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Nearly 25% of all Latinx-owned businesses are in California, but they"re 91% less likely to get loans

Latinx-owned businesses are growing in number and power, but they're still underrepresented, and they face tough challenges in getting loans......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 13th, 2021

Build Back Better Bill: What’s In It for Real Estate?

As two enormous spending bills percolate in Congress stalled by political maneuvering, intra-party disputes or partisan non-cooperation, there is very little certainty about the future of the legislation—whether it will pass at all, or what provisions will survive ongoing negotiations. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is focused mostly on so-called “hard infrastructure” like […] The post Build Back Better Bill: What’s In It for Real Estate? appeared first on RISMedia. As two enormous spending bills percolate in Congress stalled by political maneuvering, intra-party disputes or partisan non-cooperation, there is very little certainty about the future of the legislation—whether it will pass at all, or what provisions will survive ongoing negotiations. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is focused mostly on so-called “hard infrastructure” like roads and energy is less relevant to the real estate industry, though it would certainly have broad ramifications if passed. The Build Back Better Act, introduced last month in the House, has a much broader reach and includes more than $300 billion for housing. While Congress attempts to find a way forward on the bills, here are some of the current proposals in the Build Back Better that are very likely to affect the real estate industry—again, with no guarantee that any will survive to final passage, at least as they are proposed. $90 Billion for Section 8  These monies would go directly into the Section 8 program. A large portion—around $72 billion—would go to the voucher program which subsidizes very low-income renters or those who are at an immediate risk of homelessness, domestic violence or human trafficking. Other amounts would be steered toward landlords to create or rehab rental housing in areas where people are likely to be displaced or already struggle to find housing. The bill does not include any requirements or mandates that landlords accept Section 8 voucher assistance—something the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has opposed. Those utilizing Section 8 often face discrimination when looking for housing. $80 Billion for Public Housing The Build Back Better bill would provide a large investment in the current Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs that fund the majority of affordable housing, income-restricted across the country, mostly through public-private partnerships. Much of that program has focused on rehabilitation or repurposing existing housing, though this money can also be used for maintenance, upgrades, energy efficiency improvements and homeownership programs. A letter to Congress that was signed by over 100 housing advocates and organizations including NAR voiced strong support for “investing in the rental and homeless portions of the Budget Reconciliation Bill,” as well as urging Congress not to “[sacrifice] one part of the marketplace for another.” $10 Billion for First-Time Homebuyers In the current form, much of the money would go directly to homebuyers as down payment grants. It would be restricted to people whose parents were not homeowners—though this criteria and other aspects of the program have already been publicly debated by Democrats. About $7 billion would go to state governments and $2.25 billion would be provided to non-government entities through a “competitive” process, who would then disburse the money. The amount of down payment per homebuyer would not exceed either $20,000 or 10% of the purchase price. If the homebuyer abandons the property within five years, they will have to repay the grant. NAR spoke favorably about proposals for first-time homebuyer tax credits when they were initially discussed early this spring, and signed a letter this month urging Congress to support this proposal. Real estate agents have also generally felt positively about down payment assistance programs, with Florida REALTORS® recently lobbying to enshrine monies for affordable housing (including down payment assistance) in the state’s constitution. $5.3 Billion for Rural Housing NAR has lobbied in the past for “federal programs for home loans, rental development and rental assistance.” The bill splits funds, with about $1 billion for mortgage assistance in rural communities and about $4.3 billion to “revitalize” rentals in these areas. $4.3 Billion for the “Unlocking Possibilities Program” Meant to encourage better land use and planning, these monies would go as grants to state or local governments and regional authorities to come up with strategies to further fair housing goals, focused specifically on growth, reducing concentrations of poverty, finding efficiencies and removing barriers. This can explicitly include things like zoning reform—part of executive action and policy taken by the Biden’s administration earlier this year that NAR explicitly supported. $4 Billion for Distressed Multifamily Housing This money would be provided as forgivable loans that explicitly could only be used for “necessary physical improvements” to a distressed multifamily property. Loans can be forgiven at the discretion of the Secretary of HUD. Owners of these properties must also make their rents affordable for 30 years if they participate in the program. NAR generally supports multifamily loan programs, and has stated that it supports federal involvement in multifamily mortgage markets and the rehabilitation or refinancing of rental housing projects. $4 Billion for Flood Resilience One billion would go directly to homeowners based on financial need to offset the cost of their flood insurance—especially timely now as premiums are likely to rise for many homeowners over the next few years. The other $3 billion would go toward larger projects such as risk assessments and flood mapping. $2.8 Billion for Minority-Owned Businesses Of the total funding, $1.5 billion would go as direct grants to businesses owned by underrepresented groups, which includes people from low-income communities, those with disabilities, veterans, refugees, members of native tribes and people who have served prison time. The rest of the money would fund an agency that would permanently serve minority-owned businesses, opening centers across the country and holding forums with government agencies. Minority-owned real estate businesses would almost certainly be included in these programs based on the current language. Other Takeaways The Build Back Better bill also includes significant money for transportation improvements, re-routing streets and removing lead paint from housing, all of which could have significant effects on real estate markets. Twenty-five billion is also going to the Small Business Administration including money for the popular 7(a) microloan program, which serves many real estate businesses. Also notable is what the house bill did not end up including. The bill fails to close two tax loopholes—the so-called carried interest loophole and like-kind exchanges. The carried interest loophole allows taxpayers to pay a much lower rate on capital gains compared to straight income, and like-kind exchanges involve deferring taxes when exchanging investment properties. NAR has lobbied against changing these practices, which largely benefit very wealthy individuals, arguing that they are not loopholes and promote business growth, while some politicians on both sides of the aisle see them as contributing to massive wealth inequality. This is a developing story. Stay tuned to RISMedia for updates.Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post Build Back Better Bill: What’s In It for Real Estate? appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 13th, 2021

Trump received "undisclosed preferential treatment" on a $170 million loan from Deutsche Bank for his DC hotel, House Oversight Committee says

