Green and Sustainable Bonds in Emerging Markets

Investors with allocations to emerging market debt now need to understand the true impact on developing economies of long run factors like climate change and human capital development

Governments everywhere are racing to lock in historically low borrowing costs by issuing ever longer dated debt – in recent years Mexico and Argentina even managed to sell century bonds. That presents several new challenges for fixed income investors. Particularly those who own emerging market bonds.

Not only do bondholders have to weigh the usual near-term factors like political, economic and commodity cycles but, in lending money to sovereigns over such extended periods, they now also have to consider the impact of longer term trends such as climate change and social development. Both can affect creditworthiness in profound ways.

This has called for new approaches to investment thinking. Economic and financial forecasts are having to be recast with climate dynamics in mind. Meanwhile, modelled pathways of climatic change are themselves subject to expectations about future technological change as well as the evolution of political thinking in these countries. The number of moving parts only grows as investors realise they also have a role to play in shaping how governments approach making their economies sustainable and low-carbon.

It’s a complex problem. But not an insurmountable one.

The greening of EM debt

In 2015, some 17 per cent of emerging market hard currency debt had a maturity of 20 years or more. By the start of 2021, that proportion had grown to 27 per cent. Even local currency denominated emerging market debt, which tends to be shorter-dated, has moved along the maturity curve. Over the same time period, the proportion of local currency debt with a maturity of five years or longer had risen 11 percentage points to 58 per cent (1).

That shift reflects growing demand for yield from investors starved of income. But at the same time, bondholders have recognised the importance of taking a long-term view on environmental issues. This is apparent in both the appetite for green bonds – capital earmarked for environmental- or climate-related projects – and, more generally, bonds that fall under the environmental, social and governance (ESG) umbrella.

Governments are happy to meet that demand. Increasingly, they recognise the need to make efforts to mitigate climate change, and given that emerging market economies make up half the world’s output, they have a significant role to play in meeting global greenhouse gas emissions goals.

In the five years to the end of 2020, annual issuance of green, social and sustainability bonds by emerging market governments grew nearly four-fold to USD16.2 billion (2). And demand is only increasing. For instance, in the first few weeks of January, Chile met 70 per cent of its expected USD6 billion debt issuance for 2021, all in green and social bonds and it plans only to issue sustainable and green bonds during the remainder of the year (3). In September 2020, Egypt became the first Middle Eastern government to issue a green bond. It raised USD750 million to finance or refinance green projects. Investors were enthusiastic – the bond was five times oversubscribed (4).

And generally, these bonds have longer maturities than conventional fixed income securities. Some 46 per cent of USD36.8 billion of outstanding emerging market ESG bonds priced in local currency terms have a maturity of more than 10 years, while for emerging markets hard currency ESG bonds, it’s 41 per cent of USD12.9 billion of outstanding bonds (5).

These bonds allow investors to track performance, while green agendas can also help governments to improve their credit ratings, which then lifts the value of their debt, thus rewarding bond holders.

Overall, green bonds generate positive feedback effects. The rising volumes of green and sustainable bond issuance highlights investors’ willingness to take more of a long-term approach to EM investing. But at the same time, governments are being made more accountable – in order to issue these bonds, governments are having to publish their sustainability frameworks in greater detail. This additional accountability helps to mitigate political risks that are a key consideration in EM investing. Investors, however, will need to analyse and monitor developments closely to ensure proceeds are used as intended.

Indeed, green bonds are the most exciting development in emerging market financing for decades and, we think, will have an equivalent impact to the Brady bonds of the 1980s (6) – albeit this is dependent on improved disclosure and monitoring and industry standardisation of green labels.

Climate change matters (especially in EM)

For all the sovereign issuance of green bonds so far, a great deal more funding will need to be raised to limit climate change. Globally it will cost between USD1 trillion and USD2 trillion a year in additional spending to limit global warming, some 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent of worldwide GDP, according to the Energy Transitions Commission (7). And a significant part of those costs will need to be borne by emerging economies, not least because they are likely to suffer most.

By the end of this century, unmitigated climate change – entailing warming of 4.3° centigrade above pre-industrial levels – would cut per capita economic output in major countries like Brazil and India by more than 60 per cent compared to a world without climate change, according to a report by Oxford University’s Smith School sponsored by Pictet (8). Globally, the shortfall would be 45 per cent.

Limiting warming to 1.6° C would sharply reduce that hit to roughly 27 per cent of potential output per capita for the world as a whole, albeit with considerable variation among countries. While those in the tropics countries would be hit hard by the effects of drought and altered rainfall patterns, those in high latitudes, like Russia, would be relative winners as ports become less ice-locked and more territory is opened up to extractive industries and agriculture. And though China would suffer smaller overall losses than average, its large coastal conurbations would be subject to depredations caused by rising sea levels.

Integrating risks

As these effects are felt, investors will grow increasingly wary of lending to vulnerable countries. And climate change is already having an impact on developing countries’ credit ratings. In 2018, rating agency Standard & Poor’s cited hurricane risk when it cut its ratings outlook on the sovereign debt issued by the Turks and Caicos (9).

Investors could expect climate-related events, like droughts, severe storms and shifts in precipitation patterns, to push up output and inflation volatility in emerging economies during the next ten to 20 years, according to Professor Cameron Hepburn, lead author of the Oxford report.

That would represent a significant reversal for emerging market sovereign borrowers. Since the turn of the century the relative rate of growth and inflation volatilities between emerging and developed markets has halved (10), which, in turn, has reduced the risk faced by investors. Rising economic volatility would feed into sovereign risk assessments, eroding their credit profiles.

Other research from the Oxford team highlights the choices countries will need to take to remain on the path towards building a greener economy (11).

At Pictet Asset Management, we already use a wealth of ESG data – from both external and internal sources –as part of how we score countries. The environmental factors we monitor include air quality, climate change exposure, deforestation and water stress. Social dimensions include education, healthcare, life expectancy and scientific research. And governance covers elements like corruption, electoral process, government stability, judicial independence and right to privacy. Together these factors are aggregated to become one of six pillars in the country risk index (CRI) ranking produced by our economics team.

Level playing fields

We believe that ESG considerations are inefficiently reflected in emerging market asset prices. This is a consequence of the market still being at an early stage in its understanding and application of ESG factors and analysis. There is also a lack of consistent and transparent ESG data for many emerging countries. We believe that using an ESG score alone is simply not enough. Having a sustainable lens through which to examine emerging market fundamentals helps us to mitigate risk and unearth investment opportunities. We use our own ESG data and analysis and engage with sovereign bond issuers to help bring about long-term change.

Emerging market economies vary hugely in their degree of development. This complicates how investors should weigh their ESG performance – after all, richer countries are more able to make the ESG-positive policy decisions that often have high front end costs for a long tail of benefits, such as shutting down coal mines in favour of solar power.

Applying the most simplistic approach to ESG – investing on the basis of countries’ ESG rankings – would squeeze fixed income investors out of the poorest developing countries, even if they are implementing the right policies to improve their ESG standing. Instead, it’s important for investors to recognise what is possible and achievable by poorer countries and allocate funding within those constraints – understanding countries’ direction of travel in terms of ESG is critical to analysing their prospects.

