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Why Choose a Personal Loan: How to Get a Loan Online

Why Choose a Personal Loan: How to Get a Loan Online

The term “personal loan” refers to a personal loan allows you to borrow money from a lender to fulfill any need usually with a fixed-term and an interest rate that is fixed and a month-to-month payment schedule. The collateral is usually not required.How do I utilize a personal loan? You can utilize the personal loan for almost any need, with some exceptions. LendingClub Bank members often use personal loans to pay off credit cards at a lower interest rate as well as consolidate debts, or cover emergencies with home repairs and medical expenses. Some of the ways personal loans are not able to be used personal loan cannot be used are for education-related matters following high school, the making of investments (such as crypto or securities) or illegal.Will I be eligible for a personal loan? To qualify to receive an personal loan from you must be an U.S. citizen at least 18 years old and have an account at a bank that is verified. (We take applications from every state, with the exception of Iowa as well as the U.S. territories.)

The loan application you submit is evaluated on various factors, such as the information you supply to the lender as well as the credit bureaus as well as the quality of your credit score, and capacity to pay back. To get the lowest rate it’s best to have a better that average credit score as well as a low ratio of debt to income and an good credit history. Sometimes, partnering with another person could aid you in getting higher rates and/or a larger loan amount.

Find out how adding a borrower will help you qualify for an individual loan.How do I apply for a personal loan? The majority of applicants are approved in less than 24 hours and can receive their funds within 24 hours. 2. Help get things moving by reviewing Your To-Do List and making sure you’ve provided all documents and other information needed.

You can submit your application and complete the application online at the convenience at home with your computer, smartphone or tablet. After your financial information is confirmed, we’ll use our marketplace to search for potential investors to finance the loan. If the loan is approved and, based on the terms you select the funds will be transferred directly to your creditor or transferred to your bank account.Will the rate I check affect my credit score? Getting your rate from LendingClub Bank has absolutely no impact on your credit score since the process is low credit pull is performed. The hard credit pull that might affect your score only occurs when you keep your loan , and your money is transferred.

The positive side is that the personal loan could positively impact your credit in the future in the event that you’re able to demonstrate an history of timely payments and a reduction in your overall debt (that implies no new debts, like more credit balances on your credit cards). 1

Find out More about the credit score and ways to safeguard the credit health.What happens when I have checked my credit score?

Select your offerIf your loan application is approved and you’ll be able to look over your loan amount, interest rate APR, monthly installment and loan duration.

Verify your details
We’ll need information about your Social Security number, and regarding your income and work. If we require additional documents or data we’ll inform you on the form of your To-Do List. Keep your fingers crossed as we search for investors on our marketplace , and close your loan.

Get the money you need
After your loan has been approved, we’ll transfer the funds directly into your bank account and/or pay your debtors directly in the event that you select this option. This will happen within several days.

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1 Million New Yorkers Carry $35 Billion in Student Debt

If misery loves company, the more than one million New Yorkers collectively carrying $35 billion in student debt can rest assured they are not alone.

The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) says about 14% of city residents with student debt are 90 days or more behind on loan payments, according to its commissioner, Lorelei. Salas.

“I care about that a lot,” Salas said. “I graduated from law school with $150,000 in student debt. So I know what it does to people’s finances and to their stress levels.

“It’s a long process,” added Salas, who still has nearly $50,000 in student debt. “There were times when I thought, ‘I’ll never stop paying until I die.'”

Borrowers have taken to social media and advocacy organizations like the non-profit Student Debt Crisis to share their stories of woe (and also their accomplishments if they managed to repay or repay their debts ).

“For the past three years I’ve had a pretty solid job at a top university,” one New Yorker wrote on studentdebtcrisis.org.

“I make a pretty decent salary and get a free MBA. I have a 401(k) and a Roth IRA and I put 25% of my salary in my savings account every month. I have about $45,000 student debt — $15,000 private loan and $30,000 federal loans I’m trying to contribute $600 a month to these loans.

“Last year I contributed $1,762.12 to a large chunk of federal loans totaling $25,000. Over the past year, that total debt has gone down by $415. I invested $300 there I’m seven days old and I already owe $20. I burst into tears when I realized this. For years, my student loan debt has been this shadow hanging over me.

Indeed, a Moody’s report released in January found that slow repayments have become a key driver of what has been the fastest growing type of household debt over the past decade.

Student loan debt soared to $1.6 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the Federal Reserve. One in five adults – 45 million Americans – contributes to the total.

Over the past decade, the overall annual net repayment rate (or the amount of existing balances eliminated each year) for U.S. student loans has averaged just 3%,” and many recent graduates have not repaid their balance at all,” Moody’s said.

Meanwhile, the student debt clock on FinAid.org has topped $1.7 trillion, and the issue looms large as the presidential election approaches.

The student loan woes put education concerns ahead of job loss and market downturn fears to become the No. 1 financial disruptor in a recent Harris poll on behalf of TD Ameritrade.

The results came in a time of low inflation, record employment, a rising market (pre-coronavirus), noted Tom Butch, general manager of retail distribution at TD Ameritrade.

In five years, education concerns have risen slightly, with student debt jumping more than 25% in that time, he said, especially for millennials.

The NYC DCWP, formerly the Department of Consumer Affairs, released three reports on student debt, including one in 2017 with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York looking at student loan default and delinquency rates in different neighborhoods, a study that has been replicated in other cities.

The DCWP held debt clinics in targeted areas in 2018 based on the findings of the Fed’s joint report – delinquency and default rates are higher in lower median income neighborhoods.

He offers counseling for student borrowers at nyc.gov/studentloans and provides free counseling at Financial Empowerment Centers in all boroughs.

There are many resources available across the country, but borrowers should be sure to find one that offers student loan expertise, whether it’s a financial advisor, CPA, or attorney, said Bruce McClary, vice president of communications at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which runs studentloanhelp.org.

Try to avoid for-profit debt relief companies, he warned.

“Clients pay a lot of money up front and in many cases end up worse off than when they started,” he said.

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Households urged by MAS to remain cautious when going into debt or buying real estate

SINGAPORE: Most Singaporean households remain financially resilient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, although those heavily in debt or employed in hard-hit sectors may be more vulnerable as economic uncertainties persist, the bank said center of the country on Tuesday (December 1).

In its annual Financial Stability Review, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also urged households to exercise caution when taking on new debt or engaging in property purchases.

He noted an uncertain outlook for Singapore’s economy which “could have dampening effects on revenue flows”. He also expects resident unemployment to “remain high” next year and the labor market recovery to be prolonged.

READ: Singapore businesses, households and banks must remain vigilant amid uncertain outlook: MAS

MAS said it recognizes some homeowners may struggle to pay their mortgages and worked with the financial industry to roll out relief measures earlier this year. These measures have been recently extended to support cash-strapped individuals and businesses until next year.

Approximately 36,000 applications for mortgage relief were approved and 8,700 people received relief from their revolving unsecured debt in the third quarter.

“Given the uncertain economic outlook, households should resort to these support measures as necessary and take into account the potential volatility of future income streams when considering large purchases and loans,” the central bank said in its statement. report.

“Where possible, they should also continue to insure or consolidate their existing obligations to build resilience to unexpected shocks.”

READ: TOP FEATURE: After COVID-19, where is Singapore’s economy, labor headed?

“RELATIVELY HEALTHY”

The report said Singapore’s household balance sheets were “relatively healthy” at the start of the pandemic, reflecting the financial reserves built up over the years.

Household net wealth reached 4.4 times gross domestic product in the third quarter, up from 3.8 times a year ago, he cited as an example.

“While the increase is partly due to falling GDP, asset values ​​have continued to hold up despite the economic downturn,” MAS said.

“Furthermore, liquid assets such as cash and deposits continued to exceed total liabilities, providing households with a financial buffer against income shocks.”

READ: Singapore revises growth outlook again as third-quarter GDP contracts at 5.8% slower pace amid COVID-19

Its simulations also suggest that the debt service burden of Singaporean households remains manageable in a crisis situation.

Government transfers and relief measures softened the impact of a sharp fall in employment and incomes in the first half, the central bank added.

SOME RISKS

But the risk of indebtedness has increased slightly even if the growth of overall household debt has moderated.

The MAS said overall household debt had continued its downward trend since the introduction of cooling measures in July 2018, but nominal GDP had fallen by a larger margin due to the pandemic.

As a result, household debt as a percentage of GDP rose from 63.1% in the first quarter to 65% from April to June, before reaching 67.1% in the third quarter.

READ: COVID-19 downturn will be more prolonged than past recessions, slow job market recovery: MAS

Other indicators mentioned include the credit risk profile of home loans. This remained solid, with macroprudential measures encouraging prudent borrowing and improving the capital buffer.

But since household resilience is linked to employment and income, credit risk for home loans could increase further if the economic downturn persists, the central bank said.

The unsecured loan cancellation rate – a leading indicator of the credit quality of home loans – rose in the third quarter, suggesting that more households may be struggling to pay for their homes, he added.

“Close monitoring of housing loans to the most vulnerable households is needed in the coming months as the labor market recovery is expected to be prolonged.”

Turning to the real estate market, the report notes that rents for private homes have moderated alongside rising vacancy rates.

READ: Real estate firms expect more transactions as physical viewings of resale apartments, showrooms resume in Phase 2 reopening

Comment: Wondering what the decline in private home sales means? Market fundamentals paint a different story

The vacancy rate for private residential properties rose from 5.4% in the second quarter to 6.2% in the third quarter. Rents fell for the second consecutive quarter in the July-September period, as the rental price index for private residential properties fell 0.5%.