"Trump did not publicly disclose this significant benefit from a foreign bank while he was President," lawmakers said. The north entrance of the Trump International in Washington, DC. Mark Tenally/AP Deutsche Bank gave Trump "undisclosed preferential treatment" on a $170 million loan for his DC hotel, the House Oversight Committee said. The German bank allowed Trump to delay making principal payments on the loan, the committee said. "Trump did not publicly disclose this significant benefit from a foreign bank while he was President," the committee said. Former President Donald Trump "received undisclosed preferential treatment" on a $170 million loan from the German financial institution Deutsche Bank on his Washington, DC, hotel that he "personally guaranteed," the House Oversight Committee said on Friday. The committee's findings are based on documents obtained from the General Services Administration (GSA), a sprawling agency that helps keep the federal government running.The documents show Deutsche Bank in 2018 provided Trump a "significant financial benefit" by permitting him to delay making principal payments on the loan for a six-year period, the committee said in a statement."Without this deferral, the hotel may have needed to pay tens of millions of additional dollars to Deutsche Bank at a time when it was already facing steep losses. Mr. Trump did not publicly disclose this significant benefit from a foreign bank while he was President," the committee said. The statement also said that while Trump was president the Trump International Hotel received more than $3.7 million from foreign governments between 2017 to 2020, which raises "concerns about possible violations of the Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause."Trump in financial disclosures reported over $150 million in income from the hotel.But the hotel lost over $70 million between 2016 to 2020, the committee said, "leading the former President's holding company to inject at least $24 million to aid the struggling hotel."The committee said that Trump "grossly exaggerated" the financial status of the hotel with "misleading" disclosures, and seemingly hid "potential conflicts of interest stemming not just from his ownership of this failing business but also from his roles as the hotel's lender and the guarantor of its third-party loans."The Trump hotel in the nation's capital is located in the federally owned Old Post Office Pavilion, and the GSA manages the lease. The House Oversight Committee said the GSA failed to comply with its investigation into the hotel during the Trump era, but "finally" produced a "subset of requested documents" in July. Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and subcommittee on government operations chairman Gerald Connolly sent a letter to the GSA requesting additional information."The documents provided by GSA raise new and troubling questions about former President Trump's lease with GSA and the agency's ability to manage the former President's conflicts of interest during his term in office when he was effectively on both sides of the contract, as landlord and tenant," the letter stated. Collectively, the documents show "that far from being a successful investment, the Trump Hotel was a failing business saddled by debt that required bailouts from President Trump's other businesses," the letter went on to say.Daniel Hunter, a spokesperson for Deutsche Bank, in a statement to Insider said, "The Committee's letter makes several inaccurate statements regarding Deutsche Bank and its loan agreement."Representatives for Trump, the GSA, and the House Oversight Committee did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.Trump's refusal to divest himself from his business empire while president raised myriad conflict of interest concerns. The former president broke from his predecessors by not placing his assets in a blind trust, and scoffed at calls to distance himself from his businesses. In 2019, Trump called the emoluments clause "phony" as legal experts accused him of violating it. The foreign emoluments clause is enshrined in Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 8 of the US Constitution. The provision prohibits public officials from receiving gifts or cash from foreign governments without congressional approval.It states: "No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."A New York Times review of Trump's tax returns released last year showed he earned $73 million in revenue from the Trump Organization's interests in foreign countries across the first half of his single-term presidency alone.Additionally, there's a domestic emoluments clause that bars the president from receiving money from the US government other than an annual salary.It states: "The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them."In September 2020, The Washington Post reported that Trump's properties raked in $1.1 million in tax dollars from the Secret Service since he entered the White House. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Ohio lanches loan programs for women- and minority-owned businesses

Ohio has launched two new loan programs to help minority- and women-owned businesses to grow. Offers loans at or below market rate, which currently is up to 3%. Minimum loan amount: is $45,000 to a maximum of $500,000. Loans must be repaid within 10 years for equipment and machinery and 15 years for owner-occupied real estate. Businesses must have 51% ownership and control by women or be certified as a Women-owned Business Enterprise (WBE). Offers no-interest loans. Minimum loan: $10,000….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 6th, 2021

Latino Entrepreneurs Were Among the Hardest Hit by the Pandemic. Now They Could Spur the Economic Recovery