One solution we are implementing at Pictet AM is to weigh ESG criteria against a country’s GDP per capita. So, for example, under our new scoring system, Angola does well on this adjusted basis despite having a low overall ranking. And the reverse is true for Gulf Cooperation Council member states.

Dynamic approaches

How governments react to long-term issues like climate change or to the challenge of developing their human capital will influence their economies’ trajectories and, ultimately, play a role in their credit ratings. Those long-term decisions are only growing in importance, not least given the scale of fiscal policies implemented in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tracking these spending programmes – through, say, the likes of the Oxford Economic Stimulus Observatory (12) – then becomes an important step towards understanding the ESG pathways governments are likely to follow.

Countries with good, well-structured policies are likely to see their credit ratings improve, which attracts investors, drawing funding into their green investment programmes and ultimately driving a virtuous investment cycle.

Engaged investors

All this implies that investors have an active role to play – they can’t just passively allocate funding based on index weightings or be purely reactive to policymakers’ decisions. The most successful investors will help steer governments towards the path that boosts their credit ratings, gives them most access to the market and improves the fortunes and potential of citizens.

Like, for instance, explaining how electricity generated by wind turbines or solar can prove to be more cost-effective over the long term if financed by green bonds than ostensibly cheaper coal extracted from a mine paid for with higher yielding conventional debt. Or how fossil fuel investments could prove to be major white elephants as these sorts of polluting assets become stranded by shifts towards cleaner energy production. Or that failing to invest enough in education is a false economy that over the long run will fail to make the most of human capital and thus depress national output – something we raised with the South African government after our meetings with our on-the-ground charitable partners in the country.

To that end, The World Bank produced in 2020 a timely guide on how sovereign issuers can improve their engagement with investors on ESG issues (13). 

This sort of intensive analysis – using everything from long run macro models down to meetings with leaders of youth clubs in impoverished districts – can also help to paint a rounded picture of what’s happening in a country. For instance, it helped to ensure that we weren’t caught off guard by the shift to populism in Argentina ahead of their last elections and allowed us to trim our positions in the country.

For emerging market investors, ensuring all of these cogs mesh correctly is a difficult proposition, especially given that the parts are moving all the time, many driven by forces that will develop over many decades. But by using the full breadth of analytical tools, independent research and shoe leather fact-finding, it’s possible to gain a deeper and more profitable insight into these markets than a simple reading of credit ratings or index weightings offers.

And, at the same time, influence policy makers to champion their country’s sustainable initiatives. Taking a sustainable approach to growth and issuing related bonds, emerging economies can fundamentally change their prospects for the better. It has the potential to be revolutionary for emerging markets and exhilarating for those of us who invest in them.

By Mary-Therese Barton

Source: Green and Sustainable Bonds in Emerging Markets | Funds Society

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How APIs Can Speed Up The Mortgage Loan Application Process

The mortgage revolution: how APIs can speed up the mortgage loan application process

The digitization and opening of banking infrastructure have marked a before and an after in the financial industry. Bank branches have given way to an online contract and operational model, where physical presence is no longer as necessary. Open banking has gone a step further, granting access to third parties so that all banking operations and transactions can be completed from other digital platforms, provided that they have the corresponding authorization and certify their security.

Mortgages, the core business of many banks, have not remained untouched by this new reality. In the vast majority of cases, it is still necessary for customers to go to the branch in person to negotiate the loan’s terms. But this form of closing contracts seems to be on its way out, since banking APIs aim to speed up the process for applying for and granting such loans.

The traditional mortgage application: a slow, paper-heavy process

The mortgage market has undergone an unprecedented transformation over the past 10 years, since the advent of the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008. Since then, and in order to avoid the terrible consequences of the burst housing bubble in the United States and Spain, different rules have been passed to protect consumers.

Financial institutions have had to adapt their processes to fit this new legislative framework, with stricter criteria for granting a mortgage: it is necessary to appraise the property for sale, to send all the documentation certifying the applicant’s solvency, to have the bank approve it according to its risk management and go to a notary public, with all the resulting costs.

Overall, the mortgage loan initiation process takes ten to fifteen days on average, although there is no legally set period. The Spanish mortgage law, which entered into force in June 2019, has extended these deadlines even further and, in some cases, they may go beyond a 30-day period.

Open banking as a catalyst for the mortgage market revolution

Given the mortgage market‘s special characteristics, applying for and granting a mortgage is one of the few banking processes that still requires the physical presence of customers at a bank branch. However, open banking and APIs can be the ultimate catalyst for opening a new path for automation.

In fact, according to the latest IRESS Intermediary Mortgage Survey 2019, 96% of respondents say that open banking in general, and the standardization of API use in particular, is beneficial when you sign up for a mortgage. Broadly speaking, users believe that this technology will promote more comfortable access to banking customers and help accelerate the process of applying for and granting mortgage loans.

A significant reduction in paperwork

During the application for a mortgage, a branch manager requests a series of documents from their customer. The customer, in turn, must gather all the information, prove that this documentation is in order and send it to the bank; the bank then performs the corresponding risk control and approves/rejects the application.

With APIs, this process can be significantly simplified. The new biometric identification elements have changed the way this documentation is presented; something that, until recently, seemed unchangeable. Coupled with the fact that, thanks to this open infrastructure, banks and other fintech companies can access data on customer solvency in an agile and simple way, and always with their consent, all these factors significantly reduce the paperwork and time spent on approving and granting these loans.

Easier to meet regulatory criteria

In June 2019, the new Spanish mortgage law came into force. It represented a major regulatory change and forced entities to adapt to new legal requirements. This new rule affected the entire process, from signing to canceling the mortgage loan, offering greater protection to customers and more transparency in contracts.

This adaptation has brought a number of associated costs, and a lot of confusion for both entities (how to adjust their business and systems to the new regulation) and for customers, who often are not aware of their rights under the new law.

APIs can be used to efficiently adapt some processes and to send or retrieve additional information in accordance with new legal requirements, and to provide it clearly and with absolute transparency to customers. These applications can run different tasks to ensure that the procedures meet the expected criteria.

A complete experience for customers

Mortgages are arguably the most complicated-to-understand banking product found in the portfolio of products of any institution’s commercial network. Numerous factors and variables are involved: Euribor, the French amortization system, the APR, the associated fees and commissions, the linked products…

In practice, understanding all these terms takes time, especially when we talk about something as important as buying a home. That is why an API can help customers find relevant information about their mortgage. In fact, APIs make it possible to implement a simulator where customers can find out in advance, quickly and 100% online, information about their mortgage’s payments, fees and commissions, the amortization scheme, and what happens if the Euribor goes up or down.

All this results in greater customer satisfaction and a new experience that expands and accelerates the ability to choose, while also increasing their satisfaction with the search process.

A use case: BBVA’s Mortgages API

BBVA’s Mortgages API allows you to offer your customers the necessary financing for the purchase of their home or obtaining for liquidity without having to leave their application. Thanks to this API, the sale process can be carried out from the house of the future buyer or from your own office, without having to go to a bank branch and handle all the paperwork in person.

Also, before applying for their mortgage, users will be able to find out important economic data, such as the minimum amount needed to apply, and to simulate different scenarios and determine their payments during the whole loan repayment period.

