edition: March 26, 2024 

Paving the Payments Future

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Renting will be cheaper than buying a home for years to come, real estate firm says

Renting will be cheaper than owning a home for a long time, according to CBRE.

CBRE said that as buying costs soar, rental demand tend to also climb.

The average mortgage payment was 38% higher than the average apartment rent at the end of 2023.

Owning a house feels increasingly out of reach for many would-be buyers, and the supply shortage across the country means that it'll be more economical to rent than own for a long time, according to CBRE.

A note from the real estate services firm shows that the average monthly mortgage payment was 38% more than the average apartment rent at the end of 2023. The two expenses were closely aligned until 2019, and monthly mortgage payments plus taxes have since skyrocketed 75%.

Read more at Business Insider

Have a tax law question?

Our #IRS Interactive Tax Assistant has answers.

Watch this short video to learn more:

As we approach the tax season, we want to introduce you to a convenient, secure, and free way to file your federal taxes: the IRS Direct File.

What is IRS Direct File? It’s a pilot program launched by the IRS that allows you to file your taxes directly with the IRS at no cost. It’s designed to be straightforward and user-friendly, ensuring your tax filing experience is smooth and stress-free.

Why Use IRS Direct File?

  1. Free: No hidden fees or charges.
  2. Accurate: Step-by-step guidance to ensure your tax return is correct.
  3. Easy to Use: A simple interface that can be accessed from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  4. Secure: Your information is protected with the highest security standards.
  5. Who is Eligible? The pilot currently supports simple tax situations. To find out if you’re eligible, please use the eligibility checker on the IRS Direct File website.

How to Get Started? Visit IRS Direct File to check your eligibility and begin the filing process. If you have any questions or need assistance, IRS staff are available to help you Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

Jose L. Santiago

Public Affairs Specialist

Tax Outreach, Partnership and Education

Should Banks Bow to the CFPB’s $8 Credit Card Late Fee, or Wait on the Courts (and the Election)?

In just two days, CFPB's final rule on credit card late payment fees became an applause point in President Biden's State of the Union attack on 'junk fees' — and the subject of a lawsuit in the same district that sent the CFPB funding issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. How should banks respond?

Bank credit card late fees have become a small but significant presidential campaign issue, even as overdraft fees are waiting in the wings.

Many voters may not feel a personal stake in many of the issues that dominate the political headlines each day, but most people do use credit cards and bank accounts. Credit card and overdraft issues fit neatly into President Joe Biden’s declared war on “junk fees.” And Biden has painted the Republicans as being in the banking industry’s corner. The President bragged in his address on March 7 that his administration had reduced down credit card late fees from “the current average of $32 down to $8.”

Actually, the ink was barely dry on the final regulation issued March 5 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and it won’t be effective until two months after publication in the Federal Register. (The rule has since been published. In the absence of other action, it will become effective May 14.)

Read more at The Financial Brand

The Most Advanced Self-Service Check Cashing ATM

Check Cashing, Money Transfer, Bill Payment, Mobile Reload, ATM and more.

Ten economic facts about rental housing: BROOKINGS

Rental housing in the United States has become less affordable in recent years due to several factors, including a shift in demand for housing in the wake of COVID-19 (Mondragon and Wieland 2022). The result is low vacancy rates (i.e., the share of units available for rent without a tenant), high rent inflation, and housing expenditures that strain the budgets of lower-income households. Some of these challenges were most acute when the pandemic was at its peak, but the associated housing instability has lingered, illuminating long-term underlying issues in the rental housing market.

The very low unemployment rate and recent strength in wages makes clear that housing instability in the U.S. is, in large part, a structural problem, one that will not be fully solved by a strong economy. Fiscal support for federal housing benefits is inadequate, eligible households wait years for benefits, and the number of single individuals experiencing homelessness has risen. Any effective solution will require policy actions by lawmakers.

In the U.S., approximately one-third of households rent, but the share varies considerably by age of the head of household, ranging from 21 percent of households headed by someone 65 and older to 58 percent of households headed by someone ages 25 to 34 (figure A). As shown in fact 1, renting also varies considerably across the head of household’s education, income, and race or ethnicity.

Read more at The Brookings Institution

Accelerate Payments & Lower Processing Costs

REPAY expands eCash payment acceptance capabilities for bill pay and loan installments

Repay Holdings Corporation a leading provider of vertically-integrated payment solutions, announced the expansion of eCash acceptance capabilities for lenders and other businesses to accept bill and loan installment payments from their customers at nearly 100,000 U.S. retail locations. By digitizing and integrating cash payments, clients can increase customer satisfaction by offering more payment choices across REPAY’s verticals, including personal finance, auto finance, credit unions and mortgage.