Jaime Macias could hardly have opened his bar and restaurant, Jaime’s Place, at a worse time. In the weeks before his scheduled grand opening in October 2020, COVID-19 ran rampant through San Antonio. Restrictions had shuttered the doors of bars and restaurants, and Macias’ own Latino community was particularly hard hit, with people dying at… Jaime Macias could hardly have opened his bar and restaurant, Jaime’s Place, at a worse time. In the weeks before his scheduled grand opening in October 2020, COVID-19 ran rampant through San Antonio. Restrictions had shuttered the doors of bars and restaurants, and Macias’ own Latino community was particularly hard hit, with people dying at higher rates than the overall population. Macias, 56, had poured his life savings into the restaurant on the West Side of the city, and unexpected costs brought him within $800 of going broke before the restaurant even opened. A year later, a stream of loyal customers fill Jaime’s Place each night, drawn by publicity Macias’ 26-year-old daughter Gabriela posts on Instagram and Facebook, to watch live performances or dance under a tin canopy decorated with Mexican papel picado. Regulars ranging from agricultural workers to officials from the San Antonio mayor’s office gather at tables in the bar’s open lot. Although the Delta variant of the virus remains a threat to the community and its businesses, Macias has a renewed sense of optimism about the bar. “Gentrification has a way of eradicating what once was, kind of whitewashing everything,” he says in his Chicano accent, seated at a wooden table outside, as Selena’s “Fotos y Recuerdos” plays in the background. “I wanted to make sure that Jaime’s Place planted the flag … We’re here por vida [for life].” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Jaime’s Place may prove to be one of the thousands of Latino-run businesses to help guide San Antonio—and the U.S. at large—out of its devastating pandemic-induced economic slump. Over the past 10 years, Latino entrepreneurs have started small businesses at a higher rate than any other demographic, all while facing higher hurdles than their white counterparts. Before the pandemic, the roughly 400,000 Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. with at least one employee generated nearly $500 billion in revenues a year and employed 3.4 million people, according to a 2020 Stanford Graduate School of Business report citing 2018 Census Bureau figures. Now, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Latinos will make up a projected 78% of net new workers between 2020 and 2030. In San Antonio, which is America’s seventh largest city, a fifth of businesses—or roughly 7,000—are Hispanic-owned. But although that proportion is one of the highest in the nation, it is nowhere near representative of the actual population, which is 68% Hispanic. In San Antonio, Hispanic residents are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic white residents to be living on an income of less than $25,000. Barriers to entry, such as language and a lack of access to established infrastructure, have historically been high for Latino entrepreneurs. Those challenges were exacerbated when COVID-19 struck, shuttering many of the businesses most commonly run by Latinos, such as restaurants, cleaning services and retail shops, forcing owners and workers to dip into their often meager savings. Ramiro Cavazos, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says that Latino business owners typically have less access to funding than their white counterparts and that only half of them have a banking relationship. That meant many of these owners had difficulties accessing the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans last summer, aimed at keeping workers on the payroll during the pandemic, because they were distributed primarily through banks. “The businesses that were able to apply for and receive those forgivable loans first were larger, more successful nonminority businesses,” Cavazos says. But now a pandemic that threatened to decimate the community might usher in the next era of small-business growth. Economic leaders like U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen believe Latinos will be essential to driving the economic recovery, just as they were after the Great Recession. From 2007 to 2012, the number of Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. grew by 3.3%, compared with a decline of 3.6% among other businesses during that period. “If history is any guide, Hispanic-owned businesses will drive a large portion of the recovery,” Yellen said during a press conference in March. A 2020 report by consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. found that the long-term recovery of the U.S. economy is “inextricable from the recovery of Hispanic and Latino families, communities, and businesses.” Members of the Latino small-business community in San Antonio say the pandemic has accelerated several positive developments. They have become more connected with their communities, and many have adopted digital strategies to reach more customers. Some have also benefited from easier access to capital. “COVID has opened our eyes to the fact that nobody is successful working in silos,” says Mariangela Zavala, the executive director of the Maestro Entrepreneur Center, a small-business incubator in west San Antonio. “We’re vulnerable by ourselves, and we really need community in order to grow.” Arturo Olmos for TIMEMacias, 56, opened his local bar, Jaime’s Place, in October 2020, during the pandemic Many local entrepreneurs—mom-and-pop businesses that once relied on proximity to a local, loyal customer base—embraced social media to reach new customers as foot traffic stalled. Lazaro Santos, 32, set up his coffee-truck business, Me Latte, in August 2020, offering signature flavors from his hometown of Piedras Negras, Mexico. Business started out slow, but immediately spiked after a popular local food influencer, S.A. Foodie, posted a video raving about Santos’ horchata iced latte. Before long, Me Latte’s Instagram account was inundated with new followers (now more than 4,800). Santos posts new photos every few days, featuring oat-milk-latte art and grinning customers. He and his wife Melissa, who helps him run the accounts, spend at least 10 hours a week on digital marketing on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Santos says the social engagement across all platforms has led directly to a 60% increase in sales, and he is now looking to experiment with different forms of marketing. At his teal-colored Me Latte trailer, parked just off the 1604 highway, Santos receives a notification on his phone. Melissa Santos just shared a photo of Lazaro pouring cream into a latte on Me Latte’s Instagram account. He hopes it will remind his customers to visit. “It’s just about being there, you know—presencia.” Small businesses are also strengthening community bonds as a business strategy. Maestro Entrepreneur Center, based in an abandoned elementary-school building in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the West Side of San Antonio, was founded by Julissa Carielo five years ago, funded by a mixture of public and private capital. Currently, 42 businesses share the space, chasing their dreams in catering, cosmetology or accountancy. Maestro puts on classes, provides digital support and connects cooks with veteran chefs to develop recipes. Teresa Garcia, whose company Food Safety Direct provides training and certification for food handlers, has been with the Maestro center since 2019. When the pandemic struck and people stopped attending classes, Maestro gave Garcia a one-month reprieve on her rent and helped her to apply for grants. Experts there also helped her pivot her business to a hybrid model, offering food handlers training and certifications through virtual and in-person classes, she says. A year and a half later, Garcia’s business has “100% returned” to its pre-pandemic levels. The support she received encouraged her to pay it forward in her community, running weekend job fairs in local malls to match up unemployed people with restaurants needing staff. For Garcia, it’s a virtuous circle. “If the restaurants are doing well, then I’m doing well—even if it means I have to do some food-handler classes for free,” she says. Other local organizations such as the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside and the San Antonio Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association have pooled education and resources, making sure the most vulnerable businesses aren’t left behind. The Chamber of Commerce has been hosting webinars on financial literacy and social media for beginners. Sandi Wolff, head of strategic relations at the Chamber of Commerce, says the organization waived its membership dues to foster connection, keeping all its members last year. She says “people are realizing they can absolutely use us to promote themselves and connect with other businesses.” Arturo Olmos for TIMEJaime Macias created an alter inside his business, Jaime’s Place, for community members to bring “ofrendas” or offerings for Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead Although these organizations can provide support and education, small businesses can go only so far without funding. Capital is the biggest hurdle Latino entrepreneurs face, says the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Cavazos. The Stanford study found that just 51% of Latino business owners receive all or most of the funding they apply for from national banks, compared with 77% of white business owners. Cavazos says larger banks historically “were not reaching out to our community because in their eyes, a loan under $1 million was not worth the effort.” When PPP loans were first rolled out, even the more established Latino-owned businesses struggled with the mountains of paperwork required. April Ancira, vice president of Ancira Auto Group, the first Hispanic Chevrolet dealer in the country, which has a strong relationship with the community-oriented Jefferson Bank, holds an M.B.A. degree and has been in her role for 15 years. Yet she says she couldn’t have completed the application without the help of numerous accountants and her company’s chief financial officer. “It honestly took a rocket scientist to apply for PPP,” she says. Since the pandemic began, business leaders in San Antonio and beyond have worked with lenders to improve access to capital. Last fall, Houston-based Woodforest National Bank partnered with the Maestro center and Bexar County to award $15,000 each to 56 entrepreneurs in San Antonio, setting them up with business bank accounts and advisers from Maestro’s network. Daniel Galindo, a senior vice president and community development and strategy director at Woodforest, has made investing in small businesses a priority, providing small loans to low-income borrowers, such as gardeners who might need to replace a lawn mower. Some of Woodforest’s loans are as small as $500 and borrowers may be considered high risk, but Galindo says the lender is taking a holistic approach to banking. “We have larger institutions that sometimes say, ‘There’s not a whole lot of money in smaller money lending.’ But we need to stop looking at it from a revenue perspective,” he says. “Without a thriving community, banking wouldn’t exist.” Woodforest often refers clients to more flexible micro-lenders like San Antonio–based nonprofit LiftFund. Lenders like these are becoming more prevalent, allowing small-business owners who previously felt alienated by banks to access capital without resorting to more predatory lenders with exorbitant interest rates. Isabel Guzman, the leader of the Small Business Administration, has stressed the importance of making lending easier and more accessible, and her agency has recruited more than 5,400 approved lenders like credit unions, community banks and fintech companies to make PPP loans, compared with 1,800 active lenders pre-pandemic, in an effort to distribute loans quickly and equitably. The shifting environment for entrepreneurs has led to a flurry of post-pandemic activity and growth in San Antonio. Garcia says the food-truck and ghost-kitchen scenes—delivery-only restaurants catering to consumers still reluctant to eat out—are exploding across the city. Woodforest is seeing more interest in its entrepreneur-accelerator program than ever, Galindo says. And the Maestro center is adding to the pipeline with two 10-week accelerator programs for more than 50 local businesses. While the lessons learned in San Antonio could prove useful to the 30 million other small businesses across the country helping to power the recovery, the role they play on the ground is just as significant. Businesses like Jaime’s Place serve as emotional lifelines after a devastating year and a half. For its largely working-class clientele, it’s where they want to spend their hard-earned cash. “[People] respect the place because it’s something that they’ve been longing for,” says Gabriela Macias. “It’s not just a bar but a place to gather and bring your kids and just be safe—and also celebrate your culture.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 1st, 2021