Low rents were observed for both land and non-land properties.

“If demand for rental properties continues to decline, borrowers who rely on rental income to meet their investment property mortgage payments could experience repayment difficulties,” MAS said.

“Prospective buyers should therefore consider the possibility of further weakness in rental income when committing to the purchase of investment properties.”

In the 112-page report, the central bank also urged businesses and local banks to remain vigilant and cautious as an uneven economic recovery “will affect jobs and corporate profits”.

“The risk of financial stress remains during this long period of recovery. Continued vigilance and caution therefore remain warranted,” he wrote.

MARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

To download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram

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MacKenzie Scott donates $4 billion to COVID-19 relief efforts

Over the past four months, Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, has make a donation more than $4 billion to hundreds of humanitarian and charitable organizations, including food banks battling the impact of the pandemic. Scott has a personal net worth of over $60 billion, making him the 18th richest person in the world. Last year, she vowed to give away much of her wealth following her divorce settlement with Bezos.

In July, Scott announced that she had donated $1.7 billion to 116 charities. She then decided to “accelerate” her donations. In the past four months, it has donated an additional $4.15 billion to 384 organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico, bringing its total contributions this year to $6 billion.

Scott wrote in a blog post:

This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of already struggling Americans. Economic losses and health problems have been worse for women, people of color and people living in poverty. During this time, he significantly increased the wealth of billionaires.

Bezos, who was married to Scott for 26 years, is the richest person in the world. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Benzos’ fortune before the pandemic was estimated at $113 billion, and now it has risen to around $185 billion.

Scott took a “data-driven” approach to selecting donation recipients. His team primarily focused on “those operating in communities facing high food insecurity, high measures of racial inequality, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”

MacKenzie Scott. (Credit: Getty Images)

Some of his donations have targeted basic needs, such as emergency relief funds, food banks and support for the most vulnerable. Others were aimed at long-term issues that the pandemic has made worse, including debt relief, legal defense funds, civil rights groups, job training and education for “people historically marginalized and underserved”.

Overall, his team looked at 6,490 organizations and selected 822 for “further research”. Scott’s list of organizations that will receive funds include Meals on Wheels, the YMCA, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Global Fund for Women.

Last year, Scott became involved in the Giving Pledge Initiative, set up by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Edward Buffett, which encourages exceptionally wealthy people to donate much of their wealth to charitable causes. .

The Gates have committed $305 million to Covid-19 vaccines and development of diagnosticsas well as $3.7 million for Covid-19 relief efforts. Other significant donations made during the pandemic include:

  • In March, fame Rihanna donated $5 million to Covid-19 relief efforts through her Clara Lionel Foundation.
  • In April, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced he was moving 28% of his wealth ($1 billion) to Covid-19 relief efforts and other causes.
  • In April, Estée Lauder donated $2 million for Covid-19 relief efforts to “Médecins Sans Frontières”, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières – to support deeply affected and underfunded countries in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 .
  • In June, basketball legend Michael Jordan announced he would donate $100 million to Black Lives Matter and other social causes over the next ten years.
  • In August, the British rapper Stormzy donated £500,000 finance scholarships for students from underprivileged backgrounds.
  • In February, Bezos said he was contributing $10 billion to fight climate change through his philanthropic project called “the Bezos Earth Fund”. In November, Bezos announced the first of these grants, awarding nearly $800 million to sixteen groups.
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Don’t Pay Upfront for Student Loan Debt Relief

Attorney General Andy Beshear has issued a scam alert to warn former and current students about companies offering student debt relief for a fee.

Beshear’s office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) say it’s illegal for companies to charge upfront fees before providing debt relief services.

Kentuckians from Allen, Breckinridge, Clark, Daviess, Fayette, Jefferson, Kenton, Mason and Warren counties recently reported receiving strange calls and voicemails from a woman saying she needed to discuss new repayment options federal student loan. Many people who receive calls say they don’t even have a student loan, but have been provided with a callback phone number and a reference number.

The third-party companies behind the calls claim to offer document preparation services and claim they can help you qualify for a loan forgiveness program – but they may want upfront fees and personal and financial information.

“Far too many Kentuckians are already struggling to repay their student loans and I don’t want them to get tricked by scammers and go into even more debt,” Beshear says. “The truth is, there is no service these scammers can offer that you can’t do yourself for free.”

According to the FTC and the Attorney General’s Office, some companies that promise debt relief are scams. To spot them, follow these tips:

• Never pay in advance

Federal debt consolidation with the United States Department of Education is free, and reputable private lenders do not require any upfront payment.

• Beware of imposters

Beware of scammers claiming to be federal government employees. Contact the Department of Education directly at StudentAid.gov or 800-433-3243, or independently contact your private loan officer through a verified number or website.

• Resist pressure

Know that no company can promise quick loan forgiveness and never rush to qualify for repayment plans, loan consolidation or loan forgiveness programs.

• Beware of legal tricks

Beware if a company asks you to sign a “power of attorney”, “third party authorization” or other similar agreements that give third parties legal permission to talk to your student loan officer and make decisions in your name.

• Never provide sensitive information

Never provide your FSA ID or PIN or other personal and financial information to anyone who randomly calls you by phone or contacts you by email.

The Beshear Consumer Protection Office urges current and former students who feel victimized by questionable service to complete a complaint form.

Students having problems with their student loan agent or collection agent should contact the US Department of Education’s Student Loan Ombudsman at 877-557-2575.

Since taking office, Beshear and his team have worked to protect students from predatory colleges and for-profit lenders.

Last week, Beshear’s Consumer Protection Bureau secured $2.2 million in debt relief for former Kentucky ITT Tech students under pressure from deceptive lending practices.

To date, nearly 8,000 Kentucky students have received more than $8 million in student debt relief or restitution from for-profit colleges that Beshear has held accountable.

(provided by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Attorney General’s Office)

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Debt relief for the poorest countries will not penalize MDBs’ “preferred creditor” status – Moody’s

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – The world’s major development banks will not see their coveted credit ratings penalized for providing temporary debt relief to the world’s poorest countries during the coronavirus crisis, it said on Thursday. rating agency Moody’s.

Plans by the G20 group of major economies to allow around 76 countries in Africa and other parts of the world to suspend debt payments for the rest of the year have raised potential rating issues for all parties. concerned.

The worry is that it could put countries themselves in default, shutting them out of borrowing markets.

It was feared that this would undermine the “preferred creditor” status enjoyed by multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as the World Bank, African Development Bank or European Investment Bank, which also lend to Africa.

This status – where they are paid off before a country or company’s commercial lenders – helps underpin what are in many cases highly prized triple A ratings. These higher ratings enable the MDBs to obtain the best rates for borrowing money from the international credit markets, which is then lent to countries in need.

“The way we see this is not really debt relief, but debt deferral for a relatively short period of time,” Moody’s Senior Vice President Kathrin Muehlbronner said.

The banks themselves have yet to declare whether they will provide the debt relief advocated by the G20.

“We would not consider an extended debt suspension offer at the discretion of an MDB affecting our view of preferred creditor status.”

Moody’s estimates that around a quarter of the 40 MDBs it tracks have preferred creditor status in their ratings.

A broader look at the potential impact of coronavirus on development bank ratings showed that the big ones were likely to be protected by strong financial buffers while smaller ones that focus on Africa could be downgraded. .

However, performance and asset quality will deteriorate for all, with private and public borrowers finding it harder to meet their financial obligations and non-performing loans likely to rise from generally very low levels.

Development bank debt ratios are also expected to rise as they expand their balance sheets in response to the pandemic.

The largest response in nominal terms is expected to come from member institutions of the World Bank Group (WBG), totaling up to $160 billion over the next 15 months.

The European Investment Bank is creating a new €25 billion ($26.95 billion) COVID-19 guarantee fund, which aims to mobilize up to €200 billion.

Others are also primarily redeploying their planned lending programs. For example, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said that all of its planned loans for the two-year period 2020 and 2021 – a total of 21 billion euros – will be spent to counter the economic shock.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group will reallocate resources of $18.35 billion this year and the African Development Bank Group’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Mechanism – which totals $10 billion – will mainly accelerate its planned lending for the year.

“We expect the credit profiles of highly rated MDBs to withstand the pandemic-induced shock to many of their borrowers…But some of the lower rated MDBs may come under greater credit pressures,” Moody’s said. . (Reporting by Marc Jones Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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Norcross among congressional group proposing major breakthrough on college debt and affordability

Credit: Twenty20
More than one million people had $43 billion in student loans outstanding at the end of last year in New Jersey.

Undertaking a major rewrite of higher education law is one way to address concerns about college affordability and student debt, according to a group of federal lawmakers that includes a congressman from South Jersey.

The group introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month that called for increased student tuition subsidies and increased federal aid to states like New Jersey that fund programs free at community colleges, among other proposed policy changes.

New efforts would also be made to help those who already have significant college debt, including establishing more generous repayment terms for low- and middle-income borrowers. The legislation also calls for the expansion of a program that offers loan forgiveness to those entering a public service field after graduating from college.

The introduction of the “College Affordability Act” by a group of sponsors that includes U.S. Representative Donald Norcross (D-1st) comes as new alarms are speaking out about the impact of high student debt on the economy. It also aims to make college more affordable as tuition fees continue to rise nationwide.

“The College Affordability Act invests in America’s schools, teachers and students, makes college more affordable, alleviates student debt and prepares graduates for meaningful careers,” said Norcross, who serves on the college’s committee. Education and House Labor.

