QCash Financial Experiences Growth in 2015

Category: Short-term Lending
Published: Saturday, 27 February 2016
Written by Super User

OLYMPIA, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--QCash Financial, a startup provider of automated, cloud-based, omni-channel small-dollar lending platform for financial institutions, announces it has experienced significant interest since its launch in 2015 and is signing up clients.

In 2015, QCash Financial launched QCash V5.0, further extending the solution's ability to provide greater flexibility when offering short-term loans and introducing Spanish language support for web, mobile channels and loan documentation, to provide an enhanced member experience.

The QCash platform has steadily increased in popularity, and has been used to originate seven percent more loans in 2015 than in 2014.

Additionally, Ben Morales, CEO of QCash Financial has been featured as a guest speaker at CUNA Payments Roundtable, June 1-2 in New Orleans; America's Credit Union Conference and the World Credit Union Conference, July 11-15 in Denver; LEND360 Conference, October 13-15, in Atlanta; and Filene's Big.Bright.Minds Conference, December 2-3 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

QCash Financial has also launched a collaborative relationship with Filene Research Institute to conduct research related to small-dollar, short-term lending. This collaboration will include a webinar series focused on payday lending alternatives in the credit union industry.

"Since our launch, our company has generated significant interest among the financial industry community, in particular, beginning important relationships with policy makers, industry think tanks and engaging with financial institutions as potential customers," said Ben Morales, CEO of QCash Financial.

The QCash loan platform was developed in 2004 by WSECU after the credit union's tellers noticed a substantial number of its members required small, short-term loans from payday lenders that were charging excessive fees and interest rates. It is offered as a white label solution to financial institutions. For more information contact Ben Morales at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About QCash Financial

Olympia, Washington-based QCash Financial started as a short-term loan solution for members of WSECU in 2004. QCash Financial is a provider of an automated, cloud-based, omni-channel lending platform that enables financial institutions to provide short-term loans quickly to the people they serve. For more information about QCash, visit its website at Q-Cash.com

BRUCE FEIN: Regulatory state endangers civil liberties

Category: Short-term Lending
Published: Saturday, 27 February 2016
Written by Super User

President Richard M. Nixon contemplated ending the television licenses of The Washington Post, which were subject to renewal by the Federal Communications Commission, to retaliate against its Watergate reporting:

The main thing is the Post is going to have damnable, damnable problems out of this one, the president told John Dean on the Nixon tapes in September 1972. They have a television station And theyre going to have to get it renewed Well, the game has to be played awfully rough.

The newspaper was not deterred largely because Nixons political standing plunged and the Senate Watergate Committee began its own investigation which culminated in his resignation.

Shortly after 9/11, ATamp;T with alacrity complied with the National Security Agencys request to collaborate in the warrantless and legally dubious Stellar Wind program. On the Presidents say-so alone, the NSA intercepted communications when it was suspected that one communicant was Al Qaeda, an Al Qaeda affiliate, a member of an Al Qaeda affiliate, or working to support Al Qaeda and one of the communicants was outside the United States. ATamp;Ts eager cooperation at the expense of customer privacy was predictable. Its rates, mergers, and spectrum needs are subject to regulation by the Federal Communications Commission. And it had lucrative contracts with the federal government that it did not want to place at risk.

Qwest was the sole telecommunications company that resisted assisting Stellar Wind. It was a shadow of ATamp;T. According to CEO Joe Nacchio, Qwest lost a valuable NSA contract because of its non-cooperation.

The Executive Branch protected the phone companies for their Stellar Wind assistance by championing the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that retroactively granted them immunity from the many pending civil suits seeking damages for their alleged complicity in constitutional or statutory violations.

President George W. Bushs infamous TARP program is another instance of de facto regulatory coercion of the private sector.

The date was Oct. 13, 2008. On one side of the table sat Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, joined by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Blair a Murderers Row of bank regulators. On the other side sat the chief executives of the nations nine largest banks, with Bank of America at one end and Wells Fargo amp; Co. at the other.

During the meeting, each banker was handed a term sheet detailing how the federal government would buy stakes in their banks ($125 billion collectively in preferred stock), and impose new restrictions on executive pay and dividends. Secretary Paulsons talking points included the veiled fist observation that the investments would be forthcoming in any circumstance, and that it would be imprudent to opt out of the program because doing so would leave you vulnerable and exposed.

When the meeting ended, mirabile dictu, all the bankers signed on.

The Food and Drug Administration routinely violates the free speech advertising rights of pharmaceutical companies. The First Amendment is on the side of the drug companies. In Thompson v. Western States Medical Center (2002), for example, the Supreme Court invalidated restrictions on the advertisement of compounded drugs. Few if any pharmaceutical companies, however, will challenge sister advertising restrictions for fear of antagonizing the FDA, which has a stranglehold over their ability to market new drugs by vetting them for safety and effectiveness after billion dollar investments.