Top 5 Financial Stocks to Tap Higher Government Bond Yields

We have narrowed down our search to five large-cap insurers that have strong growth potential for the rest of 2021. These are: AFL, AFG, MET, FNF and MKL. Wall Street has been reeling under volatility in September after an impressive rally in the first eight months of this year. The spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus, slowing economic growth, higher inflationary pressure and the Fed's signal of a possible tapering of its quantitative easing program starting this year dented investors' confidence.However, the fundamentals of the U.S. economy have stayed solid and the overall trend of the market remains encouraging. On Sep 27, the yield curve on U.S. government bonds stiffened primarily due to strong economic data and the Fed’s decision of tapering.A hike in risk-free market interest rate will raise the cost of funds, which in turn will enable the financial companies to widen the spread between longer-term assets, such as loans, with shorter-term liabilities, thus boosting the sector’s profits margin. Consequently, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), one of the 11 broad sectors of the benchmark S&P 500 Index, has gained 1.4%.U.S. Government Bond Yields SurgeOn Sep 27, the yield on the benchmark 10-Year U.S. Treasury Note jumped to as high as 1.52% before settling at 1.482%. The yield was 1.459% at the end of the previous trading day on Sep 24. The yield reached its highest since Jun 30 and recorded its largest five-day gain since Mar 18. The yield is currently hovering above 1.5%.The yield on the long-term 30-Year U.S. Treasury Note touched as high as 2.05%, the highest level in one month, before settling at 1.994%. The yield was 1.987% at the end of the previous trading day on Sep 24. The yield posted its largest three-day gain since Feb 16.The yield on the short-term 2-Year U.S. Treasury Note ended at 0.28% compared with 0.274% at the end of Sep 24. The yield recorded the highest level since Apr 17, 2020 and a new 52-week high.Strong Economic DataOn Sep 27, the Department of Commerce reported that the durable goods orders surged 1.8% in August beating the consensus estimate of 0.7%. July’s data was revised upward to a gain of 0.5% from a loss of 0.1% reported earlier.Moreover, new orders for core capital goods (non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft) rose 0.5% in August. July ‘s data was revised upward to 0.3% from 0.1% reported earlier. Year over year, new orders for core capital goods jumped 16.4%. This metric is a closely watched proxy for business investment plan. Shipments of core capital goods rose 0.7% in August after rising 0.9% in July.  This metric is used to calculate equipment spending in GDP measurement.The above-mentioned data are very important at a time when market watchers are primarily concerned about consumer spending in view of the termination of the weekly unemployment benefit and the possibility that the central bank will gradually pull down the pandemic-induced monetary stimulus. Healthy business spending in the second half of 2021 should compensate for any material decline in consumer spending, if it happens at all.Insurance Industry to GainA major part of the financial sector is the insurance industry, consisting of life insurers, property and casualty insurers, accident and health insurers, multiline insurers, and insurance brokerage firms.The Fed's FOMC meeting of September revealed that growing support within Fed officials to start tapering the $120 billion per-month bond-buying program from this year and a hike in the benchmark lending rate in the second half of 2022. A reduction in bond buying will push bond prices down. This will increase the yield to maturity of bonds. Higher bond yields will raise the market's risk-free returns.Insurance providers are generally compelled to hold lots of long-term safe bonds to back the policies that are written. A higher yield of bonds will benefit insurance companies. The spread between the longer-term assets and shorter-term liabilities will increase the spread of insurers. Moreover, the profitability of the insurance industry rose historically during the period of rising interest rates.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed down our search to five large-cap (market capital > $10 billion) insurers that have strong growth potential for the rest of 2021 and saw positive earnings estimate revisions within the last 60 days. Each of our picks carries either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks year to date.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMetLife Inc. MET is performing well on prudent underwriting and expense management. Several accretive acquisitions led to business diversification and inorganic growth. Business streamlining over the years via divestitures has aligned the company with high-growth operations. It continues to focus on businesses with growth potential and fix or exit businesses that do not create value.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 29.6% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 10.8% over the last 60 days.Aflac Inc. AFL continues to maintain strong risk-adjusted capital at its operating subsidiaries supported by consistent earnings and good liquidity. Its U.S segment is poised to grow from the buyout of Argus Dental and Vision and Zurich North America's U.S. Corporate Life and Pensions (Group Benefits) business. A robust product pipeline for 2021 is likely to boost the segment’s sales going forward.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 12.7% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 7.1% over the last 60 days.American Financial Group Inc. AFG is an insurance holding company, provides specialty property and casualty insurance products in the United States. The company is actively involved in startups, small-to-medium sized-acquisitions, and product launches. Better industry fundamentals, a high renewal ratio, and a favorable combined ratio should drive growth. A solid capital position enables it to deploy capital effectively.This Zacks Rank #1 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 8.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 22.4% over the last 60 days.Fidelity National Financial Inc. FNF is one of the nation's largest title insurance companies through its title insurance underwriters. It also provides flood insurance, personal lines insurance and home warranty insurance through its specialty insurance business. The company is a leading provider of outsourced claims management services to large corporate and public sector entities through its minority-owned subsidiary, Sedgwick CMS.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 24% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 7.8% over the last 30 days.Markel Corp. MKL is a diverse financial holding company that markets and underwrites specialty insurance products in the United States, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, rest of Europe, Canada, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. It strives to grow through acquisitions and organic initiatives as these not only diversify and strengthen its portfolio but also expand its international footprint.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 2% over the last 7 days. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report MetLife, Inc. (MET): Free Stock Analysis Report Aflac Incorporated (AFL): Free Stock Analysis Report American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG): Free Stock Analysis Report Markel Corporation (MKL): Free Stock Analysis Report Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (FNF): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 28th, 2021