“We need to provide every student with the tools to learn and the opportunity to succeed in their careers and this bill does just that,” Norcross said.

Fewer people are signing up as costs rise?

According to recent estimates from the New York Federal Reserve, more than 40 million people across the country have taken out a total of $1.6 trillion in student loans, including more than $106 billion borrowed in 2017 alone. The record for single-year borrowing by students was $125.6 billion in 2010, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. But experts attribute the decline to fewer people enrolling in colleges and universities as tuition fees have risen.

In New Jersey, more than one million people had outstanding student loans totaling more than $43 billion at the end of last year, according to the nonprofit Student Borrower Protection Center. And the average loan balance was nearly $40,000.

Earlier this year, a survey of New Jersey accountants suggested student loan debt was impacting the state’s economy, including preventing those with outstanding loans from saving for retirement or to buy a house. The NJCPA has created a task force take a closer look at the issue of student debt.

Meanwhile, a poll study published last week by The Pew Charitable Trusts found that nearly 70% of respondents believed the difficulties of those facing student debt were weighs on the national economy. Another 80% said the federal government should do more to help borrowers repay their loans.

More generous conditions for borrowers

the law Project revise the law on higher education – which is more than ten years old – by establishing new repayment plans with more generous conditions for borrowers. The measure would also make it easier for borrowers to refinance their debt, in particular by lowering interest rates. It also calls for an expansion of the federal Civil Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which helps forgive outstanding student loans for those entering professions such as teaching and law enforcement.

Other policy changes proposed in the bill are intended to help students directly, including increasing the amount of tuition assistance grants known as Pell Grants that income-qualified students can receive from federal government. The availability of these scholarships would also be expanded to include more students participating in short-term programs, according to the bill.

States would also be encouraged to establish tuition-free community college programs by receiving more federal assistance once they do. Governor Phil Murphy established such a program in New Jersey last year, and earlier this year, state lawmakers renewed its funding in the state budget for fiscal year 2020. The bill would also allow for increased assistance to states investing sustained manner in public colleges and universities.

Additionally, the bill calls for greater federal oversight of the federal college accreditation process and seeks to close a loophole in current law that gives underperforming for-profit schools a financial incentive to enroll veterans. .

Although it has received far less attention than other more high-profile issues that have made headlines in recent weeks, the legislation is being watched closely by groups that represent students, colleges and veterans.

“We look forward to working further with lawmakers on this comprehensive and much-needed legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act,” the American Association of Community Colleges said in a statement.

“We are grateful to the House for its comprehensive bill that addresses most of the concerns expressed by the military-affiliated community,” said Veterans Education Success, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for opportunities education for veterans and military service members.

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World Bank’s Malpass says G20 could agree to debt relief extension of just six months

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some G20 creditor countries are reluctant to expand and extend coronavirus-related debt service relief for the world’s poorest countries by a year, so a six-month compromise could emerge this week, World Bank President David Malpass said Monday.

FILE PHOTO: World Bank Group President David Malpass attends a news conference after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

Malpass, speaking to reporters at the start of the virtual annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, said the G20 debt working groups failed to reach an agreement on the two institutions’ efforts for a one-year extension of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

“I think there can be compromise language that can be a six-month extension (and) it can be renewed depending on debt sustainability,” Malpass said.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from major G20 economies are due to meet via video conference on Wednesday. In May, they launched an initiative to allow poor countries to suspend payments on official bilateral debt owed to G20 creditor nations until the end of 2020, which Malpass says has so far freed up $5 billion. dollars to strengthen coronavirus responses.

Malpass and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva have warned that much more debt relief is needed for poor and middle-income countries, including principal reduction, to avoid a “lost decade” as the pandemic destroys economic activity.

Malpass said the two institutions would come up with a joint action plan to reduce the debt stock of poor countries whose debt is unsustainable.

But he said debtor countries were too “deferential” to creditor countries and needed to demand a lower debt burden more forcefully. “That dialogue has not yet been as strong as I think is necessary to move this process forward.”

A new World Bank debt study released on Monday showed that among countries eligible for the G20 debt relief program, external debt soared 9.5% in 2019 to $744 billion before the pandemic does not strike.

The official bilateral debt of the poorest countries to G20 countries reached $178 billion in 2019, with 63% of the total owed to China. The study says China’s share of that debt stood at 45% in 2013, the year Beijing launched its global Belt and Road infrastructure campaign.

Malpass said the debt service suspension initiative has accelerated more slowly than expected because “not all creditors are fully participating,” including China.

He said he wanted to see China’s participation in the debt service suspension initiative expanded to more state-sponsored creditors, adding that many of those already participating had no deferred repayment of the principal but still received interest.

Reporting by David Lawder in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang and Matthew Lewis

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Biden officials consider action on student debt relief

(AP) – The Biden administration is considering whether it can take steps to provide student debt relief through executive action, even as it continues to ask Congress to pass legislation to help borrowers and their families .

A tweet from White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to go further than her comments during a briefing earlier Thursday, when she said President Joe Biden was counting on Congress to act next. on student loan relief. Biden said he supports up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower.

“The President continues to support student debt cancellation to provide relief to students and families,” Psaki tweeted. “Our team is looking at whether there are any steps he can take through executive action and he would be happy to sign a bill sent to him by Congress.”

It came hours after a group of Democrats urged Biden to use executive action to forgive $50,000 in federal student debt for all borrowers. The group, which included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said it would boost the economy and help close the country’s racial wealth gap.

Biden has previously said he supports erasing up to $10,000 in student debt through legislation, but he has not expressed interest in pursuing executive action. In a briefing before posting his statement on Twitter, Psaki appeared to reject the idea of ​​using presidential powers to wipe out debt, saying Biden had already suspended student loan repayments during the pandemic.

“He would look to Congress to take the next steps,” she said.

Legal scholars have fallen back and forth over whether Biden has the power to deal with loan relief himself, with some saying the move is unlikely to survive a legal challenge.

The Trump administration moved to block broad debt cancellation in early January, issuing an Education Department memo concluding that the secretary had no authority to provide such assistance and that it would be up to Congress.

Schumer said he and Warren researched the matter and concluded “it’s one of those things the president can do on his own.” Past presidents have written off debt, Schumer said, but not on the scale proposed.

Democrats are pushing the issue as a matter of racial justice and as relief from COVID-19. They rely on statistics showing that black and Latino borrowers are more likely to go into debt and take longer to repay their loans.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., said the student debt crisis “has always been an issue of racial and economic justice.”

“But for too long, the narrative has excluded Black and Latino communities, and how this debt has exacerbated deep-rooted racial and economic inequalities in our country,” she said.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who also supports the measure, said it would help millions of Americans who have suffered financial loss during the pandemic. “The last thing people should worry about is their student loan debt,” she said.

Calls for debt forgiveness are growing after years of tuition hikes that have contributed to rising national student debt. More than 42 million Americans now hold federal student loans worth a combined $1.5 trillion, according to Department of Education data.

In an effort to provide relief soon after the pandemic hit last year, the Trump administration suspended federal student loan payments and set interest rates at zero percent. Upon taking office, Biden extended the moratorium until at least September 30.

Some Democrats say that’s not enough, and Schumer said he recently met with Biden to advocate for broader relief.

Canceling $50,000 in student debt would cost about $650 billion, Warren said. She argues it would be a “big positive” for the economy by allowing more Americans to buy homes and start businesses.

Republicans have pledged to fight any attempt at blanket debt cancellation, saying it unfairly shifts the burden from borrowers to taxpayers.

During a Wednesday hearing with Biden’s nominee for education secretary, Sen. Richard Burr, RN.C., urged the White House to reject calls for mass pardons and pass legislation aimed at simplify loan repayment options.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Medical debt nonprofit RIP promises to erase thousands of debts for a penny on the dollar

CHICAGO (CBS) — Some Chicago-area families have begun begging for help in recent days — a young father with leukemia, a teacher with breast cancer and a shooting victim.

On Tuesday, CBS 2’s Lauren Victory got to the bottom of a program that promises to erase thousands of medical debts for a dime on the dollar.

Inside Trinity United Church of Christ, Pastor Otis Moss III reaches 6,000 people a week.

“We are called to stand up for those who have their backs against the wall,” Moss said.

On a recent Sunday, he praised God and his own followers.

Their donations to a non-profit organization based in Westchester County, New York called RIP medical debt helped strangers pay bills for ambulances, hospital stays and medications, and more.

“He’s a quiet, quiet dream destroyer,” said Pastor Moss. “We brought together several other churches and, and we were able to raise about $38,000. That bought about $5.3 million in debt.”

Victory must have figured out how $38,000 turned into over $5 million in bills. So she Skyped with Craig Antico, co-founder of RIP Medical Debt, and got the rough math.

“You just add two zeros to your donation, and that tells you how much money you can take away — $1, of course, equals $100, and so on,” Antico said.

He explained that medical providers will accept offers from his nonprofit organization to reimburse patient expenses if bills are aggregated in the thousands. Many outstanding debts are years old.

“It’s like getting money now instead of getting it later in the next three or four years from people who can’t really afford it,” Antico said. “TransUnion, which is right there in Chicagoland, they give us debt at a really good price and they’re able to help us find people who need help.”

One of those people was Dianna Western from downstate Belleville. She was stricken with breast cancer, a heart attack and personal expenses.

“Financially, we found ourselves strapped for cash,” Western said.