In short, the use of an API like BBVA Mortgages allows you to integrate an entire ecosystem necessary to simulate a mortgage with all its associated expenses into a real estate platform or any other platform, find out all its details, check if you can access it and proceed to sign up for it directly from a single application. All with transparency and without friction of any kind.

Source: The mortgage revolution: how APIs can speed up the mortgage loan application process

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College Funding Changes In The Pandemic Relief Bill

There are several student financial aid provisions in the pandemic relief package that was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that passed the House and Senate on Monday, December 21, 2020.

Student Loan Relief

Student loan borrowers are disappointed that the legislation did not include an extension to the student loan payment pause and interest waiver, nor did it provide any student loan forgiveness.

The payment pause and interest waiver is set to expire on January 31, 2021. President-elect Joe Biden will be able to extend it further after he takes office on January 20, 2021. Several possible extension dates have been floated, including April 1, April 30 and September 30, but Joe Biden has not yet said anything specific about the extension, just that it is needed.

Nevertheless, there are some changes in the legislation that affect student loan borrowers. In particular, the tax-free status of employer-paid student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs), which was set to expired on December 31, 2020, has been extended for five years through the end of 2025. Such LRAPs will be exempt from income and FICA taxes for both the employee and the employer.

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SULA, a complicated set of limits on subsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans, has been repealed. SULA mostly affected students who transferred from a 4-year college to a 2-year college.

In addition, there have been a few changes concerning the U.S. Department of Education’s Next Generation Processing and Servicing Environment (NextGen) for federal student loans.

  • New student loan borrower accounts must be allocated to loan servicers based on their past performance and servicing capacity.
  • Borrower accounts must be reallocated from servicers for “recurring non-compliance with FSA guidelines, contractual requirements, and applicable laws, including for failure to sufficiently inform borrowers of available repayment options.” Applicable laws include consumer protection laws.
  • NextGen must allow for multiple student loan servicers that contract directly with the U.S. Department of Education.
  • NextGen must incentivize more support to borrowers at risk of delinquency or default.
  • Borrowers must be allowed to choose their loan servicer when they consolidate their federal loans.
  • The U.S. Department of Education must improve transparency through expanded publication of aggregate data concerning student loan servicer performance.

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Changes in College Tuition Tax Breaks

The legislation changes the income phaseouts for the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLTC) to be the same as the income phaseouts for the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), starting with tax years that begin after December 31, 2020.

The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit will start phasing out at $80,000 for single filers and $160,000 for taxpayers who file as married filing jointly. The tax credit is fully phased out at $90,000 (single) and $180,000 (married filing jointly). Married taxpayers who file separate returns are not eligible.

For comparison, the 2020 income phaseouts for the LLTC were $59,000 to $68,000 (single) and $118,000 to $136,000 (married filing jointly).

The new income phaseouts will not be adjusted for inflation.

In addition, the legislation repeals the Tuition and Fees Deduction, effective with tax years that begin in 2021. This is a permanent repeal, so the Tuition and Fees Deduction will not be resurrected by the next tax extenders bill.

New Funding for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

The $81.88 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund includes

  • $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
  • $22.7 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
  • $4.05 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, of which $2.75 billion has been earmarked for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund previously received $16 billion as part of the CARES Act.

The allocation formula for the HEERF funding is more complicated than the one in the CARES Act, but the allowable uses are similar. Public and private non-profit colleges are required to use at least half of the money for financial aid grants to students. Private for-profit colleges are required to use all of the money for financial aid grants to students. Colleges must provide at least the same amount of emergency financial aid grants to students as they did under the CARES Act provisions, even if their total allocation is lower.

The emergency financial aid grants to students can be used for any element of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs related to the pandemic, such as “tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care.”

The grants must be prioritized to students with exception financial need, such as Pell Grant recipients.

The emergency financial aid grants to students are tax-free.

Most College Students Remain Ineligible for Stimulus Checks

Most college students will remain ineligible for the recovery rebate checks, also known as the stimulus checks.

The legislation includes the same restriction that limits the $600 per qualifying child to children age 16 and younger. Only 0.1% of undergraduate students are age 16 or younger.

College students who are under age 24 are also ineligible, because they can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s federal income tax return. The remain ineligible even if they are not claimed on someone else’s tax return.

A college student might qualify if they are married and file a joint return with their spouse or if they provide more than half of their own support. About 15% of undergraduate students are married. College students who are 24 years old or older may also qualify. More than 40% of undergraduate students are 24 years old or older.

College students can still claim the $1,200 stimulus checks from the CARES Act in addition to the new $600 stimulus checks, if they are eligible.

Increase in the Maximum Pell Grant

The maximum Federal Pell Grant has been increased to $6,495 for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Eligibility criteria will be pegged to a multiple of the poverty line starting with the 2023-2024 academic year. Students will be eligible for the maximum Pell Grant if they and their parents/spouse, as applicable, are not required to file a federal income tax return or if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than 175% to 225% of the poverty line. The higher threshold is reserved for households involving a single parent.

FAFSA Simplification

The legislation simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) starting with the 2023-2024 academic year. The new FAFSA reduces the number of questions on the form by two-thirds, from 108 questions to about three dozen questions. Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website or some of my other work here

Mark Kantrowitz

Mark Kantrowitz

I am Publisher of PrivateStudentLoans.guru, a free web site about borrowing to pay for college. I am an expert on student financial aid, the FAFSA, scholarships, 529 plans, education tax benefits and student loans. I have been quoted in more than 10,000 newspaper and magazine articles about college admissions and financial aid. I am the author of five bestselling books about paying for college and have seven patents. I serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Student Financial Aid, the editorial advisory board of Bottom Line/Personal, and am a member of the board of trustees of the Center for Excellence in Education. I have previously served as publisher of Savingforcollege.com, Cappex, Edvisors, Fastweb and FinAid. I have two Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Master’s degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

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University of California Television (UCTV)

How to pay for college is a pressing question for all applicants from the class of 2020. COVID-19 has caused financial uncertainty and many are having to rethink their plans. Jodi Okun, an expert in financial aid, joins Steven Mercer to talk about how the pandemic is impacting financial aid awards, what to do if your family’s financial situation has changed, and how to plan for the future in uncertain times. [Show ID: 35963] More from: STEAM Channel (https://www.uctv.tv/steam) UCTV is the broadcast and online media platform of the University of California, featuring programming from its ten campuses, three national labs and affiliated research institutions. UCTV explores a broad spectrum of subjects for a general audience, including science, health and medicine, public affairs, humanities, arts and music, business, education, and agriculture. Launched in January 2000, UCTV embraces the core missions of the University of California — teaching, research, and public service – by providing quality, in-depth television far beyond the campus borders to inquisitive viewers around the world. (https://www.uctv.tv)

How to Finance an Acquisition Using an SBA Loan

If you want to buy another business, don’t let a lack of capital hold you back. You’re unlikely to land on that killer idea the first time, so serial entrepreneurship is your best chance of success.  When you spot a business for sale that would thrive under your leadership, but your funds are tied up in your current company, consider an SBA (Small Business Administration) loan to finance the acquisition. 

Hang on – what’s the SBA?

The SBA is a federal agency that helps small businesses get loans. I doesn’t issue loans itself, but it works with lenders to overcome obstacles to business lending, such as guaranteeing loans, reducing risk and sourcing capital. On a deeper level, the SBA funds, licenses and regulates investment funds that in turn lend to small businesses. 