Here"s How Much You"d Have If You Invested $1000 in Regions Financial a Decade Ago

Investing in certain stocks can pay off in the long run, especially if you hold on for a decade or more. For most investors, how much a stock's price changes over time is important. This factor can impact your investment portfolio as well as help you compare investment results across sectors and industries.Another factor that can influence investors is FOMO, or the fear of missing out, especially with tech giants and popular consumer-facing stocks.What if you'd invested in Regions Financial (RF) ten years ago? It may not have been easy to hold on to RF for all that time, but if you did, how much would your investment be worth today?Regions Financial's Business In-DepthWith that in mind, let's take a look at Regions Financial's main business drivers. Regions Financial Corporation is a Birmingham, AL-based financial holding company, providing retail and commercial and mortgage banking, as well as other financial services in the asset management, wealth management, securities brokerage, trust services, merger and acquisition advisory services and other specialty financing. As of Jun 30, 2021, Regions Financial operated 1,313 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs across a 16-state network over the South, Midwest and Texas.The company has five business segments.The Corporate Bank (44% of total average assets as of Dec 31, 2020) segment includes the company’s commercial banking functions including commercial and industrial, commercial real estate, investor real estate lending and equipment lease financing.The Consumer Bank (25%) segment comprises the company’s branch network, including consumer banking products and services as well as the corresponding deposit relationships.The Wealth Management (2%) segment consists of wealth management products and services. This segment provides services such as investment advice, assistance in managing assets and estate planning to individuals and institutional clients.Other (29%) includes the company’s treasury function, the securities portfolio, wholesale funding activities, interest rate risk management activities and other corporate functions that are not related to a strategic business unit.Notably, another segment – Discontinued Operations constitutes all brokerage and investment activities associated with Morgan Keegan, which was sold in April 2012 and the sale of Regions Insurance Group, Inc. and related affiliates, which closed on Jul 2, 2018.In April 2020, the company acquired equipment finance lender, Ascentium Capital LLC, from Warburg Pincus. Also, in August 2019, Regions Financial closed acquisition of Highland Associates — a leading institutional investment firm. In July 2018, it completed the divesture of Regions Insurance Group to BB&T Insurance Holdings — a wholly owned subsidiary of BB&T Corporation.Bottom LineWhile anyone can invest, building a lucrative investment portfolio takes research, patience, and a little bit of risk. If you had invested in Regions Financial ten years ago, you're probably feeling pretty good about your investment today.According to our calculations, a $1000 investment made in September 2011 would be worth $6,027.70, or a gain of 502.77%, as of September 28, 2021, and this return excludes dividends but includes price increases.Compare this to the S&P 500's rally of 278.01% and gold's return of 1.87% over the same time frame.Analysts are anticipating more upside for RF. Regions Financial’s attractive core businesses are likely to aid its profitability in the quarters ahead. Further, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history. Its earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the trailing four quarters. Apart from its inorganic growth strategies, cost-control initiatives act as a tailwind. Investments in people, process and technology will likely boost its growth prospects. Decent loan growth backed by the resumption of business activities is likely to support interest income in the quarters ahead. However, shares of Regions Financial have underperformed the industry over the past year. Pressure on margin due to low rates is likely to hamper top-line growth. Regions Financial’s major exposure to commercial loans and rising expense base keep us apprehensive in the near term. Over the past four weeks, shares have rallied 6.98%, and there have been 4 higher earnings estimate revisions in the past two months for fiscal 2021 compared to none lower. The consensus estimate has moved up as well. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Regions Financial Corporation (RF): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 28th, 2021

Household Net Worth Hits Record $142 Trillion, Up $31 Trillion Since COVID, But There Is A Catch...