She has health care coverage, but the coinsurance payment for the procedures totaled $1,412.

But then a letter arrived from RIP, telling him that the debt was gone.

“You’re kind of in shock, you know, and you’re happy,” Western said.

RIP begins to make headlines across the country.

In Collin County, Texas, Elevate Life Church worked with RIP Medical Debt to cancel a $2.2 million debt. The Grand Rapids Church in Wyoming, Michigan also worked with RIP Medical Debt to forgive nearly $2 million to nearly 2,000 families.

Higher Vision Church in Santa Clarita, California has partnered with RIP Medical Debt to raise $16,000 and clear $1.6 million in medical debt. City Church in Russellville, Arkansas worked with the nonprofit organization to pay off $3 million in medical debt for 1,589 local families.

And it’s not just the churches. Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young also canceled more than $1 million in medical debt for Atlanta residents with the help of the organization. And in Murchison, Texas, fifth-grade teacher Reagen Adair had a $3,100 debt erased using RIP medical debt.

Donors can’t choose specific people to help, but Trinity was able to target Cook County – eliminating medical debt for 5,888 families.

“We were going to do blind generosity,” Pastor Moss said.

RIP Medical Debt’s Antico said his nonprofit tries to tailor fundraisers to specific diseases like cancer or diabetes.

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The courts paved the way for DeVos to grant student debt relief. So why are 180,000 people still waiting for an answer?

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Updated with comments from the US Department of Education.

Courts have repeatedly sided with student borrowers demanding that the US Department of Education process their requests for debt relief, but more than 180,000 people are still awaiting a decision. Now some of them are turning to the courts again for help.

On Tuesday, seven borrowers sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her agency after the department failed to act on their claims, some of which have been dragging on for years.

The Department of Education has not approved or denied a request for debt relief in a year. People familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly, said more than 180,000 applications for debt relief are pending at the ministry. Nearly 10,000 of them were filed more than three years ago.

“It’s not like they’re working on the backlog and it just takes time. The department doesn’t think it has to do anything with these claims, and that’s why people are coming forward,” said Eileen Connor, an attorney representing the borrowers. “What they want is for the court to say to the ministry, ‘You have to do something. You can refuse them. You can grant them. But you have to do something.

Department of Education spokeswoman Liz Hill said the federal agency is resolving claims before court rulings stall the system and is continuing to review claims.

“The only thing holding the department back from finalizing thousands of these claims is the steady stream of litigation brought by ideological special interests, so-called student advocates,” Hill said.

A 1995 law known as the “Borrower’s Defense of Repayment” gives the Department of Education the power to write off federal debt for students whose colleges defrauded them. The Obama administration has updated regulations to shift more of the cost of forgiveness onto schools, after the closure of for-profit giant Corinthian College sparked a flood of claims.

DeVos delayed and then suspended implementation of the rule. The Education Secretary had said of the rule: “You only had to raise your hand to get what’s called free money.” Then the department began using earnings data to provide partial loan forgiveness to former Corinthian students.

These actions resulted in federal prosecutions and subsequent legal reprimands from the Department of Education. Yet the court orders blocking the Trump administration’s approach have yet to pay off much for borrowers.

Instead, the department is using one of those orders as justification for not moving forward with the increased claims. Diane Auer Jones, the department’s principal deputy assistant secretary, told lawmakers in April that a court ruling banning the use of earnings data to award partial aid to former Corinthian students had crippled the agency.

“We are unable to determine the level of harm or the level of relief a borrower should obtain because the methodology we used is blocked by a California court,” Jones told a deputy hearing. House Oversight and Reform committee.

As a result, Jones said, the department could not commit to a timeline for processing applications. People familiar with release requests say nearly 23,000 are awaiting loan cancellation.

Connor, director of litigation at Harvard Law School’s Project on Predatory Student Lending, argues that the court injunction does not prevent the Education Department from creating a new methodology for denying claims or granting full relief. The Predatory Student Loans Project took the California case.

Hill of the Department of Education said “courts have found the tiered redress methodology to be appropriate and lawful. Such an approach has always been part of the borrower’s defense review, and it was included in the 2016 regulations enacted by the previous administration.

Candidates have endured long waits, which for many began under the Obama administration. One of the plaintiffs in the case, Jessica Jacobson, filed her lawsuit against the for-profit New England Institute of Art in 2015. The school has been the subject of state investigations over sales tactics allegedly deceptive and aggressive before it stopped enrolling students in 2015.

Another plaintiff, Tresa Apodaca, submitted her request for debt relief a month after Corinthian closed in April 2015. She raised $30,000 in federal loans to attend Corinthian’s Heald College, where she said that he had been told that 98% of graduates had landed jobs in their fields. The Department of Education cut Corinthian’s access to federal funds because the school lied about placement rates.

There are consequences for those languishing in debt relief limbo. Although the federal government is supposed to grant a temporary deferral of loan repayments while applicants wait for a decision, Connor said some of his clients are still getting bills or having their wages garnished.

Even if the Ministry of Education began to seriously deal with the backlog of applications, the agency would need significantly more staff to handle the volume. The Borrower Defense Unit, responsible for reviewing claims, had six full-time staff in June 2018, when there were nearly 100,000 claims pending review, according to court documents. There are a handful of contractors helping out, but their tasks are limited.

State attorneys general who provided some of the evidence needed to address the claims against Corinthian say the Department of Education no longer consults with them. They say the department could process applications more quickly if it restored lines of communication. But for now, everything is on hold.

“It’s outrageous that the department is ignoring these claims,” ​​Connor, who works alongside Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, a nonprofit legal service, said during Tuesday’s trial. “Borrowers have rights. They invoke their rights and the government does not respond to them.

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New ‘debt trap’ concerns over China’s lending to Africa – Analysis

By Adrian Stones and Yigal Chazan*

As China moves to tackle an ongoing financial crisis among coronavirus-hit African members of its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or new ‘Silk Road‘, some in the West, skeptical of the company’s stated development goals, will be alert to countries that might hand over project stakes in return for loan repayment concessions.

Beijing has long denied claims that investments in the BRI, a trillion-dollar infrastructure project boosting trade ties between China and much of the developing world, risked overwhelming beneficiaries of a so much debt that they have little choice but to cede majority stakes in assets and/or agree to give China excessively long leases – the so-called debt trap diplomacy.

President Xi Jinping and his officials have sought to highlight the BRI’s contribution to economic development. And while Chinese funds are helping to build vital transport links and boost industrial activity in low-income countries, the debts they are incurring in the process seem increasingly unsustainable.

This seems to be the case in Africa, where China is seen as the biggest creditor. Johns Hopkins University identified some $152 billion in Chinese loan financing provided to 49 African countries between 2000 and 2018. Their ability to service Chinese loans – in 2018, an estimated debt of $64 billion – could now be seriously compromised by the fall in commodity prices and the recession. IMF predicts sub-Saharan African economies will contract 3.2% this year, “considerably worse than expected in April”.

In recent years, BRI countries have canceled or renegotiated projects due to debt problems, but with pandemic-related financial difficulties, others are now asking China for flexibility on their repayment schedules, and several are considered African states, according to the FT. China has signed to a G-20 commitment in April suspend debt service until the end of the year, potentially freeing up 76 of the poorest countries, including 40 in sub-Saharan Africa, to spend scarce funds to deal with the economic damage caused by the health crisis.

But according to the trade publication Eurocurrency, China added caveats that would effectively exclude hundreds of large loans made through the BIS. An opinion piece in the Atlantic Council Public Policy Blog pointed out that Chinese officials distinguish between interest-free, government-to-government credits and preferential loans from the China Export-Import Bank and the China Development Bank which “account for the largest share of Chinese lending to the foreign”.

In June, President Xi says to African leaders that he would cancel the interest-free loans due this year, but these are supposed to account for less than 5% Chinese loans to Africa. Worryingly for the continent – 39 of which are part of the BRI program – it appears that Beijing does not see preferential loans as tradable. An article from the Chinese state corporation world times said the loans are “not applicable for debt relief” due to the commercial nature of the projects they fund.

The article, however, pointed out that the repayment problems could be solved by several approaches, such as the addition of subsidies by China to help revive the projects; use of Chinese companies to help operations; or by swapping debt for equity.

For those who view China as a predatory lender, the potential offer of debt-for-equity swaps bodes ill. In 2017, Sri Lanka granted the Chinese a 70% stake in – and a 99-year operational lease for – the port of Hambantota, after struggling with debt service. When he came to power, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad pledged to cancel or renegotiate “unfair” BRI projects accepted by his predecessor.

The opacity of many BRI transactions means that it can be difficult to determine the nature of the risks countries are taking. While President Xi promised last year to make plans more transparent and financially viableCritics will nonetheless be alert that Beijing may be exploiting the financial weakness of its African partners to seek larger stakes in BRI projects during bilateral debt relief talks.

Faced with its own economic difficulties, China’s generosity in rescheduling debt service may be limited. Beijing will, however, be well aware that its critics will seize on any evidence that it is exploiting its influence in the negotiations. Yet there is another factor that likely militates against the latter. For the BRI to work, China needs the developing world to see it as an economic partner. A hardline attitude towards debt relief undermines this perception, especially in the eyes of African countries, as their economies have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. This could deter them from future BRI projects.

Those are the calculations Chinese officials are likely to make, but these days it’s hard to guess Beijing given its conduct in Hong Kong. In its defense, China would say that in the past it has shown flexibility on debt servicing, including its decision in 2018 to extend loan repayment by Ethiopia for a railway linking Addis Ababa to neighboring Djibouti within 20 years. Additionally, researchers at Johns Hopkins University revealed that in the cases they examined of African countries facing debt difficulties, there had been no seizures of assets.