Because the SBA helps foster competition and diversity in the U.S. economy, getting an SBA loan to finance an acquisition is relatively simple. Importantly, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been declined credit before or have a poor credit history. You might still qualify for a loan with the SBA. That said, it does have certain eligibility requirements, including:

  • Your business must trade in the U.S.
  • You must have invested in the business yourself.
  • You must be a for-profit business.
  • You must have tried but been unable to source funding from traditional lenders.

Related: SBA Approves Simple 1-Page PPP Forgiveness Application for Loans of $50,000 or Less

Why finance an acquisition with the SBA?

Better rates

When you’ve run out of other options, the SBA can save a potential acquisition deal. But that’s not all. SBA loans are also competitively priced (under 8 percent). As a federal agency, the SBA enforces responsible lending and risk management so lenders can afford to charge lower rates and fees. You’re arguably less exposed to predatory practices when you borrow from the SBA than from subprime business lenders. Terms vary from seven to 25 years, giving ample time to repay at an affordable monthly premium.

Better terms

Because the SBA guarantees up to 85 percent of the loan, there’s less pressure on you and your current business to shoulder all the risk. You’ll rarely pay more than a 10 percent down payment, and if you’re borrowing less than $350,000, you won’t always need collateral. That said, you will need to sign a personal guarantee to repay the loan in full. 

Help and support

The SBA can be a helpful sidekick during the acquisition process, too. You might hit a wall of due diligence and legal wrangling, which can deter even the staunchest entrepreneurs from moving forward. The SBA has a vested interest in your success here and can support you right until you sign the purchase agreement with counseling and learning resources. 

Related: Multiple Owners? Here’s How to Prepare for Your Loan Application.

How to get an SBA loan to finance an acquisition

The general-use 7(a) loan is the SBA’s most popular, and it’s ideal as acquisition finance. You can borrow up to $5 million which is more than enough for acquisitions of small or even medium-sized businesses. You can only borrow what you can afford to repay, however, which an SBA-approved lender will determine when you apply.

To begin applying for an SBA loan, you first need a list of SBA-approved lenders in your area. Head to the SBA website, fill in some basic details and its matching tool will produce a list of suitable lenders. Do remember this isn’t an application, and those in the list won’t necessarily give you a loan. 

Next step is to apply, the specifics of which will vary from lender to lender. But be prepared to hand over or have scrutinized the following information:

  • The amount of money you want to borrow and its purpose.
  • A business plan. Because you’re acquiring a new business, this should include post-acquisition plans and why it’s the right acquisition for you.
  • Your financials. The lenders will want evidence you’re capable of repaying the loan. Expect to hand over tax filings, balance sheets, P&L statements and more.
  • Your experience. They’ll want to see your industry expertise in both your current business and the one you’re about to buy should it be in a different sector.
  • Your credit history. Again, don’t stress if your record has a few hiccups. The SBA underwrites a portion of loans and therefore can accept some poor credit applications. 
  • Collateral. How will you collateralize the loan? Will it be stock, property or other assets? Depending on the lender, you might be able to choose what’s off and on the table collateral-wise.  

The SBA and the lender will assess your application and return with a decision. 

Some things to remember

Plan early as getting an SBA loan takes time

If you’ve already found a business you like, apply for the SBA loan now. As you might know, dealing with federal agencies is a long and bureaucratic process. It might be a few weeks before you receive a decision and perhaps a week or two more to receive funds. Get the ball rolling as soon as possible so you don’t lose out to another buyer.

7(a) interest rates are variable

The 7(a) SBA loan type is a variable base rate plus a markup negotiated with your lender. When this base rate changes, the rate on your loan changes, so be prepared for paying a bit more or less each month over the term of the loan. 

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate

You need to negotiate fees, repayments, collateral, interest and so on with the lender. The SBA limits what the lender can charge, but rest assured the lender will seek the best outcome for itself. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms – especially if you’re in a position of strength such as having a good credit rating. 

SBA loans are one of the best forms of credit available. The interest rates are low, and the repayment terms are fair. If you already own a business and are eyeing up another, don’t fret if you don’t have the capital to finance the acquisition. The SBA can help you seal the deal. 

Related: 5 Surprising Reasons to Love the Small Business Administration

By: Andrew Gazdecki Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Alex Berman

In this video, I am going to show you how to get small business loans in 2020. This is a sponsored video by https://mailrush.io/ Get 30% OFF the first month using code: COLDEMAIL Grab the Cold Email Optimization Checklist for free here: ➡️ http://email10k.com/checklist ⬅️ — Even though most of my businesses were bootstrapped, I did take loans for my businesses when I was low on dough. There are times when business loans are the worst thing you could get and times when it is a viable option.

In today’s video, I go through the process of getting small business loans in 2020. – START OR GROW YOUR BUSINESS: http://Email10k.com ONE ON ONE MENTORSHIP: http://220Coaching.com FREE DOWNLOADS: https://linktr.ee/email10K – If you need to send Cold Emails or if your current provider is not allowing you to send Cold Emails, You must get an account at MailRush.io. With https://mailrush.io/ you can send bulk emailing campaigns in autopilot while avoiding blacklisting problems. Improve your sending reputation with your own dedicated IP. We will include for FREE a customized IP Warmup Schedule with your Dedicated IP Account. __ /// R E S O U R C E S Get the sales and service agreement we use to close business (free client contract template) [$1,000 value]: http://email10k.com/contract Get the actual questions we use to qualify clients on the first call: http://email10k.com/discovery Get the proposal template you can use to sell 5 and 6 figure deals: http://email10k.com/proposal __ /// WORK WITH ALEX Make your first $100k: http://email10k.com Have us grow your business: http://experiment27.org __ /// MORE FROM ALEX Subscribe for more content like this: https://www.youtube.com/user/alxberma…

Was Your PPP Loan Less Than $50,000? Life Just Got (A Little Bit) Easier

On March 27, 2020, Donald Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act, a $2.3 trillion relief package designed to help individuals and businesses weather the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The headliner of the CARES Act was the creation of the PPP, a new loan program under Section 7(a) of the Small Business Act designed to put nearly $600 billion into the hands of small businesses for use in paying employee wages and other critical expenses throughout the pandemic.

The reason over two million businesses rushed to the bank to grab a PPP loan, however, was not because they were eager to saddle their struggling enterprises with more debt. Rather, the idea was that these PPP loans were loans in name only; once a borrower received the funds, the amount spent over the next 8 (now 24!) weeks on payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities would be eligible to be completely forgiven. Recommended For You

By late May, however, many borrowers were nearing the end of their 8-week periods, only to find that a number of barriers continued to prevent them from reaching full employment, and thus, achieving full forgiveness of their PPP loans. As a result, on June 5, 2020, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which made several dramatic changes to the legislative text of the CARES Act.

In recent weeks, as Congress has worked towards yet another round of COVID-19 stimulus, there has been talk about even more tweaks being made to the PPP process, but the reality is, at this point, borrowers don’t want more, they want less.