Household Net Worth Hits Record $142 Trillion, Up $31 Trillion Since COVID, But There Is A Catch... Another quarter, another record high in (1%er) household net worth. The Fed's latest Flow of Funds report released at noon today showed the latest snapshot of the US "household" sector as of June 30 2021, which confirmed that one year after the biggest drop in household net worth on record when $8 trillion was wiped out in Q1, 2020, in the 2nd quarter of 2021 the net worth of US households soared by another $5.85 trillion, or 4.3%, rising to a new all time high of $141.7 trillion. As has traditionally been the case, real estate ($34.9 trillion) and directly and indirectly held corporate equities ($47.0 trillion) were the largest components of household net worth. Meanwhile, household debt (seasonally adjusted) was $17.3 trillion. This means that over the past 12 months, US household net worth has increased by: Q2 2020: $7.92TN Q3 2020: $4.26TN Q4 2020: $7.9TN Q1 2021: $5.1TN Q2 2021: $5.85TN ... a grand total of $31 trillion. And since the bulk of this wealth goes to a fraction of the wealthiest 1% (see chart at the bottom), it means that the covid pandemic has been the biggest wealth transfer in history, making America's richest even richer. Looking at the composition of the wealth change, $3.54 trillion came from a gain in stocks, $1.2 trillion was from an increase in real estate values - the biggest quarterly increase in housing values on record -  and another $1.1 trillion coming from "other sources." And visually: It wasn't just housing and real-estate: net private savings grew at an annualized pace of almost $2.9 trillion in the second quarter after a $4.8 trillion surge in the prior quarter -- which while still a high number, suggests that almost $2 trillion in excess savings have already been spent. Excess savings have been a key driver of consumer spending, including last quarter, where consumer outlays jumped at one of the fastest paces on record. Of course, in addition to assets, liabilities also grew, and in Q2 2021 household debt grew at a 7.9% SAAR, a more rapid pace than in previous quarters as home mortgages surged by 8.0%, spurred by rising home prices and sale activity as well as by the Fed keeping borrowing costs near zero. That’s led to record-low mortgage rates, which have bolstered demand for homes. The median selling price for previously owned homes is at a record high. Homeowners’ real estate holdings minus the change in mortgage debt rose $879.7 billion (a positive value indicates that the value of real estate is growing at a faster pace than household mortgage debt). Meanwhile, nonmortgage consumer credit increased by 8.6%, as credit cards, auto loans, and student debt all increased. Nonfinancial business debt grew at a rate of 1.4%, reflecting continuing growth in commercial mortagages, nonbank loans, and corporate bonds and a decline in nonmortgage depository loans. Federal debt rose 9.6%. State and local debt increased 3.1%. As GDP continued to grow, the ratio of nonfinancial debt to GDP edged down a bit further. In the second quarter of 2020, the ratio had spiked, driven by the drop in GDP and the expansion in federal debt related to the fiscal stimulus. Looking at the various components of nonfinancial business debt, nonmortgage depository loans to nonfinancial business decreased $143 billion in the first quarter. Contributing to the decline was the forgiveness of many loans extended under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which more than offset the extension of new PPP loans. However, nonmortgage depository loans declined even excluding PPP loans. More than 400 billion of PPP loans were on the lenders’ balance sheet at the end of the second quarter and thus are still included in our measure of nonfinancial business debt. However, a large fraction of them is expected to be forgiven. In contrast to nonmortgage depository loans, commercial mortgages and nonbank loans continued to increase. Corporate bonds also increased, though at a slower pace than in the first quarter. Overall, outstanding nonfinancial corporate debt was $11.2 trillion. Corporate bonds, at roughly $6.6 trillion, accounted for 59% of the total. Nonmortgage depository loans were about $1.0 trillion. Other types of debt include loans from nonbank institutions, loans from the federal government, and commercial paper. The nonfinancial noncorporate business sector consists mostly of smaller businesses, which are typically not incorporated. Nonfinancial noncorporate business debt was $6.7 trillion, of which $4.7 trillion were mortgage loans and $1.6 trillion were nonmortgage depository loans. And while it would be great if this wealth increase was spread across most Americans, there is - as usual - a catch as unfortunately, most Americans aren’t benefiting from recent gains in wealth, and while the pandemic has led to a surge in savings and opportunities for many to buy a home or invest while pushing up the financial assets of the "top 10%" to record highs, the downturn has disproportionately impacted low-income workers, many of whom rent and don’t participate in the stock market. Indeed, the latest data as of Q1 shows that the top 1% accounts for over $41.5 trillion of total household net worth, with the number rising to over $90 trillion for just the top 10%. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the US population has virtually no assets at all. On a percentage basis, just the Top 1% now own a record 32.1% share of total US net worth, or $45.6 trillion. In other words, the richest Americans have never owned a greater share of US household income than they do, largely thanks to the Fed. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% own just 2% of all net worth, or a paltry $2.8 trillion. They do own most of the debt though... A closer look at the percentile breakdown: And the saddest chart of all: the wealth of the bottom 50% is virtually unchanged since 2006, while the net worth of the Top 1% has risen by 132% from $17.9 trillion to $41.5 trillion. Bottom line: the data underscore how the government's fiscal scramble to speed up the "economic recovery" paired with the Fed's continued ultra easy monetary policy have helped to protect and grow the wealth of the richest Americans: those who own assets, and who have seen their net worth hit an all time high... unlike the bottom 50% of Americans who mostly "own" debt.  Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 13:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

PPP rule changes help get loans to small minority-owned businesses: ‘I’m glad somebody saw the light’

Biden administration changes to the Paycheck Protection Program have boosted interest in the program and loan .....»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneFeb 25th, 2021

The number of Latino-owned businesses is skyrocketing — despite financial barriers

Latino entrepreneurs are 60% more likely to be denied loans by national banks. Despite that, Latino-owned businesses are largely profitable and rapidly growing in number......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 29th, 2021

Struggling minority-owned businesses were kept waiting until the last minute for PPP loans

The Paycheck Protec.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 3rd, 2021

Why are so many black-owned small businesses shut out of PPP loans?