Yet critics of Beijing would point the finger at Tanzanian leader John Magufuli indefinite suspension last year of a port project agreed by its predecessor, which gave China a 99-year lease for the facility, as evidence of the tough terms Beijing is believed to be negotiating. And there have been lingering concerns than Djiboutiwhich reportedly received nearly $1.4 billion in Chinese funding for projects, may fall victim to the “debt trap.”

With some BRI projects likely on hold due to the pandemic, Beijing has tried to build trust and renew faith in the company by supporting health services in partner countries. The initiative could also serve to sweeten the pill it might ask loan recipients to swallow when discussing repayments, or simply distract from tough negotiations.

nicknamed the “Health Silk Road”, a redesign of an earlier initiative, it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of the measure. China’s partners, especially those in Africa, will no doubt welcome any medical aid they receive, but hope they emerge from the shadow of the pandemic with their strengths intact.

*Adrian Stones is Director and Yigal Chazan Head of Content at Alaco, a London-based business intelligence consultancy. This article was published by Geopolitical Monitor.com

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Debt swaps could free up funds to tame climate, biodiversity and virus threats

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In Kenya, the coronavirus pandemic has dried up ecotourism, cutting off sources of funding that help protect wildlife and pay income to communities working to preserve nature.

But canceling some of Kenya’s heavy external debt, in exchange for the government devoting those resources to tackling the threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, could tackle several big problems in the future. time, researchers said Tuesday.

“Under pandemic economic bailouts, governments have an opportunity to simultaneously address the crises of debt, climate and biodiversity destruction,” wrote researchers from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) based in London in a report.

It ranks the countries that would benefit the most from these “debt swaps” according to their vulnerability to climate change, biodiversity richness, indebtedness and creditworthiness.

Topping the list are Cape Verde – an island nation off the coast of West Africa – Vietnam, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua and Papua New Guinea.

In Vietnam, for example, swapping debt for nature and climate protection could help farmers in the Mekong Delta – an important food-producing area at high risk of sea-level rise – transition to salt-tolerant crop varieties, said report co-author Paul Steele. .

Opening up fiscal space could also expand a government effort that pays farmers, especially in poorer indigenous communities, to plant trees and conserve forests, he said.

Most of the $8 trillion in debt owed by developing countries in 2019 – before the virus crisis – is held by wealthy countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, China and big money managers. assets, Steele said.

All might have good reason to consider such exchanges, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

China, for example, is hosting the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity summit, now postponed to 2021, which aims to increase funding for nature conservation, among other goals.

As the largest holder of bilateral debt with developing countries, China could lead by example in testing debt swaps, and recently mentioned them at a meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Steele said.

Asset managers facing debt write-offs following the coronavirus downturn could choose to use them for productive purposes – which could both support struggling economies and reduce the need for additional debt relief. debt in the future, Steele said.

Some investors who have committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 might also consider debt swaps as part of their broader mission, he added.

Debt-for-nature and debt-for-climate swaps are a relatively new idea. In 2018, Seychelles signed a $27 million deal brokered through The Nature Conservancy, with the money released going to create a large marine reserve, Steele said.

Similar agreements could be particularly suitable for other small island developing states in the Caribbean or the Pacific with high debt, high climate vulnerability and rich biodiversity, he said.

In all exchanges, money would be made available for climate and nature protection under a “results-based” payment system, in which the debtor nation must do what it promises to get debt relief, he said.

While Britain no longer holds much developing country debt after forgiving most of it decades ago, as host of the major UN climate summit next year, it could put pressure on creditors in the London financial center to participate in such exchanges, he said.

These deals could become more attractive — and important — as debt rises in developing countries grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturns, the researchers noted.

Developing country debt was already at record highs before the COVID-19 crisis, rising from 110% in 2010 to 170% of gross domestic product across all countries in 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Reporting by Laurie Goering @lauriegoering; edited by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters. To visit news.trust.org/climate

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Kenya eyes action from China after Paris Club debt relief

Economy

Kenya eyes action from China after Paris Club debt relief


Treasure CS Ukur Yatani. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Paris Club – which includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Spain and the United States – said on Monday that it accepted a request from Kenya to suspend debt service from January to the end of June.
  • The country has also requested relief under the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) estimated at 40.6 billion shillings from January 1 to June 30 from non-Club creditors. Paris.

Kenya is considering debt service waivers by more lenders after the Paris Club of international creditors granted it a 32.9 billion shillings loan repayment suspension to help ease pandemic-related financial difficulties of Covid-19.

The Paris Club – which includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Spain and the United States – said on Monday that it accepted a request from Kenya to suspend debt service from January to the end of June.

“Kenya is committed to using the resources freed up by this initiative to increase spending to mitigate the health, economic and social impact of the Covid-19 crisis,” the Paris Club said in a statement released. on its website.

The country has also requested relief under the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) estimated at 40.6 billion shillings from January 1 to June 30 from non-Club creditors. Paris.

“The Government of the Republic of Kenya is also committed to requesting from all its other official bilateral creditors debt service treatment in accordance with the agreed term sheet and its addendum,” the G20 countries said.

Kenya is expected to pay its biggest bilateral lender, China, 109.4 billion shillings this year, including loan installments for the second phase of the standard gauge railway to Naivasha.

Last year, China announced it would suspend payments from 77 developing countries to complete the G20 offer, which is proving more attractive to countries heavily indebted to Beijing.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the government was already in talks with China and expected a similar deal to be finalized within weeks.

“China is also generally on board with that, but we will get tougher in the coming weeks,” Yatani said.

Kenya initially resisted the suspension of G20 debt repayment, fearing it would limit access to Eurobonds and lower the country’s credit rating.

Moody’s has previously placed Kenya in B2 with a negative outlook, citing huge external debt, falling revenues and currency risks.

Mr Yatani flip-flopped on his stance on G20 debt relief, saying pressure from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) had forced the Treasury to seek debt relief.

The two Bretton Woods institutions have pledged to give Kenya low-cost concessional loans on the condition that it accepts the suspension of G20 debt repayments.

This now paves the way for Kenya to secure approval for a $2.3 billion (250.4 billion shillings) loan facility for budget support from the IMF Board of Directors due to meet in february.

The country plans to borrow an additional $1.5 billion (150 billion shillings) from the World Bank in 2021.

Kenya is grappling with high debt payments which have soared to 7.1 trillion shillings or 69.2% of GDP at a time when revenues have fallen following the coronavirus pandemic

Tax collections by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) fell by 15.03% or 33.27 billion shillings in the first two months of this fiscal year to 188.08 billion shillings due to the effects extended training periods of Covid-19 containment measures on economic activity.

This means that Kenya will need more debt to fill the fiscal hole or turn to lenders to restructure debt or offer debt forgiveness to reduce loan repayment expenses.

The country’s deteriorating cash position, marked by declining revenues and worsening debt service obligations, forced it to revert to these conditional loans.

Kenya has pledged to reform its state-owned enterprises, which will raise taxes, cut subsidies and put some people out of work.

Kenya had steered clear of direct budget financing from institutions such as the IMF and World Bank under the administration of former President Mwai Kibaki, preferring project support.

Kenya joined Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi who took the Paris Club freeze.

Rwanda, whose over-indebtedness is considered moderate, does not have as much as South Sudan and Somalia, which are both already in difficulty.

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‘The Squad’ steps up pressure on Biden to write off student loan debt

Democrats and “Squad” members have revisited the issue of student debt forgiveness, saying it’s time to help their fellow Americans.

In a tweet Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rejected arguments against writing off heavy debts accumulated in continuing education.

“‘Things were bad for me, so they should stay bad for everyone’ is not a good argument against canceling debt – student, medical or otherwise. #CancelStudentDebt,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

“Things were bad for me, so they should stay bad for everyone else” is not a good argument against debt cancellation – student, medical or otherwise. #CancelStudentDebt

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 16, 2020

Rep. Ayanna Pressley also contributed to the debate, adding, “Cancelling student debt will ensure a fair economic recovery from COVID-19, revive our economy, and close the racial wealth gap. One more thing,” a- she declared.

Cancel the rent.
Cancel the mortgage.
Cancel student debt.

— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) July 21, 2020

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez supports the long-term goal of having tuition-free public colleges to avoid huge debt in the first place. She believes the current education system is “financially decimating [people in] every generation.”

We should also push for public colleges to be free to prevent this massive debt bubble from financially decimating people in every generation. It is one of the easiest progressive policies to “pay for”, with multiple possibilities ranging from a Wall St transaction tax to a wealth tax to cover it.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 16, 2020

The “Squad”, made up of four young and diverse women elected to the House of Representatives – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — strongly supported the write-off of $30,000 in student loan debt, which they outlined in their Student Debt Emergency Relief Act in March.

The bill aims to provide immediate monthly payment relief to those who have taken out federal student loans and crucially prevent those with student debt from having to make involuntary payments during the coronavirus pandemic.

Congressmen Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar said the legislation would provide much-needed debt relief to some 45 million workers and families, who they say are “crushed by student debt during the COVID-19 pandemic. “.

Rep. Pressley said in a statement: “During this unprecedented crisis, no one should have to choose between paying their student loan, putting food on the table, or protecting themselves and their families.