Allow me to explain. Many PPP borrowers are through or nearing the end of their “covered period,” as discussed more fully below. It is now time for them to apply for forgiveness. But when these borrower’s are forced to address the endless morass of poorly-defined terms, ever-changing requirements, and collection of complicated calculations that make up the forgiveness process, they are routinely left with a raging case of buyer’s remorse.

As a result, most borrower’s don’t want more changes to the PPP loan program, they just want to be told that their debt will all magically go away, as they hoped it would when they rushed to borrow it. Or stated another way, they want to hear that their debt will be forgiven without having to pay more to their accountants to compute the forgivable amount than they borrowed in the first place.

Well today, borrowers finally got some good news. Or should I say, a narrow class of PPP borrowers got some good news. The SBA released a streamlined application — Form 3508S — designed specifically for those who borrowed less than $50,000.

Form 3508S
Form 3508S Nitti

A quick perusal of the instructions to the form makes clear that for this class of borrowers, forgiveness will still not be automatic. So where’s the good news? Several of the issues that make the standard application for forgiveness so confusing and time-consuming have now been removed for these small borrowers. Specifically, a borrower of a PPP loan of less than $50,000 is no longer required to reduce the amount eligible for forgiveness if the borrower:

  1. Reduces the salary or hourly wage of an employee (who earned less than $100,000 in 2019) during the “covered period” following the borrowing relative to the first quarter of 2020, or
  2. Reduces full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) during the covered period relative to a base period.

Stated in another way, a borrower of a PPP loan of less than $50,000 may apparently slash salary and fire FTEs with impunity. And while this new reality may run completely contrary to the initial intent of the PPP, it’s welcome relief to those tasked with applying for forgiveness.

Aside from those very important changes, the application process remains largely the same. A borrower must still do the math and compute the amount eligible for forgiveness; the difference, however, is that small borrowers are no longer required to show their math. Be warned, however: the instructions make clear that the SBA may request from the borrower support for their computation at any time.

Since you’ve read this far, perhaps it’s best that we (briefly) review the process of asking for forgiveness. If you’re not eligible to file on a Form 3508S — and must instead use the Form 3508 — please read these step-by-step instructions.

Getting Started

It all begins on the date the loan was received (or does it?) The borrower must then determine the amount spent on four classes of permitted expenses — payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities — that are paid OR incurred throughout the “covered period,” a timeframe that has only grown more confusing since the passage of the CARES Act.

Covered Period

Courtesy of the June 5 legislation, the “covered period” can now be as many as FOUR different periods. The default setting is that the covered period is the 24-week period beginning on the date you received the loan disbursement. 

If you received your loan prior to June 5, 2020, however, you may elect to use the 8-week covered period provided by the CARES Act. Presumably, you would only do this if you 1) spent all of your PPP loan on eligible costs within the 8-week window, 2) did not reduce any salary or headcount during the 8-week period, and 3) are eager to move on from the PPP process and never speak of it again.

In computing payroll costs — and ONLY payroll costs — eligible for forgiveness, you are also permitted to choose an “alternative payroll covered period,” which is the 24-week (168 day) period beginning on the first day of the first pay period following the disbursement date, allowing a business to neatly align its covered period with the beginning of a pay period. Thus, if you received your PPP loan on April 20, 2020, and the first day of your next pay period is April 26, 2020, you may elect to count the payroll costs — and only the payroll costs — for the 24-week period beginning April 26, 2020, rather than the 24-week period beginning April 20, 2020.

Obviously, if you elect to use the 8-week covered period, you simply adjust the language above to suit a 56-day period rather than a 168-day period.

Paid or Incurred

Only costs “paid or incurred” during your appropriate covered period are eligible for forgiveness. Payroll costs are paid on the day the paychecks are distributed or the borrower originates an ACH credit transaction. Thus, you could have received PPP loans on April 26 and immediately paid – as part of your regular payroll process – wages that had been earned by the employees for the previous two weeks, and now include the amounts in the forgiveness calculation because the amounts had been PAID within the covered period.

Payroll costs are incurred on the day they are earned, and will be forgivable as long as they are paid no later than the next regular payroll date after the end of the covered period. Thus, if you covered period ends on November 1st, payroll incurred prior to that date, but paid AFTER that date, will be forgiven provided it is paid on its first regular due date after November 1st.

The rules for non-payroll costs are identical, except the “alternative payroll covered period” is not available. In order for costs such as mortgage interest, rent and utilities to qualify for forgiveness, these expenses must either be: 1) paid DURING the 24-week covered period, or 2) incurred during the 24-week period, and paid by its next regular due date, even if that due date is outside the 24-week period.

Once again, it would appear that by allowing all payments made DURING the period to be eligible for forgiveness, borrowers are permitted to pay rent, interest, or utilities related to periods prior to the 24-week period and have those expenses forgiven.

Payroll Costs

Payroll costs are the first, and largest, of the four classes of forgivable costs. It is a class, however, with four subclasses of its own: cash compensation, health care costs, retirement plan costs, and certain state and local taxes on employee compensation. The forgivable amounts for each subclass depend on whether they are being paid to an employee, an “owner-employee,” or a self-employed taxpayer.

Cash Compensation

The CARES Act provides that the amounts spent on “payroll costs” during the 24-week covered period are eligible for forgiveness. Including in payroll costs are certain compensation amounts; specifically, the sum of payments of any compensation with respect to employees that is a:

  • Salary, wage, commission, or similar compensation;
  • Payment of cash tip or equivalent;
  • Payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; or
  • Allowance for dismissal or separation.

Compensation does not include, however:

  •  The compensation of an individual employee in excess of an annual salary of $100,000, as prorated for the covered period. As a result, in no situation can you have forgiven more than $46,154 (24/52 * $100,000) in payroll costs for any one employee. If you elect to use the 8-week covered period, the compensation paid to any one employee that is eligible for forgiveness cannot exceed $15,384 (8/52 * $100,000).
  • Any compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside of the United States;
  • Qualified sick leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7001 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116–127); or
  • Qualified family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116–127).

Additional limitations apply to self-employed taxpayers and “owner-employees.”

For a self-employed taxpayer with no employees, full forgiveness should be guaranteed as a result of the mechanics governing the initial borrowing and subsequent forgiveness. A self-employed taxpayer with no employees was entitled to borrow 2.5/12 of the self-employment income from the taxpayer’s 2019 Form Schedule C. Not coincidentally, after the passage of the PPP Flexibility Act, self-employed taxpayers with no employees will have forgiven 2.5/12 of the self-employment income from the taxpayer’s 2019 Form Schedule C. Because these two amounts will be the same, full forgiveness is guaranteed.

The rules are more complicated for “owner-employees,” only recently defined as one who owns 5% or more of the stock of a C or S corporation. Here, two limitations apply. First, the maximum compensation cost for 2020 is capped at 2.5 months of an annualized $100,000 salary, or $20,833 (or $15,384 for a borrower using the 8-week covered period). Compare this to the $46,152 an employee can be paid throughout the covered period.

Then, the forgivable amount is further limited to 2.5 months of the 2019 compensation of the owner-employee. This will prevent an owner from increasing their compensation during the covered period to maximize forgiveness by limiting the amount included in the forgivable amount to 10/52 of the owner’s compensation for 2019.

Non-Cash Compensation Payroll Costs

In addition to cash compensation, a borrower may have forgiven the sum of the following three expenses:

  1. Payment required for the provisions of group health care benefits, including insurance premiums;
  2. Payment of any retirement benefit; or
  3. Payment of State or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees.

