's Brainard pushes banks to undergo climate 'scenario analysis'

Banks that can't "measure, monitor and manage climate-related risks could face outsized losses" because of environmental shifts, a disorderly transition to a low-carbon economy, or both, she said.

Banks could face less disruption from climate change in the future with more preparation now, Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard said Thursday at an Institute of International Finance event.

"Financial institutions that do not put in place frameworks to measure, monitor and manage climate-related risks could face outsized losses on climate-sensitive assets caused by environmental shifts, by a disorderly transition to a low-carbon economy, or by a combination of both," Brainard said in prepared remarks. "Physical and transition risks could materialize as traditional financial risks to supervised institutions, including through increased credit, market, operational, reputational, and liquidity risk."

Low-income Americans could face hurdles getting their tax refund fast and free

Low- and middle-income households may face tax refund delays and higher costs for tax prep services this year after a late start and new stimulus provisions complicate the filing season.

This year, more people may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) because of rule changes, but that could also mean longer processing times for the filers that claim them. Usually returns that claim those taxes cannot be released sooner than mid-February, but this year it may take longer, according to a report by the National Consumer Law Center.

"The IRS says that there will be no extra delay. We're not sure that's really what's going to happen in practice," NCLC Associate Director Lauren Saunders told Yahoo Money, "because they have to do a certain amount of fraud screening and we just don't know whether they are going to get bogged down and things will be delayed."

Biden extends pandemic help for homeowners, renters wait

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The moratorium on foreclosures of federally guaranteed mortgages had been set to expire on March 31. On his first day in office, Biden had extended the moratorium from Jan. 31. Census Bureau figures show that almost 12% of homeowners with mortgages were late on their payments.

The White House says the coordinated actions announced Tuesday by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture also will extend to June 30 the enrollment window for borrowers who want to request mortgage payment forbearance — a pause or reduction in payments — and will provide up to six additional months of forbearance for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30 of last year.

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