“Our $1.6 trillion student debt crisis stands in the way of any meaningful economic stimulus efforts during and after this pandemic, which is why we need to cancel student loan debt in order to get the economy moving again. bring immediate relief to workers and families crushed by the financial and emotional burden of massive student debt. We must prioritize debt cancellation for the 45 million student borrowers who are struggling to repay their debt during this difficult time.

KEEP my beloved, departed mother (whom you would not have been able to tie) out of your ignorant mouth.

— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) November 17, 2020

As part of the President donald trump, a six-month suspension of student loan repayments has been put in place until September 30. In addition, no interest has been added to the debt. Collection appeals were also put on hold, while borrowers who had defaulted would not be denied their tax refunds. The relief was later extended until December 31 as the pandemic continued. But Democratic representatives want to go further with a more permanent solution: erase up to $30,000 in unpaid student debt, which will help “to restore economy”.

Debt cancellation critics say a bailout will simply redistribute the debt to other Americans and largely benefit those who can afford to go to college, disproportionately helping a wealthy segment of society at the expense of the taxpayer. Texas representative Dan Crenshaw called the proposal to write off the debts “immoral”, in response to the senator. Bernie Sanders saying Wall Street should help foot the bill.

“During the financial crisis, Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in American history. Now it’s Wall Street’s turn to help rebuild the vanishing middle class,” Senator Sanders said. in June.

Senator Crenshaw replied: “When you say #cancelstudentdebt you are saying that a minority of people who have had the benefit of graduating should have their debt paid off by hard working taxpayers, 2/3 of whom n ‘have not graduated themselves, or have already paid off their own student debt.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once spoke about being personally affected by student debt, “I also have student loans, and I think it’s so funny, a year ago I was serving tables in a restaurant” , she said in 2019, “and it was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman in American history to be elected to Congress than to pay off my student debt.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has personally been bothered by student debt.
Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez made a payment on her outstanding balance during a 2019 congressional hearing. “I literally made a student loan payment while I was sitting here in this chair, and I watched my balance and it was $20,237.16,” she said. at the meeting on student debt.

“I just made a payment that brought me down to $19,000 (£15,412) so I feel really accomplished right now.”

At the start of the pandemic, Reps Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib were paying off all of their student loans.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib believes the student loan problem is tied to a larger issue of racism. “I truly believe that canceling student debt is about racial justice,” she said.

“Even though some middle-class and wealthier families have a lot of student debt, low-income people, especially black and brown people, have higher balances and are more likely to drop out of school because “they can’t pay. Canceling all student debt would restore access to education as a right.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Democratic leader chuck schumer put pressure on the president-elect Joe Biden to “provide meaningful relief to struggling Americans and globally forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt”.

Senator Warren called on Biden last week to “cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, giving tens of millions of Americans an immediate financial boost and helping close the racial wealth gap. This is the most effective executive action available for a huge economic stimulus.”

1. Biden-Harris can write off billions of dollars in student loan debt, giving tens of millions of Americans an immediate financial boost and helping close the racial wealth gap. This is the most effective executive action available for massive economic recovery.

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 12, 2020

Some 45 million people in the United States have outstanding student loans and owe an estimated total of $1.56 trillion, making it the second largest consumer debt after mortgages.

The average student loan for those who graduated in 2018 was $29,200.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the US deficit will total $4 trillion this year.

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Pakistan asks G-20 members for debt relief

Islamabad: Cash-strapped Pakistan has asked members of the G-20 countries for debt relief with a commitment not to take on new non-concessional loans except those permitted by IMF guidelines and from the World Bank, according to a media report.

The official requests were sent to individual countries on Friday as part of the G-20 COVID-19 debt service suspension initiative, a senior Economic Affairs Ministry official told the Express Tribune on Monday.

On April 15, the Group of 20 major economies announced a freeze on debt repayments for 76 countries, including Pakistan, for the period from May to December 2020 as they struggle to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, under subject to each country making a formal declaration. request.

However, one of the eligibility criteria was that the recipient country would not incur any new non-concessional debt during the suspension period, other than agreements under this initiative or within agreed limits under IMF debt limitation policy (DLP) or WBG policy. on non-concessional borrowings.


Read also:For a broke Pakistan, Bahawalpur was the kingdom that kept on giving. Then he disappeared


The Pakistani government did not mention the debt relief in the request letters, although it assessed the cumulative amount of relief at $1.8 billion for the period May to December 2020.

Pakistan has also notified the IMF, World Bank and Paris Club of its decision to formally request debt relief.

Last month, the IMF’s resident representative in Pakistan, Teresa Daban, said that Pakistan had not formally made any request to G-20 countries for debt relief.

Pakistan owes $20.7 billion to 11 members of the Group of 20 major economies. Of this amount, $1.8 billion would fall due by December 2020, including interest payments, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

During these eight months, Pakistan will have to reimburse 1.8 billion dollars to its 11 members. That includes $1.47 billion in principal repayments and $323 million in loan interest, according to the daily.

In addition, $613 million in Saudi debt and $309 million in Chinese debt will come due, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

During this period, Pakistan is also required to return $23 million to Canada, $183 million to France, $99 million to Germany, $6 million to Italy, $373 million in Japan, $47 million to South Korea, $14 million. to Russia, 1 million USD to the United Kingdom and 128 million USD to the United States.

According to an IMF condition, the $7.5 billion loans that the Imran Khan government had obtained from China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar cannot be repaid during the period of the program. IMF, according to the report.

These loans were only guaranteed for one year to avoid default on international debt obligations, but the IMF had made it a condition that this money would be renewed each year until the program ended in 2022.

If the G-20 member countries agree to the request, Pakistan will have four years to return the amount, including a one-year grace period.

Pakistan has assured G-20 members that it will not incur new non-concessional debts during the suspension period other than agreements concluded under the initiative or in accordance with limits agreed under the policy of IMF debt limitation or World Bank Group policy on non-concessional lending. ready.

An IMF report had estimated Pakistan’s post-COVID-19 external financing needs at $25.8 billion with a financing gap of $2 billion.

For the next fiscal year, the IMF has projected Pakistan’s gross financing needs at $29.3 billion and a financing gap of $1.5 billion.

The IMF had approved emergency loans of $1.4 billion, which more than filled the projected financing gap, but the amount fell short of overall needs.

G-20 countries have announced debt relief to help poorer countries use the fiscal space created to increase social, health or economic spending in response to the coronavirus crisis. A monitoring system was to be put in place by the international financial institutions.

The debt relief will last until the end of 2020, but G-20 countries could consider a possible extension, taking into account a report on the liquidity needs of eligible countries by the World Bank and the IMF .


Read also : IMF mulls $1.4bn loan to Pakistan to help deal with economic impact of Covid-19


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Coalition of progressive groups — and some Quinnipiac students — call on Biden to forgive student debt – The Quinnipiac Chronicle

There are 45 million borrowers who owe $1.6 trillion in student debt, according to Forbesand Quinnipiac University students are calling on President-elect Joe Biden to lighten the load in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

“Students shouldn’t worry about school debt when they turn 50,” said Jennifer Guzman, a first-year psychology student. “There are so many students who are working double duty just to try and pay their school debt and barely make a dent. There are other students who are first-generation Americans, and their parents don’t even earn half of their school dues.

Students like Guzman are not alone in their frustration. A coalition of 236 mostly progressive groups called on Biden on Nov. 18 to use his executive powers to cancel student debt on his first day as president.

During the campaign trail, Biden promised to immediately forgive $10,000 of each borrower’s debt as part of his COVID-19 response.

Ricardo Bernabe Torres, a finance professor at Quinnipiac, said a student he spoke to about his student loans told him Biden’s plan wouldn’t be enough.

“The $10,000 wouldn’t make much difference to her, but she said she was happy for everyone that it would help,” Torres said.

Torres said he supports student loan debt forgiveness because of conversations like these he had with students.

“It’s good for the economy,” Torres said. “I don’t think it’s going to solve everything, but we have a different generation than we had before. It is the first generation that is poorer than previous generations. There is less home ownership. There are delays in retirement.

The pandemic is only exacerbating existing trends, Torres said.

“The looming feeling of these debts can set people back,” Torres said. “When they want to take a risk or make a big financial decision like buying a house or having kids, the impending gloom has an impact.”

Sumer Perratti, a junior media studies student, said student debt relief would give her time to explore her areas of interest without worrying about paying off student debt.

“Cancelling student debt would give me the opportunity to freely explore the field of communications and follow my passion without worrying about college expenses,” Perratti said.

Critics of canceling student loans argue that it is unfair to people who have already paid off their loans and would cost too much. Perratti said each family’s financial situation is different and reviews should be more understanding.

“I think people need to understand that a lot of us come from low-income or working-class households and going to a very reputable university is often a risk,” Perratti said. “We must bank on the success that our schools promise us to pay to avoid living in debt for the rest of our lives. College is so expensive now, and it’s unfair that my life is at a disadvantage because my family doesn’t make enough money.

As someone who doesn’t have kids and has never had his own student debt from scholarships, Torres said he always feels empathy for those who owe her. refund.

“We all benefit from a more educated society,” Torres said.

Due to a concept Torres called “degree inflation,” an increasing number of careers require not just a bachelor’s degree, but also a master’s degree. More degrees mean more money and fewer opportunities for those with less money.

“We all impose this as a society and so not everyone is in the position of being able to go to school without going into debt,” Torres said. “Are we going to stop these people from getting a degree?”

For many students and activists, the answer is no.

“Every year, student debt increases and hits a new high,” said Collin Doria, a sophomore in health sciences. “The pandemic is not improving anything, so the debt should be cancelled.”