Most recently, the Department of Justice has exploited bank vulnerability to bank regulators in Operation Choke Point to persuade them summarily to terminate the accounts of customers or a group of customers in industries with reputations for fraud or overreaching, for instance, short-term lending. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Tx) have introduced legislation (HR 766) to diminish Operation Choke Points due process shortcomings by prohibiting federal banking agencies from requesting a depository institution to terminate a specific customer account absent a written and reasoned justification other than reputational risk.

These accounts of informal regulatory coercion are but the tip the iceberg. Ask any executive in a heavily regulated industry and they will provide a confidential list of the constitutional or statutory rights they leave unenforced to avoid the risk of covert regulatory retaliation.

Government lawlessness is an additional unquantifiable cost of the regulatory state.

Unemployment drops below 5 percent to begin 2016

Category: Short-term Lending
Published: Friday, 26 February 2016
Written by Super User

Hiring slowed in January as concerns about a global slowdown threw financial markets into crisis and fed fears of a recession, posing a quandary for Federal Reserve policymakers as they consider further tightening interest rates.

Employers added 151,000 jobs to start the year, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent, its lowest point in eight years, the Department of Labor reported Friday.

Growth was weaker than many economists expected and well below the past years monthly average of 222,000 jobs. Despite pockets of sluggishness, hiring was solid in January and underscored the economys resilience to international pressures, said Mark Hamrick, an economic analyst at Bankrate.com.

"Certainly, there are no shortage of reasons why employers would pause," Hamrick said. "But they havent stomped on the brakes either."

Economists have not ruled out the chance of a recession this year, but many say it is a long shot since most signs point to continued growth. Consumer confidence is high, the housing market is strong, and wages are starting to rise. The jobs figures for January followed a strong end to 2015 in which an average of 279,000 workers joined payrolls each month from October to December.

Still, Fridays report did little to assuage fears in financial markets, which have been roiled by concerns about a global slowdown.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 211.61, or 1.29 percent, to 16,204.97. The SP 500 declined 35.40, or 1.85 percent, to 1,880.05. The Nasdaq composite fell 146.42, or 3.25 percent, to 4,363.14.

Inventories are historically high, leading to job losses in transportation and warehousing as companies clear excess product.

Energy companies continue to get hammered by low oil and gas prices that have crimped revenue for drillers. Since peaking in September 2014, employment in the mining industry has fallen 17 percent.

Those pockets of weakness, plus disappointing economic growth in the fourth quarter, highlight the hurdles to overcome, said Huntington Bank economist George Mokrzan. "The economy is not hitting on all cylinders," he said.

However, the jobs report should not persuade policymakers at the Fed to pull back interest rates, Mokrzan said. The Fed raised its benchmark short-term lending rate in December and signaled as many as four rate increases could occur this year.

The Fed may delay the next increase until it can assess how the economy is holding up to a slowdown in China, low commodity prices and turbulence in financial markets.

If economic growth improves after a disappointing end to 2015 -- it grew at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter, as measured by gross domestic product -- then the Fed would have more confidence to continue tightening.

"I think itll be important to watch the GDP," Mokrzan said. "If it goes back to normal in this recovery, around 2 percent, then I would expect the Fed to move at the end of this quarter."

Consumers appear to be in high spirits. The Conference Boards consumer confidence index rose 1.8 points in January, its highest level since October. Low gasoline prices have given consumers more money in their pockets, and wages surged in January. Average hourly pay increased 12 cents to $25.39, though growth has been a tepid 2.5 percent over the year.

More Americans began a job search last month. The labor force participation rate, or the number of working-age Americans who are working or looking for work, notched higher for the second consecutive month, although at 62.7 percent, it remains near historic lows.

"Its slow, but we are seeing an improvement in labor force participation," said PNC Bank economist Gus Faucher. "That is a sign of confidence in the labor market."

Braddock resident Henry Brock, 57, was sure enough in his prospects that he is looking to change careers. After 25 years as a carpenter, Brock said, he is ready to work in a less seasonal industry. This week, he attended a job fair at Rivers Casino on Pittsburghs North Shore and was interested in a maintenance position.

"Im still employed, but right now, things are in a little bit of a slowdown," Brock said. "I want to do a career change because with construction, I loved it when I was younger, but its inconsistent."

The leisure and hospitality sector has been among the stronger ones in the American economy, hiring 44,000 people in January. Retailers and restaurants showed decent gains, suggesting healthy consumer spending, which forms two-thirds of the economy.

But service-sector jobs tend to be lower-paying than goods-producing industries such as manufacturing.

Manufacturers added 29,000 jobs in January following a flat year in 2015. Construction companies added a modest 18,000 workers to payrolls, although that was following a strong December in which unseasonably warm weather allowed continued construction in outside projects that ordinarily would have been shut down until spring.

