Regulatory authority actions could impact small business loans

One of the chief ways small business owners raise money is through loans.

One of the chief complaints of small business owners is regulations.

The two issues have hit in a head-on collision.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was set up to protect people from falling for scams in the financial industry, and to keep a watch on companies that operate in the space. It has been so mired in controversy over its authority that it now faces dismantling by the new administration.

As the wheels turn in that effort, the controversial government agency has set its sights on small business loans, collecting information and statistics about the loans.

Banks and lenders smell trouble, according to Bloomberg BNA. Is the bureau ramping up for a new round of fair lending lawsuits? Or a whole new range of lending regulations? If it wanted to, the unelected CFPB could enact regulations with the force of law, just as if it were Congress.

The CFPB came from the Dodd-Frank Act that has been in the news lately, as calls for its repeal have run rampant.

The problem with the CFPB’s targeting how small businesses get loans is twofold.

First, there are concerns about the scope of the information the CFPB wants to collect.

The CFPB wants to use a section of an existing law that requires it to collect information about access to credit for small businesses, women-owned businesses, and minority-owned businesses. The CFPB also wants to collect new data on the state of small business lending. It applies to online lenders, as well as bank lenders.

Proponents say this is an effort to save small business owners from unfair lending practices. However, a Pandora’s box is opened whenever a government bureaucracy attempts to expand its so-called collection data efforts.

Lenders, including non-banks and online lenders, could simply curtail making loans to small business owners. They might fear unequal lending lawsuits if their numbers of loans to women-owned and minority-owned businesses are not high enough. Some might make bad loans just to get their numbers up, something that contributed to the housing crisis of 2008.

Some companies may find that dealing with government disclosure is timely and costly. They may find it’s not worth the hassle.

For small business owners, available lenders would be curtailed.

The second problem deals with the many complaints about the CFPB concerning its abuse of power.

The controversial bureau has been under fire for its overreach. Critics also say the CFPB’s data collection efforts may go further than what is allowed by the actual law.

First woman to run the Boston Marathon, April 19, 1967

Katherine Switzer became the first woman to run as a numbered participant in the Boston Marathon, April 19, 1967.

Switzer registered for the race as K.V. Switzer and was given a number, even though women were not invited to run.

When the error was discovered, one official tried to physically force her off the course. But Switzer’s boyfriend, also running, clobbered the official, sending him flying and they continued.

An unofficial woman runner, Bobbi Gibb, beat Switzer’s time by an hour.

Women were not officially welcome to the marathon until 1972. Interestingly, the official who pushed Switzer in 1967 was instrumental in making women part of the event in 1972.

Tips to Prevent Mold Damage to Your Home

Mold can cause severe damage and time-consuming, costly repairs to your home.  Save your time and money by addressing these suggestions to rid your house in the Cypress, TX area before it takes hold. 

  1. Use a critical eye to eliminate unnecessary clutter, especially around airflow points that prevent your HVAC air circulation.
  2. Controlling your indoor climate by setting the thermostat at 78 degrees F to prevent the air conditioning unit from dehumidifying during humid summers.
  3. Make sure our AC unit is the proper size for your home.  If it’s too small or large, it will not run efficiently and can lead to mold.
  4. When running the AC, shut windows and doors to prevent humidity in the air that leads to condensation and mold.
  5. Monitor the indoor humidity level in humid climates and keep it below 60 percent to prevent mold growth.
  6. If the humidity level regularly is above 60 percent, check your AC is working properly.  For example, is the temperature correct, is it cycling periodically, does it blow cold air, and are the coils clean?
  7. Watch for standing water or dampness around sump pumps, freezers, hot water tanks, refrigerators, windows, and basement doors.
  8. If groundwater is an issue in your area, cover the crawl space floor with a plastic barrier to trap the moisture in the ground and keep moisture vapor from rising into the home.
  9. Consider using a dehumidifier if you have high humidity regularly.

InsureUS

At InsureUS in the Cypress, TX area, we understand how difficult it can be to fight indoor mold.  We have a commitment to helping you keep your home safe and mold-free for your family, and help you ensure that you have the home insurance coverage necessary.

Distracted phone users drive up insurance prices

Car insurance rates are going up and you can blame the smartphone.

Insurers expect rates to rise by 8 to 11 percent in 2017 as auto accidents rise along with distracted driving.

Auto insurers say distracted driving is so bad that they are beginning to see many auto accidents with no skid marks, according to the Wall Street Journal. The drivers literally never saw it coming.

Experts expected accidents to drop and rates to lower as car-makers adopted higher tech protections, but that has not happened.

According to Allstate Corp., the striking correlation between smartphone ownership and accidents is because people do more than talk on the phone when they are driving. Maybe talking was bad enough, but now drivers are making videos, texting and using the Internet.

Virtual reality headsets pose safety concerns

For kids and young people, the top item on their list of fun things to have is probably a virtual reality kit, but according to one tech writer VR comes with a load of safety issues.

According to Scott Stein, writing for cnet.com, VR is amazing but it isn’t especially safe.

Stein points out that when VR technology is demonstrated to tech writers, it is always in an empty demo room with a staffer standing behind each person to prevent trips and slips. But nonetheless, trips happen.

Among Stein’s concerns:

VR-induced nausea – Although developers are working on this, players may frequently develop nausea in their immersive experiences. Taking breaks can help limit fatigue, nausea and dizziness.

Blind and deaf in the real world – The standout safety feature of VR is that the user is immersed in unreality while reality still exists in the form of walls and objects. Also people and pets. Stein recommends no pets or people in a room where someone is playing VR. There is no way to see toddlers or pets. No way to see the location of the coffee table or television set. If you draw the boundaries for your VR game incorrectly, you stand the chance of punching a wall.

Tripping over wires – With VR you can even lose the sense of where your own body is. Imagine how difficult cables will be in that situation. VR gaming systems may have cables leading back to gaming sets. When you play, you can’t see the cables. You don’t even have a sense of where your body is in relation to itself.

Eye damage – Users have reported troubling side effects of having an image 1 inch from their eyes. Eye strain is documented. After images are possible, so when you look out into the real world, you see images of the game. More studies are coming.