March 18, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Strike the right balance in regulating small-dollar lending

As the Biden administration ushers its cabinet nominees through the Senate confirmation process, pundits of all stripes are offering predictions concerning how bank regulation might proceed under a president who promises greater protections for vulnerable Americans.

One frequently discussed area is small-dollar lending, which includes — but is not limited to — payday lending.

Heightened regulation for the small-dollar space is necessary and overdue. But it is critical to first understand that the space is not monolithic.

Instead, small-dollar lending is a spectrum that spans from mainstream banks to peripheral actors, including pawnshops and storefront payday lenders. At its best, small-dollar lending is a vital bridge for more than 60 million consumers, who lack access to credit and who live without any essential savings — the majority of the country. And at its worst, there are well-documented instances of bad situations deepened further by cycles of unaffordable debt.

Paving the Payments Future
Bank branches will be extinct by 2034, fintech study finds

  • Bank branches could be extinct by 2034 if current footprint reduction trends continue, according to a study commissioned by Self Financial, a fintech aimed at an underbanked population with thin or flawed credit.

  • The study, released last week, measures branch numbers between 2000 and 2018 and hinges on the acceleration of closures in the last six of those years. Particularly, the rate of closure doubled from 0.81% per year between 2012 and 2015 to 1.6% between 2015 and 2018.

  • Notably, data from 2019 and 2020 is not included in the study. And to that point, the numbers vary. Banks closed 3,164 branches but opened 1,500 others in fiscal 2019 for a net loss of 1,664, according to a report by commercial real estate company JLL. Net branch closures in 2020 increased to 2,284, The Financial Brand reported, citing S&P Global data. That number trends upward — to 2,677 over the past 12 months — in S&P Global's most recent snapshot, released Tuesday.

Tax Day for individuals extended to May 17:
Treasury, IRS extend filing and payment deadline

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days. 

“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.” 

Women are more financially stressed than ever. Here’s how to overcome it

Financial anxiety for women is growing.

While studies have shown that women typically suffer from more money stress than men, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

In fact, 79% of women report feeling weighed down by money and stress, up from 67% last fall, according to Fidelity Investments’ new Financial Sentiment Survey.

Of those who reported financial worries, 72% were concerned about not having enough retirement savings to live comfortably and 71% were str

How Americans View Biden's COVID-19 Package

Broad Public Support for Coronavirus Aid Package; Just a Third Say It Spends Too Much

More Americans say the Biden administration made a ‘good faith’ effort working with opposition than say the same of GOP leaders

As the House of Representatives prepares to give final approval to the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a sizable majority of U.S. adults (70%) say they favor the legislation. Only about three-in-ten (28%) oppose the bill, which provides economic aid to businesses, individuals and state and local governments.

While congressional votes on the legislation have been deeply divided along partisan lines, 41% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents support the measure. The bill draws overwhelming support from Democrats and Democratic leaners (94% favor).

Warren Buffett says do this with your $1,400 stimulus check

No surprise here: Warren Buffett isn't getting a $1,400 stimulus check, and not necessarily because the investing legend's net worth recently touched $100 billion.

Eligibility for one of the new direct payments is based on how much money you make, and Buffett's income puts him way beyond the limit. Filings with federal regulators show he draws a $100,000 salary from his company, Berkshire Hathaway, plus he earns billions more from dividends each year.

But even though the folksy businessman won't qualify for the third stimulus check (or any more that come along), he'd have some advice on how you should use yours. Namely, Buffett would give you one big priority for the money.

Unemployment Tax Break: Don't Amend Your 2020 Tax Return Quite Yet to Claim the New Exemption

Americans who received unemployment benefits last year can claim a special new tax break included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act recently signed by President Biden: Up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 is exempt from federal income tax for households with an adjusted gross income under $150,000. If you're married, you and your spouse can each exclude up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation. Normally, Uncle Sam fully taxes unemployment compensation (just like wages), so this is a big break for many people who lost their job last year and were facing a big – and possibly unexpected – federal tax bill on the tax returns their filing this year.

But there's still one big question surrounding this new tax exemption: How do you claim it? The IRS doesn't have an answer for everyone yet – but it's working on it. How to handle the new tax break will also depend on whether or not you already filed your 2020 tax return. If you haven't filed yet, the IRS has updated the Schedule 1 (Form 1040) instructions and provided an Unemployment Compensation Exclusion Worksheet for paper filers

About 7 million households unbanked, FDIC says; how to protect your stimulus payment

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — For those eligible for a stimulus payment, it will likely appear in your account on Wednesday.

If you don’t have direct deposit set up through the IRS, or you are among the roughly 7 million households unbanked, you could get the check in the mail or on a prepaid debit card.

After a string of robberies and carjackings over past few months ABC 6 News looked into how people can keep their money safe.

“Because people are going to have larger sums of money, because of the stimulus, this is just one extra thing that may motivate a criminal to try to take something from you,” Columbus Police Public Information Officer, Sgt. James Fuqua said.

Anxious Americans to pay debt, taxes with COVID-19 stimulus checks

(Reuters) - Michael Johnson, a construction worker in Washington, D.C., is waiting for the $1,400 check from the government promised after U.S. President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill last week.

He’s not planning a spending spree. He’s nervous. “I’ll try and get ahead on my mortgage a little bit. You know, we are still in this pandemic,” Johnson, 45, said.

Almost 900 miles away in Baraboo, Wisconsin, Aric Nowicki runs a heating and air conditioning business that takes in about $150,000 annually but has expenses of about $100,000. He has clients who are late on their bills, and he plans to use his money to pay his own overdue bills.

Mastercard, Visa to postpone some fee increases next month

Credit card companies Mastercard and Visa said they will not boost some interchange 'swipe fees' as planned next month, saying certain increases will be postponed a year, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

The companies faced intense criticism of the proposed increases over the past few weeks from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-IL, who referred to the companies as a "duopoly" at a congressional subcommittee meeting on antitrust issues last week.

The fees that will not increase include those that consumers use when they pay merchants for goods purchased online, as well as some in-store fees, Bloomberg reported.

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