For employees with no ownership interest, these amounts are in ADDITION TO the annualized compensation cap of $100,000. Thus, an employee could have up to $46,152 of compensation forgiven, as well as amounts allocable to that employee reflecting his or her share of health costs, retirement benefits, or state and local taxes.

For an owner-employee of a C corporation, all three costs are allowable in addition to the applicable cap. For an S corporation shareholder, however, no costs attributable to health care costs are forgivable, while the remaining two costs are forgivable in ADDITION TO the applicable cap. For a self-employed taxpayer, NONE of the costs are allowable.

Non-Payroll Costs

As a reminder, in addition to payroll costs, the CARES Act permits forgiveness for three other classes of expenses paid during the covered period.

  • Any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation (not including any prepayment of or payment of principal on a covered mortgage obligation). The term “covered mortgage obligation” means any indebtedness or debt instrument incurred in the ordinary course of business that is a liability of the borrower, is a mortgage on real or personal property, and was incurred before February 15, 2020,
  •  Any payment on any covered rent obligation. The term “covered rent obligation” means rent obligated under a leasing agreement in force before February 15, 2020 (recent rules were adding limiting rent expense to a related landlord), and
  • Any covered utility payment. The term “covered utility payment” means payment for a service for the distribution of electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access for which service began before February 15, 2020.

As we discussed in our “paid or incurred” section, it appears mortgage interest owed in arrears can be paid during the covered period and be forgiven, and mortgage interest incurred DURING the covered period but paid before or on the next scheduled due date will also be forgivable, even if that date is after the end of the covered period.

Putting it All Together

If you borrowed less than $50,000, you are still required to sum up the total costs outlined above and compute the amount of your forgiveness. Unlike those who borrowed MORE than that amount, however, your total amount eligible for forgiveness is not subject to reduction if you reduced salaries or headcount. So you’ve got that going for you. Which is nice.

Once you’ve summed your forgivable costs, the amount you report on the Form 3508S as your “forgiveness amount” is the lesser of three numbers:

  1. The sum of your forgivable costs,
  2. The principal of the loan, and
  3. The payroll costs — and ONLY the payroll costs — divided by 60%. This guarantees that no more than 40% of the forgiven amount will be attributable to the three classes of non-payroll costs.

Interestingly, on the standard Form 3508, the instructions provide that the final forgiveness amount is to be reduced by any Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance received by the taxpayer (up to $10,000). The instructions to Form 3508S, however, contain no such requirement.

Once you’ve gotten to this point, the application becomes MUCH less daunting than the standard Form 3508. No Schedule A. No worksheet to Schedule A. No FTE reduction quotient. Instead, you do all the math behind the scenes and drop the end result in the section titled “Forgiveness Amount.”

ibshop

The price of that brevity, however, is increased representations. You will now have to state on the application, among other representations, that:

Form 3508S reps
reps Nitti

But that’s it. Enter your general information at the top, and drop your application in the mail or send it through the ol’ interwebs. Unless the SBA decides to kick the tires, within a few months you should hear back on your forgiveness, take a deep breath, and revel in the knowledge that you’ll never have to think about the PPP again. Follow me on Twitter

Tony Nitti

Tony Nitti

I am a Tax Partner with RubinBrown in Aspen, Colorado. I am a CPA licensed in Colorado and New Jersey, and hold a Masters in Taxation from the University of Denver. My specialty is corporate and partnership taxation, with an emphasis on complex mergers and acquisitions structuring. W In my free time, I enjoy driving around in a van with my dog Maci, solving mysteries. I have been known to finish the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle in less than 7 minutes, only to go back and do it again using only synonyms. I invented wool, but am so modest I allow sheep to take the credit. Dabbling in the culinary arts, I have won every Chili Cook-Off I ever entered, and several I haven’t. Lastly, and perhaps most notably, I once sang the national anthem at a World Series baseball game, though I was not in the vicinity of the microphone at the time.

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What Small Business Owners Should Know About Getting A Loan

Starting a business is exciting. You get to be your own boss and pursue a dream. Beware, however, that the life of an entrepreneur isn’t an easy one. You’re going to need a lot of help along the way.

Many small businesses apply for loans. It takes a lot of money to start a company, and most entrepreneurs don’t have that kind of capital sitting around. Once they get the business off the ground, they pay back the loan and focus on turning a profit. 

You can’t just walk into a bank and expect to be approved for a loan, especially when lending conditions are tight. In fact, about 80% of small business owners who apply for a bank loan get rejected.

What separates the entrepreneurs who successfully get a loan from the rest? Here’s how they do it:

Determine Whether a Loan Is Needed

Before you ever set foot in a bank, you need to learn whether your small business actually needs a loan. Getting into unnecessary debt can be like digging yourself into a hole you can’t climb out of. Look at all of your options before making a final decision.

First, take a look at your company’s budget. You might be able to make some cuts or rearrange funds to cover your costs. Selling a company car might hurt, but it beats paying thousands of dollars in interest.

Make a Plan

Once you’ve decided a loan is your best option, you need to make a plan. How are you going to use the money? How will you pay it back, and over what time frame?

Lenders want to hear thought-out answers to those questions. “We look at how it will improve the company in the long run, as it will just add a liability in the short run,” explains Stan Bril, founder and CEO of commercial lending firm MCG. “We also look at the founder’s exit strategy, if they have one, because that’s when we’ll get our loan back.”

Your plan will not only sway the bank in your favor, but also set you up for success once the loan is approved. Loan money is to be used wisely and with a purpose. Waste the money you’re lent, and you’ll struggle to get loans later on. Worse, your business’s reputation and brand will be damaged because of it. 

Know What Banks Look For

When approving loans, banks look at many different factors. Knowing what they focus on will give you an advantage when making your pitch. 

First, a bank will look at your company’s financials. “Banks want to know whether a business is currently growing,” says Alan Crystal, vice president of finance at SmartBiz Loans. “They assess the business revenue trend by calculating the average revenue growth over time. To limit the risk of default, banks look for revenue growth trends that match (or exceed) the industry average.”

Second, if for some reason you’re unable to pay the loan in full, the bank will look to see if you have any assets that it can use to regain lost capital. It’ll also take into account your company’s credit history and overall expenses, so be prepared. 

Lenders want to invest in companies that show promise. If your company is struggling to make ends meet, it will be hard to get approved. You need to show lenders that you have what it takes to succeed, and that you recognize the consequences of failure.

Understand the Process

Understanding the loan process also gives you a greater chance at success. The more involved you are with the bank, the easier it is for them to work with you. Be prepared with all necessary documents, numbers and collateral you might need.

What’s the biggest mistake companies make when they reach out for a loan? “Most companies that come to us asking for a loan have no clue how intricate the approval process is,” Bril points out. “There is a lot of required documentation, and all the numbers have to match up. Collateral is important in case of default.”

When in doubt, over-prepare. The last thing you want is to be turned away because you were missing paperwork. Bring anything that might be helpful—it might just come in handy.

What happens once you’ve been approved for a small business loan? Use it thoughtfully, and pay it off quickly. Be sure to stay in touch with your bank: If things don’t go as planned, your lender is less likely to be understanding if they feel blindsided by bad news. 