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Puerto Rico Debt Relief Act Stirs Colonial Resentment

The American flag floated above the courthouse and its huge parking lot. Just outside a fence and a guard post, protesters had pitched tents, hoisted a small Puerto Rican flag and hung banners saying, “The problem is not the junta, it’s the colony.

Ms Sánchez said protesters converged on the spot at 6 p.m. Wednesday, as soon as they learned that Promesa had passed the Senate. She said she was angry at, among other things, a provision to lower the minimum wage here to $4.25 an hour for young workers and the government’s announcement not to test supply in water.

“We’re looking at, basically, the next Flint,” she said, referring to the struggling Michigan town where high levels of lead have been found in drinking water. Flint’s deeply troubled finances are controlled by a state-appointed emergency officer, under an arrangement similar to what is now expected for Puerto Rico.

As if to embody the emotional whirlwind here, the governor, Mr. García Padilla, reversed his allegiance on the issue of federal intervention, making a 180-degree turn at the very last minute. A staunch opponent of federal surveillance, in early June he became the first sitting governor in Puerto Rico’s history to visit Cuba, where he attended a Caribbean summit as an observer, spoke with President Raúl Castro and laid the foundations for a commercial office in Havana.

The move stunned policymakers in Washington, who had pushed Promesa’s sensitive dossier for months and expected the governor to join them in the latest lobbying offensive on Capitol Hill.

This week, García Padilla traveled to Washington, where he dutifully accompanied Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to lobby for the bill.

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The Containment and Disaster Relief Trust

Containment and Disaster Relief Trust

April 9, 2021

The Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) enables the IMF to provide grants for debt relief to the poorest and most vulnerable countries affected by catastrophic natural disasters or public health disasters. The relief from debt service payments frees up additional resources to meet the exceptional balance of payments needs created by the disaster and for containment and recovery. Created in February 2015 during the Ebola epidemic and modified in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemicCCRT grants complement donor funding and IMF concessional loans Trust for poverty reduction and growth (PRGT).

Purpose of the CCRT. In February 2015, the IMF transformed the Post-Catastrophe Debt Relief Trust into the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), expanding the the range of situations covered by IMF disaster assistance to include rapidly spreading epidemics. In March 2020, the IMF adopted a set of reforms to the CCRT to enable the Fund to provide immediate debt service relief to its poorest and most vulnerable members affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic and any future pandemic. the trust provides grants to pay debt service due to the IMF to eligible low-income member countries that are affected by the most catastrophic natural disasters or are struggling with public health disasters, such as epidemics or global pandemics. The objective of debt relief under the CCRT is to free up resources to meet the exceptional balance of payments needs created by the disaster rather than having to allocate these resources to debt servicing.

Eligibility. Assistance through the CCRT is currently available to countries eligible for concessional borrowing through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) and whose per capita income is below the operational threshold of International Development Association (IDA) (currently US$1,185) or, for small states with a population of less than 1.5 million, a per capita income below twice the IDA threshold (currently $2,370).

Structure. The CCRT has two windows: (i) a Disaster Containment window, to help contain a public health disaster; and (ii) a post-disaster relief window, to provide exceptional assistance following a catastrophic natural disaster. Windows have different purposes, qualification criteria, and support requirements.

Disaster containment the window:

  • Qualification. There are two alternative qualifying cases of public health disasters. The first concerns a life-threatening epidemic that has spread to several regions of the affected country, causing significant economic disruption, and has the capacity to spread or is already spreading to other countries. A significant economic disruption is defined by at least: (i) a cumulative loss of real GDP of 10%; or (ii) a cumulative loss of revenue and an increase in expenditure equivalent to at least 10% of GDP. The second case involves a potentially deadly global pandemic that inflicts severe economic disruption on all IMF members and creates balance-of-payments needs on such a scale that it warrants a concerted effort to support the poorest countries and the most vulnerable through substantial additional subsidies. and debt service relief. To qualify for assistance, the affected country must put in place appropriate macroeconomic policies to meet balance of payments needs.
  • Debt service relief. Eligible low-income countries that are affected by public health disasters as defined above may receive initial grants covering eligible debt owed to the IMF within a period not exceeding two years from the date of the initial decision. (i.e. until April 2022), provided that the CCRT has sufficient means.

Post-disaster relief window:

  • Qualification. A catastrophic natural disaster that has (i) directly affected at least a third Population; and (ii) destroyed more than a quarter of the country’s productive capacity, as estimated by early indications such as destroyed structures and impact on key economic sectors and public institutions or caused greater estimated damage 100% of GDP.
  • Debt flow relief. Eligible low-income countries affected by catastrophic disasters as defined above would receive debt stream relief on the servicing of their IMF debt falling due within two years of the disaster.
  • Relief of outstanding debt. Full cancellation of a country’s outstanding debt to the IMF is also possible in cases where the disaster has created substantial and long-lasting balance of payments needs and where the resources freed up by debt relief Outstanding debt is essential to meet these needs. This would generally only be the case if the country was faced with very high debt. Relief of outstanding debt would be conditional on concerted debt relief efforts by the country’s official creditors and the availability of resources within the CCRT.

CCRT funding. The CCRT was initially funded with the balance of the former Post-Disaster Debt Relief Trust and the remaining accounts of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative funding. In response to the covid19 pandemic, the IMF has launched an urgent fundraising effort that would allow the CCRT to provide debt service relief for the entire two-year period, while leaving the CCRT sufficiently funded for future needs. This will require a commitment of approximately $1.4 billion

Use of the CCRT. To date, three tranches from April 2020 to October 2021— have been approved for the 29 eligible countries with eligible debt. In previous cases, three Ebola-affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) received nearly US$100 million in aid from this trust in February-March 2015. The previous debt relief trust post-disaster was used to provide assistance to Haiti July 2010 of approximately US$270 million, eliminating all of Haiti’s debt to the IMF

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Banks write off debt worth MAD 869.85m from 1,607 Emiratis

Several banks across the UAE have canceled the debts of 1,607 Emiratis, totaling more than Dhs 869.85 million, the Non-Performing Debt Relief Fund announced on November 30.

Participating lenders included: First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Mashreq Bank, Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered, RAKBANK, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, NBQ and the Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade (Al Masraf).

This decision was implemented in accordance with the directives of the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Since its inception in 2011, under the guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, the fund has undertaken many important initiatives to address the issues and concerns of citizens and provide them with the means for a decent standard of living, in cooperation with national banks and the Central Bank,” said Jaber Mohammed Ghanem Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Supreme Committee of the Non-Performing Debt Relief Fund.

Al Suwaidi also expressed his thanks to all the banks that have been part of this initiative, the official news agency W.A.M. reported.

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US says ready to extend G20 debt framework to other countries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is open to extending a joint framework for debt treatment agreed on Friday by G20 finance officials for the world’s poorest countries to include countries with middle income and small island states, a senior US Treasury official said.

However, this view is not shared by all members of the Group of 20 major economies at this stage, the official said.

“We are very open to extending this to other countries,” the official told reporters. “It’s a framework that we believe could apply to low-income countries, as well as middle-income countries, small island states.”

On Friday, G20 countries agreed for the first time on a common framework for restructuring public debts as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates problems for poor countries that were already facing high levels of debt. overwhelming before the outbreak.

The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and finance ministers from many middle-income countries have argued that the G20 debt relief initiative must be expanded to include countries that are not currently eligible.

US approval marks a substantial step forward in this push.

The senior US official called the joint framework a historic achievement that brought creditors such as China, India and Turkey into a coordinated debt restructuring process, alongside the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors.

But he said the United States would carefully monitor its implementation, with a focus on China, which has increased its lending sharply over the past 20 years. Estimates of total Chinese loans ranged from $350 billion to more than $1 trillion, the official said.

“We will certainly be watching closely how it works in practice, and with a particular eye on Chinese participation,” the official said. “It’s really the lack of transparency on Chinese debt that allows them, in some cases, to game the system and avoid full participation.”

Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Steve Orlofsky

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Victims of local student debt relief society speak out

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Nakeia Warren and Andre Archibald are just two of more than 2,000 consumers who have contacted the Federal Trade Commission to complain about Ameritech Financial, a student debt relief company.

According to the FTC, between 2014 and 2018, consumers paid Ameritech Financial $60 million in fees in exchange for Ameritech Financial submitting documents on their behalf to loan repayment plans.

RELATED: Ameritech Financial employee claims struggling student debt relief company was helping people

Warren and Archibald thought the money they paid to Ameritech Financial was going towards their student loans, but the FTC says that was not the case.

“I felt humiliated. I was very angry about it,” Warren said.

Archibald served in the military for 19 years and now works in counterintelligence.

“It makes you feel like an idiot,” Archibald said.

The two paid thousands of dollars up front, followed by recurring monthly fees.

The FTC says this upfront fee should serve as a wake-up call to consumers.

RELATED: Sonoma County CEO charged under student debt relief program to be released under house arrest

“Asking you for a fee before we do anything for you and in doing anything, what I mean is actually providing you with the debt relief services that you sign up for and that are illegal,” said FTC staff attorney Michelle Grajales.

Consumers also say Ameritech Financial encouraged them to exaggerate their family size to qualify for loan forgiveness programs.

In February, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Ameritech Financial and CEO Brandon Frere outlining the alleged deceptive practices.

“I would have kept paying out of ignorance if it hadn’t been for the legal notice I received,” Warren said.