Chris Fleisher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7854 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The global economy's marshmallow test

Category: Short-term Lending
Published: Friday, 26 February 2016
Written by Super User

The world economy is experiencing a turbulent start to 2016. Stock markets are plummeting; emerging economies are reeling in response to the sharp decline in commodities prices; refugee inflows are further destabilizing Europe; Chinas growth has slowed markedly in response to a capital-flow reversal and an overvalued currency; and the US is in political paralysis. A few central bankers struggle to keep the world economy upright.

To escape this mess, four principles should guide the way. First, global economic progress depends on high global saving and investment. Second, saving and investment flows should be viewed as global, not national. Third, full employment depends on high investment rates that match high saving rates. Fourth, high private investments by business depend on high public investments in infrastructure and human capital. Lets consider each. First, our global goal should be economic progress, meaning better living conditions worldwide. Indeed, that goal has been enshrined in the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted last September by all 193 members of the United Nations. Progress depends on a high rate of global investment: building the skills, technology, and physical capital stock to propel standards of living higher. In economic development, as in life, theres no free lunch: Without high rates of investment in know-how, skills, machinery, and sustainable infrastructure, productivity tends to decline (mainly through depreciation), dragging down living standards. High investment rates in turn depend on high saving rates. A famous psychological experiment found that young children who could resist the immediate temptation to eat a marshmallow, and thereby gain two marshmallows in the future, were likelier to thrive as adults than those who couldnt. Likewise, societies that defer instant consumption in order to save and invest for the future will enjoy higher future incomes and greater retirement security. (When American economists advise China to boost consumption and cut saving, they are merely peddling the bad habits of American culture, which saves and invests far too little for Americas future.) Second, saving and investment flows are global. A country such as China, with a high saving rate that exceeds local investment needs, can support investment in other parts of the world that save less, notably low-income Africa and Asia. Chinas population is aging rapidly, and Chinese households are saving for retirement. The Chinese know that their household financial assets, rather than numerous children or government social security, will be the main source of their financial security. Low-income Africa and Asia, on the other hand, are both capital-poor and very young. They can borrow from Chinas high savers to finance a massive and rapid build-up of education, skills, and infrastructure to underpin their own future economic prosperity. Third, a high global saving rate does not automatically translate into a high investment rate; unless properly directed, it can cause underspending and unemployment instead. Money put into banks and other financial intermediaries (such as pension and insurance funds) can finance productive activities or short-term speculation (for example, consumer loans and real estate). Great bankers of the past like JP Morgan built industries like rail and steel. Todays money managers, by contrast, tend to resemble gamblers or even fraudsters like Charles Ponzi.

Fourth, todays investments with high social returns -- such as low-carbon energy, smart power grids for cities, and information-based health systems -- depend on public-private partnerships, in which public investment and public policies help to spur private investment. This has long been the case: Railroad networks, aviation, automobiles, semiconductors, satellites, GPS, hydraulic fracturing, nuclear power, genomics, and the Internet would not exist but for such partnerships (typically, but not only, starting with the military). Our global problem today is that the worlds financial intermediaries are not properly steering long-term saving into long-term investments. The problem is compounded by the fact that most governments (the US is a stark case) are chronically underinvesting in long-term education, skill training, and infrastructure. Private investment is falling short mainly because of the shortfall of complementary public investment. Shortsighted macroeconomists say the world is under-consuming; in fact, it is underinvesting. The result is inadequate global demand (global investments falling short of global saving at full employment) and highly volatile short-term capital flows to finance consumption and real estate. Such short-term flows are subject to abrupt reversals of size and direction. The 1997 Asian financial crisis followed a sudden stop of capital inflows to Asia, and global short-term lending suddenly dried up after Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, causing the Great Recession. Now China is facing the same problem, with inflows having abruptly given way to outflows. The mainstream macroeconomic advice to China -- boost domestic consumption and overvalue the renminbi to cut exports -- fails the marshmallow test. It encourages overconsumption, underinvestment, and rising unemployment in a rapidly aging society, and in a world that can make tremendous use of Chinas high saving and industrial capacity. The right policy is to channel Chinas high saving to increased investments in infrastructure and skills in low-income Africa and Asia. Chinas new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and its One Belt, One Road initiative to establish modern transport and communications links throughout the region are steps in the right direction. These programs will keep Chinas factories operating at high capacity to produce the investment goods needed for rapid growth in todays low-income countries. Chinas currency should be allowed to depreciate so that Chinas capital-goods exports to Africa and Asia are more affordable.

More generally, governments should expand the role of national and multilateral development banks (including the regional development banks for Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Islamic countries) to channel long-term saving from pension funds, insurance funds, and commercial banks into long-term public and private investments in twenty-first-century industries and infrastructure. Central banks and hedge funds cannot produce long-term economic growth and financial stability. Only long-term investments, both public and private, can lift the world economy out of its current instability and slow growth.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is professor of sustainable development, professor of health policy and management, and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2016.