For entrepreneurs, planning and execution are critical. Small business loans are no exception.

Check out my website

Serenity Gibbons

Serenity Gibbons

Serenity Gibbons is a former assistant editor at The Wall Street Journal. The local unit lead for the NAACP in Northern California and a consultant helping to build diverse workforces, Serenity enjoys gathering insights from people who are creating better workplaces and making a difference in the business world.

In this video, I am going to show you how to get small business loans in 2020. This is a sponsored video by https://mailrush.io/ Get 30% OFF the first month using code: COLDEMAIL Grab the Cold Email Optimization Checklist for free here: ➡️ http://email10k.com/checklist ⬅️ — Even though most of my businesses were bootstrapped, I did take loans for my businesses when I was low on dough. There are times when business loans are the worst thing you could get and times when it is a viable option. In today’s video, I go through the process of getting small business loans in 2020. – START OR GROW YOUR BUSINESS: http://Email10k.com ONE ON ONE MENTORSHIP: http://220Coaching.com FREE DOWNLOADS: https://linktr.ee/email10K – If you need to send Cold Emails or if your current provider is not allowing you to send Cold Emails, You must get an account at MailRush.io. With https://mailrush.io/ you can send bulk emailing campaigns in autopilot while avoiding blacklisting problems. Improve your sending reputation with your own dedicated IP. We will include for FREE a customized IP Warmup Schedule with your Dedicated IP Account. __

IRS Grants Broad And Surprising Rollover Relief To All Who Took 2020 RMDs From IRAs & 401(k)s

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Anybody who took a required minimum distribution from a retirement account in 2020 should take a look at new IRS guidance that says those who took a 2020 RMD can roll the money back into a retirement plan by August 31.

IRS Notice 2020-51 provides rollover relief with respect to waived RMDs, permits repayments to inherited IRAs, and includes Q&As for employers and employees navigating the 2020 RMD waivers and rollovers.

“It’s unbelievable! It’s almost like they broke all the tax rules to give people relief!” says Ed Slott, a CPA and IRA expert in Rockville Centre, New York. “Everybody wins!”

The $2 trillion CARES Act, passed in March, included a 2020 RMD waiver, an important rule that let some retirement account owners waive required minimum distributions. It was welcome relief for retirees and those who have inherited IRAs.

Under the normal rules, once you hit 72, you must take RMDs from your own pretax IRAs and pretax IRAs inherited from a spouse. Children, grandchildren and others who have inherited IRAs (pretax IRAs and Roth IRAs) must take annual RMDs regardless of their own age.

The waiver meant that instead of taking money out this year, account holders could leave the money in and let it keep growing. But for folks who had already taken money out, there was only limited relief: a chance to put the money back within 60 days for some eligible account owners. Then in April, the IRS issued a notice that said those who took an RMD between February 1 and May 15 could put the money back in by July 15.

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Just how generous is the new rollover guidance? It helps early birds who took RMDs in January. It helps beneficiaries (inherited IRA owners) who under the law were never allowed to do a rollover—until now. It helps people who violated the once-per-year rollover rule who were never able to do another rollover—until now. It even helps people who took multiple RMDs (through substantially equal payments). They too can put money back in. Everyone has until August 31 to do the rollover.

For some people, especially if they’re in a low tax bracket this year, it might be wise to keep their RMDs and not put the money back in. “You might find it’s a very tax-efficient way to get the money out,” Slott says. (Many folks facing financial stress due to Covid-19 are tapping their retirement accounts, and the IRS recently expanded coronavirus-related eligibility for taking loans and distributions from IRAs and 401(k)s.)

But for others where the 2020 RMD pushed them into a higher bracket, they get a welcome do-over. Return the RMD now to reduce your income and that might reduce Medicare surcharges or tax on Social Security. Another example: “Someone in their 40s in their peak earning years who inherited an IRA from a parent, the last thing they needed was income from an inherited IRA. Now they can put it back and eliminate the tax bill,” Slott says.

Other moves to consider include a Roth conversion or an IRA charitable rollover. Typically you have to take RMDs out before you can do a Roth conversion. Now, with the RMD holiday, the first pre-tax dollars you take out, you pay the tax, and convert it. You can convert more before being pushed into a higher tax bracket. If you’re 70 1/2 or older this year, you can give up to $100,000 directly from your IRA to charity in what’s known as a charitable IRA rollover, or a charitable qualified distribution. Normally it counts towards your RMD. If you give to charity, and like most taxpayers take the standard deduction, the charitable IRA rollover still leaves you ahead—even though you don’t have to take the RMD.

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I cover personal finance, with a focus on retirement planning, trusts and estates strategies, and taxwise charitable giving. I’ve written for Forbes since 1997. Follow me on Twitter: @ashleaebeling and contact me by email: ashleaebeling — at — gmail — dot — com

Source: https://www.forbes.com

IRS announces rollover relief for required minimum distributions from retirement accounts that were waived under the CARES Act https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-anno… WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced that anyone who already took a required minimum distribution (RMD) in 2020 from certain retirement accounts now has the opportunity to roll those funds back into a retirement account following the CARES Act RMD waiver for 2020.

Investors Block 800,000 Student Loan Borrowers From Billions In Potential Relief

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Investors of a sprawling private student loan operation have effectively blocked a settlement proposal that could have provided billions of dollars in relief to 800,000 student loan borrowers.The case involves a set of financial vehicles collectively known as National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts. The National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts are not technically a student loan company (at least in the traditional sense), nor are they even a single organizational entity.

Rather, the name refers to around 15 or so individual trust entities that collectively acquired hundreds of thousands of private student loans that were originally disbursed by private commercial banking entities. These original lenders securitized and sold bundles of private student loans, which were then purchased and transferred by intermediaries, and then ultimately assigned to the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts.

In 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts and its servicer, TransWorld Systems for illegal collections practices. The lawsuit alleged that the trusts filed numerous collections lawsuits against consumers without complete documentation sufficient to prove that the trusts actually owned the loans they were purporting to collection.

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The lawsuit also alleged that the trusts relied on sworn affidavits by employees of TransWorld Systems to prove ownership of the student loans, but that at times, these affiants had no actual personal knowledge of the underlying debts at all. As a result, student loan borrowers wound up being forced, via state court judgments, to pay for student loans that they did not owe, or did not have to repay.

The CFPB and the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts reached a settlement agreement that would have required the Trusts and TransWorld Systems to audit around 800,000 student loan accounts. Some expected that the audits would result in many of those accounts being deemed effectively uncollectible or even forgiven if the audits determined that sufficient documentation of ownership was unavailable.

A federal judge recently rejected the proposed settlement, however. The court sided with several investors and stakeholders involved with the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts (including some banking entities and debt collectors), concluding that the attorneys acting on behalf of the trusts to negotiate with the CFPB did not have authority to enter into the settlement agreement in the first place.

The end result is that, barring a re-negotiated agreement or another favorable conclusion to the litigation, around 800,000 student loan borrowers with around $12 billion in student loans allegedly held by National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts will continue to be potentially liable for the debt. These borrowers could be subjected to a renewed wave of debt collection lawsuits, and it will be up to individual borrowers (and their attorneys) to fight these lawsuits in court, one by one.