Leveraging eCash, REPAY bridges the gap between online and cash payments to simplify the payment experience and improve accessibility for the underbanked community and those who prefer to pay using cash. Consumers select eCash at checkout to generate a barcode which they take to the nearest participating retail location for the retailer to scan and accept the cash. Once the transaction is completed through a financial network utilized by REPAY, the funds are deposited to the client and the payment is automatically posted, streamlining reconciliation to offer lenders increased efficiencies.

eCash offers additional benefits for lenders, including increased payment volume and on-time payments, enhanced security, reduced chargebacks and improved customer satisfaction. Further, because the retailer handles all cash management, there are fewer risks and lower costs to cash transactions for the lender.

Read more at REPAY


FHA raises loan limits for manufactured housing for the first time in 15 years

Treasury also eases access to unused COVID-19 funds for affordable housing

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has raised the lending limits for its Title I Manufactured Home Loan Program, aiming to unlock the supply of affordable housing.

The FHA said the increase better reflects today's market prices for manufactured homes and should encourage more lenders to offer loans to homebuyers seeking to purchase manufactured homes, also known as mobile homes, and the lots on which they sit. This is the first update to the Title I program loan limits since 2008 and is part of President Joe Biden's push to increase the supply and use of manufactured homes as an affordable housing option.

The new approach utilizes "new methodologies for calculating and updating the program's limits," which were part of a final rule published on Feb. 29, FHA explained in a press statement. 

The new limits are:

  • Combination loan (single-section), $148,909
  • Combination loan (multi-section), $237,096
  • Manufactured home loan (single-section), $105,532
  • Manufactured home loan (multi-section), $193,719
  • Manufactured home lot loan, $43,377

Read more at FOX BUSINESS

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Merchant Service Provider for Your Business

Prepared Remarks of CFPB Director Rohit Chopra at the Peterson Institute for International Economics Event on Revitalizing Bank Merger Review: CFPB

Thank you to the Peterson Institute for International Economics for hosting today’s event. I especially want to thank Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter for being here today and for his and Attorney General Merrick Garland's support of the work to bolster competition in banking and financial services.

Recently, there has been growing interest in bank mergers and how regulators and law enforcement are reviewing them. In the past eighteen months, we saw some significant transactions abandoned, including the proposed tie-up between State Street and Brown Brothers Harriman, as well as TD Bank’s proposed acquisition of First Horizon. There has been ongoing debate about JPMorgan Chase’s acquisition of the failed First Republic Bank, as well as news of a proposed merger of two large credit card players, Capital One and Discover.

Today, I will discuss bank mergers and consolidation. First, I will offer my observations from the recent review of the bank merger framework, initiated after President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. I then want to share some of the noteworthy features of a proposed policy statement approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Board of Directors this morning. I’ll conclude with some recommendations for further reform, including special considerations for dealing with failing banks.

Read more at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) 

Dreher Tomkies LLP



Why Credit Unions Are Primed to Revolutionize Financial Services in the U.S.

The competitive advantages that credit unions have long enjoyed – such as personalization and accessibility – are exactly what a younger generation of banking consumers are looking for. Forward-thinking credit unions will enhance those capabilities with the smart use of digital technology.

When the economic analysts of the future look back on 2024, it could easily be seen as the year that credit unions transformed the United States’ financial services sector.

Certainly, the timing is ripe for credit unions to grab the multiple, technology-driven opportunities happening right now across the U.S. By doing so, they have a very real chance to shake up the financial services sector for the better, and make an indelible mark on its future, for both current and future generations.

Let’s examine the major financial services evolutions that are taking place right now, notably artificial intelligence, hyper-personalization and instant payments – and how credit unions can maximize these to their full advantage.

Read more at The Financial Brand


Target, Starbucks earn top scores on pay equity performance while others lag

Companies in the consumer and financial sectors are most likely to disclose, while those in the industrial and utility sectors are least likely to disclose.

Among more than 100 of the largest companies in the U.S., Target and Starbucks received perfect A+ scores for comprehensive disclosures of median and adjusted pay gaps and annual commitments to conduct and publish pay equity analyses, according to the seventh annual Racial and Gender Pay Scorecard by Arjuna Capital, Proxy Impact and DiversIQ.

While 28% of companies received “A” or “B” scores for their efforts, 44% of companies earned an “F” for failure to disclose racial and gender pay gaps, including Alphabet, Berkshire Hathaway, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Costco, CVS and Netflix.

“Companies are embracing a more transparent, comprehensive approach to pay gap reporting — a shift that goes beyond lip service to create real and lasting change,” Natasha Lamb, lead author and chief investment officer at Arjuna Capital, said in a statement. “Through their equal pay ambitions, smart companies are capitalizing on key performance benefits — gaining a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining top talent and improving leadership diversity.”

Read more at HRDIVE

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