To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkApr 30th, 2020

Minority businesses worry they are locked out of payroll lending program

As the government issues a second round of aid for small business owners, some U.S. senators, community banking groups and minority-owned banks said they are worried businesses owned by people of color may miss out on receiving much-needed loans......»»

Category: topSource: reutersApr 29th, 2020

Minority-owned small businesses need stimulus loans the most. They may finally get some.

SL Green Realty, a major New York landlord, lowered its guidance for 2020 as it faces economic disruption from the coronavirus outbreak. The real estate investment trust said funds from operations,... To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkApr 25th, 2020

Wells Fargo gives millions in grants to help minority-owned businesses

Wells Fargo Bank NA has awarded grants through its diverse community capital program to two Phoenix-based nonprofits that provide loans for minority-owned businesses. The San Francisco-based Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) awarded the National Association fo.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsFeb 25th, 2020

How a tiny Mexican art store in one of NYC"s priciest neighborhoods has thrived for 20 years despite skyrocketing rents

It's National Hispanic Heritage Month, and Latino-owned businesses have become a major asset to the US economy. According to a Biz2Credit study, more Latinos in the US are applying for small-business loans and shri.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2019

Loan program for minority, women-owned businesses to be extended

A program providing micro loans to women and minority-owned businesses is set to become permanent, according to a press release from the City of Pittsburgh. The Micro-Enterprise Loan Program was started in 2018 by the Urban Redevelopment Authorit.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsApr 10th, 2019

JPMorgan Funnels Resources Into Helping Women Employees and Clients

JPMorgan said it is pledging to give out $10 billion in loans to women-owned businesses. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is putting .....»»

Category: europeSource: fortuneSep 26th, 2018

We"re Living In A Chaos Economy... Here"s How To End It

We're Living In A Chaos Economy... Here's How To End It Authored by Mark Thornton via The Mises Institute, The Federal Reserve has been increasing the money supply at an explosive rate. The federal budget, deficits, and the trade deficit are record levels. Governments, both foreign and domestic, have locked down people, restricting production and consumption. How should this be viewed by an economist? There is clearly chaos in the economy, and hardly a day goes by when I don’t find unusual if not unprecedented situations in day-to-day economic life. However, many people and economists are either oblivious to the problems or in denial. Things are normal for them. Politicians are mostly in this camp. For economists and investment promotors, inflation is “transitory.” They don’t know how the economy works and they expect near perfection from the economy and entrepreneurs. This view is wrong. The chaos is all too real for most others. Homemakers who spend household income are seeing their purchasing power shrink, their choices disappearing, and more of their time consumed stretching the family budgets. Christmas shopping will be worse than normal. Chaos deniers are further entrenched in their experience by the mainstream media (MSM). The problems are either not reported by the MSM or are masked by aggregate statistics like price inflation, i.e., the Consumer Price Index, low unemployment, wage increases, and extremely high stock markets and real estate, especially housing prices. These stats make people feel good, or at least less nervous. Below the government economists’ radar there is real economic suffering. Small businesses are hurting and going out of business. Based on Help Wanted signs I drive by every day, it is extremely difficult to hire employees or purchase inputs. One local BBQ restaurant recently had a sign that said, “Out of Chicken, Pork and Beef.” Big business is likewise finding roadblocks throughout their supply chains, primarily because of lockdowns and covid restrictions. This government roadblock to economic life is epitomized by the five hundred thousand shipping containers stuck off the port of Long Beach, California. Meanwhile, domestic inventories are dwindling for everything from houses to mayonnaise.  Austrian economics provides an understanding of the causes of this chaos and the way to solve it. The Fed’s actions have been a tidal wave force against the economy. Printing money has given some signs of prosperity, but its main known effect tangible effects are higher prices, malinvestment, and more wealth redistributed from the middle class to the very wealthy. The solution is straightforward. The central bank needs to stop its policy of propping up the markets for government bonds and home mortgages and the perverse effects it is creating on the general loan market in the form of ultralow interest rates. Promises of the Fed “tapering,” where they do fewer asset purchases, is really too little too late. Completely ending assets purchases by the Fed would stop their mischief, limit the damage, and would make stocks, bonds, and homes more affordable for Americans. Lockdowns and restrictions are a great harm to the US and world economies. Why are so many cargo ships sitting waiting for unloading? Why are others going unfilled in the first place? Why aren’t truckers driving product to market? Why isn’t product being placed on shelves? There are millions of details here, but in many cases, workers are not available or are unwilling to comply with covid restrictions and requirements. Production is stuck in a quagmire of government intervention. A big piece of the problem are the restrictions and subsidies in the US labor markets. Special unemployment benefits and stimulus checks from the government mean that not working pays more than working, plus more leisure time for those that accept being on the public dole. In one recent week I engaged with three small businesses. They could not have continued to operate if they had not been able to hire a few new workers who were unwilling to be on the dole or, more likely, had not realized how easy it is to collect unemployment. Locally, McDonalds is offering 50 percent higher than minimum wage for fourteen-year-old kids, and they are still having trouble attracting workers! The bottlenecks, empty shelves, business closures, reduced hours, and “worker wanted” signs are not the direct result of price controls nor are they the fault of the market economy. Rather prices in some areas of the economy need to rise so high and so fast to harmonize supply and demand that entrepreneurs can hardly keep pace in this environment dominated by government interventions and heightened uncertainty. I truly sympathize with entrepreneurs who are trying to save jobs, keep food on our tables, plus pay a huge chunk of taxes. Locally, an ice cream stand that has been successfully in business for almost seven decades had to shut down. It wasn’t the complexity of the business, the lack of product or even the higher prices it charged. They could not find and maintain a workforce through the maze of restrictions of unemployment subsidies. The current owner of this beloved multigeneration family-owned business explained, “We don’t really know what’s going to happen. It just depends on COVID and when people want to start working.” It is unclear what aspect(s) of covid is their primary concern, but the main complaint is that “[n]obody wants to work anymore.” The federal government, in a variety of ways, is what killed this business. It is evident and increasingly clear that unemployment insurance bonuses and government stimulus checks must be stopped for the economy to recover. It’s not just retail products that are not readily available even at higher prices. People who repair and replace things that wear out or break in normal circumstances are also much scarcer. Repair-and-replace service dealers are having a hard time finding parts, replacement models, and workers to make parts and products and to service and replace them in a timely manner. I have had several such companies not answer their phone and not be able to offer appointments or show up on time because of a lack of parts and employees. All of these companies were reliable and showed up on time for repair appointments before the government-caused chaos. Buying a new car or large flat-screen smart TV is a joyous occasion in a family’s material life. We know that we will get years of enjoyment for a good price. How does this compare to going without a refrigerator, hot-water heater, or air conditioner because the product was not available? It should be clear that the cause of our new economic problems is massive across-the-board government intervention here and abroad. Among the negative consequences are these harms and dislocations we face. The solution is to remove those government interventions. Not only have they caused a great deal of interference in economic transactions, but they have destroyed businesses and people’s lives. Many have also even died as a result, from the despair and chaos, not the disease. Meanwhile, social media and internet giants, and pharmaceutical companies, among others, have received an enormous unearned windfall. This is an economic crisis, and it is one of the government’s making. Economic statistics and stock markets (led by a small number of superwinners from the lockdowns) have masked the calamity. The sure remedy is to end the interventions, especially the Fed’s inflationary policy and the restrictions and subsidies on production and consumption. This would help restore the market economy to a functioning state. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge16 hr. 42 min. ago