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I’m an attorney with a unique practice devoted entirely to helping student loan borrowers. I provide counsel, legal assistance, and direct advocacy for borrowers on a variety of student loan-related matters including repayment management, default resolution, and servicing troubleshooting. I have been interviewed by major national media outlets including The New York Times, NPR, and The Washington Post, and I’ve been named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer “Rising Star” every year since 2015. I regularly present to companies, schools, and professional associations about the latest developments in higher education financing, and I’ve published three handbooks to help student loan borrowers manage their debt. I’m also a contributing author to the National Consumer Law Center’s manual, Student Loan Law, as well as various law review articles. I received my undergraduate degree, with honors, in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, and my law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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Kura Sushi Returns $6 Million Paycheck Protection Loan. Will Other Restaurant Chains Follow?

Kura Sushi, the U.S. restaurant chain that is majority owned by a Japanese company, said on Wednesday that it would be returning the $5.98 million loan it recently received through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Kura Sushi is the second publicly traded restaurant chain to return money it received from the emergency small business financial effort being run by the Small Business Administration. Shake Shack said earlier this week that the burger chain would be giving back the $10 million it secured through the program.

The move by Kura Sushi will likely put more pressure on other restaurant chains and larger enterprises that have received funding through the Paycheck Protection Program.

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expresses satisfaction that Shake Shack was returning its emergency loan proceeds and urged other larger publicly traded companies to follow its lead. He said that the SBA would be issuing new guidance on the certifications that borrowers made under the program, suggesting some companies may find themselves in a position of breaching the certification.

“There is a certification that people are making and I ask people just make sure the intent of this was for business that needed the money … the intent of this money was not for big public companies that have access to capital,” Mnuchin said. “If you pay back the loan right away you won’t have liability to the SBA and to Treasury but there are severe consequences for people who don’t attest properly to this certification.”

The $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money last week before many small businesses in America were able to tap it for emergency funding. The funds that Kura Sushi and Shake Shack are returning cannot be used to make new small business loans unless Congress authorizes new funds for the Paycheck Protection Program. The Senate on Tuesday approved a $484 billion package that would replenish the program and the House is expected to take up the legislation on Thursday.

The small business emergency funding program offers two-year loans of up to $10 million, with the principal forgivable if the proceeds are largely used for payroll and to keep people employed. While the loans are meant for small business with fewer than 500 employees, some restaurant chains that did not employ more than 500 people at a single location were allowed to obtain the loans.

Some of the public companies that were able to tap the program had market capitalizations greater than $100 million and seemed to have other financing options. Shake Shack, for example, conducted a $150 million share offering on Friday. Other restaurant chains that received funding from the program include J. Alexander’s Holdings, which obtained two separate loans totaling $15.1 million, and Ruth’s Hospitality Group  RUTH , which operates the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain and got $20 million through two different subsidiaries.

Kura Sushi had $30 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand as of the end of February, Securities & Exchange Commission filings show. Kura Sushi, which is based in Irvine, Calif., was established in 2008 as a subsidiary of a Japanese sushi restaurant chain that goes by the same name. Kura Sushi is listed on the Nasdaq NDAQ and operates 23 restaurants across five states. Its initial Japanese parent company still owns more than 50% of the company.

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I am a senior editor at Forbes who likes digging into Wall Street, hedge funds and private equity firms, looking for both the good and the bad. I also focus on the intersection of business and the law.

Source: Kura Sushi Returns $6 Million Paycheck Protection Loan. Will Other Restaurant Chains Follow?

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I got some requests making Kaitenzushi(conveyor belt sushi) video. So I went to Kura Sushi. It’s my favorite Kaitenzushi. Kura sushi provides not only sushi but also ramen, burger, desserts and so on. You can enjoy Bikkurapon!(plate slot system) too. If you come to Japan, please enjoy Kura. ※I got a filming permit. Thank Kura Sushi for your understanding and cooperation. #japanesestuffchannel, #sushi, #kurasushi

These Are The 5 Worst Ways To Pay Off Student Loans

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These are literally the 5 worst ways to pay off student loans. Here’s what you need to know – and what to do about it.

1. Pay only the minimum payment

What’s wrong with only paying the minimum payment? After all, that’s your obligation, right? Remember: interest is always accruing on your principal balance. So paying any amount more than the monthly minimum can lower the cost of your student loans. For example, let’s assume you have $70,000 of student loan debt at a 8% interest rate with a standard 10-year repayment term. By paying only $100 extra per month, you can save $5,271 in interest costs and pay off your student loans 1.51 years earlier.

Do This Instead: You can always pay more than the minimum amount. Student loans have no prepayment penalties.


2. You don’t apply for student loan forgiveness

It would be nice if one company can forgive all your student loans. However, to receive student loan forgiveness, you either need to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan or participate in student loan forgiveness program such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

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Do This Instead: If you decide to apply for a federal student loan forgiveness program, make sure you understand the requirements for student loan forgiveness so you don’t get stuck. The requirements can be tricky.


3. Never make an extra student loan payment

Why would you pay more than you have to? Well, making an extra student loan payment can be one of the best ways to pay off student loans faster. Here’s how it works: in addition to making 12 monthly payments per year, consider an extra payment once every three months for a total of 16 payments per year.

Do This Instead: Be sure to inform your student loan servicer in writing to apply any extra payment to your principal balance only (not to next month’s monthly payment) to limit the amount of interest that accrues.


4. Never make a lump-sum student loan payment

Should you use your bonus to pay off student loans? What about the trip to Jamaica? A lump-sum payment can be any amount. For example, let’s assume that you have $75,000 in student loans at an 8% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. If you make a one-time, lump sum payment of $5,000, you would save $4,850 on your student loans and pay off your student loans 10 months early.

Do This Instead: Whenever you get a pay raise, bonus, tax refund or gift from grandma, make a lump-sum to pay off student loans. Every dollar counts.


5. Don’t refinance student loans

Student loan refinancing is often the single best strategy to lower your student loan rate. When you refinance student loans, you can lower your interest rate on your federal student loans, private student loans or both. Student loan refinancing rates are absurdly cheap now and start at 1.99%, which is substantially lower than federal student loans and in-school private loan interest rates. Each lender has its own eligibility requirements and underwriting criteria, which may include your credit profile, minimum income, debt-to-income ratio and monthly free cash flow. To maximize your chances of being approved to refinance student loans, you should apply to multiple lenders and consider a co-signer.

This student loan refinancing calculator shows you how much you can save when you refinance student loans.

Do This Instead: Apply to refinance student loans. You can check your new interest rate for free in about two minutes and then apply online in about 10-15 minutes.

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Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the blockbuster book, The Lemonade Life: How To Fuel Success, Create Happiness, and Conquer Anything. Apple named The Lemonade Life one of “Fall’s Biggest Audiobooks” and a “Must-Listen.” Zack is the founder and chief executive officer of Make Lemonade, a leading personal finance company that empowers you to live a better financial life. He is an in-demand speaker and has inspired millions through his powerful insights. Previously, he was chief financial officer of an international energy company, a hedge fund investor, and worked at Blackstone, Morgan Stanley, and the White House. Zack holds degrees from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.

Source: These Are The 5 Worst Ways To Pay Off Student Loans

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