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

The Benefits And Challenges Of Running An Incorporation

As unicorn startups roar back and the U.S. looks back at a record year for new businesses, it may be time to re-evaluate how these businesses are set up. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The formal organization or incorporation of a business requires a legal process. Entrepreneurs often opt for a limited […] As unicorn startups roar back and the U.S. looks back at a record year for new businesses, it may be time to re-evaluate how these businesses are set up. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The formal organization or incorporation of a business requires a legal process. Entrepreneurs often opt for a limited liability company (LLC), but if they are considering taking their business globally or want to establish an initial public offering, they need to incorporate. The resulting legal entity is called a corporation - a separate tax-paying entity that separates the income and assets of the business from its investors and owners. Corporations are a widely used vehicle by businesses globally, and across the world, these share many common elements. One of the easiest ways to identify a corporation is from the terms “Inc”, “Limited”, or “Ltd” found in their names. Corporations Are Owned By Shareholders Besides being able to conduct any lawful business, corporations can own assets, borrow money, hire employees, enter contracts, sue, and be sued. These business entities are governed by a board of directors elected by the shareholders, who are the owners. Each person’s ownership percentage is determined by the number of shares owned. Business continuity is ensured by the ease with which corporation shares can be transferred. There are various types of corporations, each having some benefits or challenges. These include C corporations, S corporations, B corporations, closed corporations, and nonprofit corporations. The most common type is the C-corp, a common business entity preferred by larger companies. Benefits Of Incorporation Besides the limited personal liability, other benefits of a corporation include the easy transfer of ownership and its business continuity. Corporations also have better access to capital funding and depending on the corporation structure, they also have some tax benefits. One of the main reasons businesses choose to incorporate is the personal liability protection for its shareholders, who are not responsible for any corporate debt or legal obligations. The flexibility of the stock ownership structure also allows the business to continue long-term, depending on the bylaws and articles of incorporation. In most corporations, those wanting to leave the company just sell their stocks and these can also be transferred on death. Ease of capital access is another reason why corporations are a popular business structure. When a corporation needs to raise funds, it just sells some stock. C corporations are subject to double taxation, but other corporations have tax benefits depending on how they distribute their income. S corporations, for example, split their income between the business and shareholders. This allows each one to be taxed at different rates. Additionally, only the income nominated as owner salary is subject to self-employment tax. Challenges Of Running A Corporation Corporations are costly to run and require time-consuming processes. Several challenges include the application process, rigid formalities, and procedures. Even though filing the articles of incorporation with the secretary of state is quick, the overall process of incorporating can take time. The required paperwork is extensive, ensuring the details of the organization and its ownership are correct. These include drafting of the corporate bylaws, appointing a board of directors, creating the shareholder's ownership change agreement, issuing stock certificates, and taking minutes during meetings. Corporations are also governed by firm formalities, protocols, and structure which must be followed closely. These include following the bylaws, maintaining a board of directors, holding annual meetings, keeping minutes at board meetings, and creating annual reports. Some types of corporations also have other restrictions they need to adhere to. For example, S-corps have a limit to the number of shareholders allowed (up to 100), and these must be U.S. citizens. C-corps face taxation as an entity and its shareholders are taxed on the profits. In S-corps shareholders are taxed only on their individual income, but S-corps can be taxed as C-corps if they don’t meet the legal requirements.   Therefore, corporations are expensive to incorporate and run. Designating A Statutory Agent In most states, a business cannot incorporate if it doesn’t have a statutory agent because its filing is considered incomplete. If a business doesn’t have an agent, it can also be dissolved administratively by some states. Also known as registered agents, statutory agents are essential to ensuring the smooth running of a business. Incorporation Rocket highlights the important processes offered by professional registered agent services. These companies offer a significant role in ensuring a corporation avoids all the pitfalls of remaining compliant. Final Take Since an array of tax and legal issues are at stake, beginning with the end in mind is crucial. It may be worth getting an expert opinion on which structure or combination thereof you’ll be using. Finding statutory agents and a range of other related services should be the easy part, even for foreigners starting a business in the U.S. Updated on Oct 15, 2021, 2:28 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 15th, 2021