In Ameritech Financial’s offer letter, there is a disclosure at the bottom in fine print. It explicitly says that the company does not assume or pay consumer debts. It also states that there are many free government programs and this is not a government program. It’s information that Warren says she only noticed after the FTC contacted her.

She then contacted the Ministry of Education.

“When I said Ameritech the woman on the phone finished the finances for me – she already knew who the company was, she said I had spoken to so many people like you and unfortunately you were taken advantage of as many more,” Garenne said.

On November 29, the FTC filed an injunction shutting down Ameritech Financial. Brandon Frere also faces a charge of wire fraud for transferring company money to personal and offshore accounts.

Frere’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment today, but has already spoken to ABC7 News outside of court.

“There are an awful lot of issues in this case that will emerge as the case progresses,” attorney Ed Swanson said.

RELATED: Sonoma County leader arrested over student debt relief program

Meanwhile, Warren and Archibald have several thousand dollars more student loan debt than when they started paying Ameritech Financial because of the interest that continued to accrue on their loans.

the The FTC has a list of companies and those barred from debt relief.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.

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G20 strikes historic debt pact to help poorer states hit by Covid

PARIS/TOKYO/WASHINGTON: G20 countries agreed for the first time on a common restructuring framework government debtin anticipation of the coronavirus crisis leaving some poorer nations struggling to pay and in need of relief.
With the Covid-19 pandemic straining the finances of some developing countries, G20 finance ministers said on Friday that more help was needed than a current temporary debt freeze, which will be extended until June 30, 2021.
Major creditors, including China, will have to follow common guidelines agreed by the G20, which specify how debt deemed unsustainable can be reduced or rescheduled.
Non-governmental groups said the deal should have gone further by including middle-income countries and forcing private investors accept cancellations.
The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the problems of the poorest countries, 50% of which are currently in debt distress or at risk of debt distress and, in an early sign of its impact, Zambia is on the verge of becoming Africa’s first sovereign default in the world. COVID era.
managing director of the imf Kristalina Georgieva Last week, African states alone faced a funding gap of $345 billion through 2023 to deal with the pandemic and its economic impact.
“I count on the constructive spirit of everyone to ensure a rapid and cooperative implementation of the common framework, while several countries are already asking for debt treatments, particularly in Africa,” said Bruno Le Maire in French finance. G20 counterparts in an online meeting.
China, which accounted for 63% of the total debt owed to G20 countries in 2019, has been reluctant to acknowledge the need for outright debt cancellation or reduction.
Under the new framework, creditor countries will negotiate with a debtor country, which will have to seek the same terms of treatment from private sector creditors.
The regime borrows heavily from the rules established by the Paris Club, an informal grouping of governments of mainly wealthy countries created in 1956, which was until now the only common forum to negotiate debt restructurings.
G20 finance ministers said in a joint statement that the new framework aims to “facilitate the rapid and orderly processing of debt” for countries eligible for the debt payment freeze put in place in April, but which does not only included private sector creditors on a voluntary basis.
“From now on, all interested parties must ensure that the common framework is implemented. Debt transparency is extremely important,” Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters after a G20 conference call, calling the deal “historic.”
Wave of crises
The new framework also goes further by requiring the participation of all public creditors, after China was criticized by G20 partners for not including debt owed to its state-owned banks.
Wary of debt cancellations, Beijing has defined the state-owned China Development Bank as a private institution, resisting calls for full participation in debt relief.
Although China signed the framework, it was still unclear how it would implement the measures, a source familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
Tim Jones, head of policy at Jubilee Debt Campaign, said in a statement that the G20 announcement enabled but discouraged outright debt cancellation, and did not create a mechanism to compel the participation of the private sector.
“This announcement falls far short of what is needed to tackle the wave of debt crises in the poorest countries,” he said.
“With many countries facing debt crises and Zambia today on the brink of default, the G20 must stop kicking the road,” he added.
Eric LeCompte, UN debt adviser and executive director of Jubilee USA Network, said including private sector creditors was an important step, but criticized the G20 for not including middle-income countries.
“Unfortunately, middle-income countries that will see some of the biggest increases in poverty due to the crisis, are being left out of this process,” LeCompte said.
The Paris Club, which is organized by France’s finance ministry, and G20 countries had already agreed last month to extend this year’s debt freeze under which they were postponing $5 billion in debt service to help the world’s poorest countries.
G20 leaders are expected to endorse the common framework at a virtual summit meeting next week.
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Pakistan signs $1.7 billion debt relief deal

By AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has secured a $1.7 billion debt relief deal to help offset financial headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Monday.

The deal, after months of negotiations with creditors, will provide a moratorium on debt payments for large swaths of the current financial year and help ease the cash-strapped country’s massive financial obligations.

“The Pakistani government has successfully negotiated and concluded rescheduling agreements with 19 bilateral creditors, including members of the Paris Club,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement.

The ministry went on to describe the deal as “timely” which will help save “the lives and livelihoods of millions of people”.

Pakistan’s economy was already on life support before authorities began shutting down large segments of the economy in the spring as a series of lockdown measures were rolled out to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly called for international donor debt cancellation as tax revenues soared, inflation soared, the currency devalued and budget deficits widened.

Earlier this year, the G20 and the Paris Club agreed to waive most debt payments for the world’s poorest countries in 2020 as sweeping virus lockdowns rocked the global economy.

In June, Pakistan was named as one of the few countries to secure a moratorium on Paris Club debt repayments in a bid to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

To add to the country’s woes, Pakistan is also facing growing questions over the huge debt it has incurred in recent years from Chinese-funded infrastructure projects.

Beijing has steadily poured money into Pakistan, investing more than $50 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which has improved infrastructure, electricity and transport links across the country.

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G20 offers poorest countries no assurance on extended debt relief | Business and economy

The World Bank, IMF and Oxfam have all called on the G20 to extend the debt suspension of the poorest countries battling coronavirus.

By Bloomberg

The Group of 20 major economies will make a decision on extending the current suspension of debt repayments for the poorest countries towards the end of the year, postponing assurances of further relief as the global pandemic ravages nations of the whole world.

All member countries have started implementing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative which is currently only expected to run until December and the G-20 expects the status quo to put $14 billion dollars available to fight the virus, said Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan of host Saudi Arabia. told reporters on Saturday after a virtual meeting of ministers and central bankers. So far, 42 countries have requested assistance under the plan, resulting in the suspension of $5.3 billion in repayments.

The decision to consider extending the debt suspension follows calls from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and charities such as Oxfam. The rate of Covid-19 infections is rising in many countries, and even with the April G-20 agreement to waive bilateral debt payments for vulnerable countries, the cost of servicing bonds is crowding out the health and social expenditure.

The World Bank last month forecast emerging market output will decline for the first time in at least six decades.

The virus and global recession will lead to increased poverty in poor countries and some countries’ debt burdens are reaching crisis levels, World Bank President David Malpass said in prepared remarks for the meeting of Saturday. He urged the G-20 to extend the status quo until the end of 2021 and expand the scope.

“More and more desperate”

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate,” Malpass said. “Time is running out. We need to act quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency.”

Al-Jadaan said the G-20 will receive a progress report from the IMF and World Bank ahead of the annual lenders’ meetings in October to help decide on next steps.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement that she hoped the G-20 would consider an extension of the debt moratorium, without giving a specific timeline. The IMF is stepping up action to make better use of existing special drawing rights, or reserve assets, she said.

After Saturday’s meeting, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France supported extending the debt service suspension until the end of 2021 and that nations were on track to achieve this. to an agreement. He said European countries were continuing to discuss work to establish a digital business tax by the end of the year and a minimum business tax to tackle evasion.

However, the commitments made at Saturday’s meeting may not yet go far enough, according to Jubilee USA Network, a nonprofit group that advocates for debt relief for small economies.

“Given the severity of the current crisis, we were hoping to see more action,” Jubilee’s Eric LeCompte said in a statement.

-With help from Vivian Nereim, Reema Alothman and Matthew Martin.

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India in talks with Sri Lanka over request for debt relief: MEA


India said on Thursday it was in talks with Sri Lanka over its request for a debt repayment deferral.

“The file has progressed and discussions at the technical level are currently underway,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava.



He was responding to a question about the issue during an online press conference.

Sri Lanka is reeling from a major economic crisis and has asked several countries and international donors, including India, for debt relief.

Asked about reports of Chinese envoy to Nepal Hou Yanqi meeting with several leaders in Nepal and whether she was meddling in the country’s political turmoil, Srivastava declined to comment.

I have no comment to make on the internal political situation in Nepal, he said.

Responding to a question on the Enrica Lexie case, Srivastava said the Foreign Ministry was quick to inform the Supreme Court and the government of Kerala of the verdict of an international court on the matter.

In its ruling, the court said two Italian sailors who shot down two Indian fishermen cannot be tried in an Indian court.

He did, however, confirm the conduct of Indian authorities following the 2012 incident.

India has accused two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, aboard the MV Enrica Lexie, an Italian-flagged tanker, of shooting dead the two Indian fishermen who were on a fishing boat off Kerala in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of India.

The incident happened off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012.

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Duped by a “Debt Relief” student loan company? What to do

Dozens of companies charge high fees and claim to help borrowers get student loan forgiveness or debt relief. But if you’re dealing with anyone other than the federal government or a non-profit organization, it’s a scam.

It doesn’t mean you’re stuck. You can end all contact with these companies and apply for federal student loan programs that could reduce your debt or possibly lead to remission through the US Department of Education websites. And these programs are free.

Here’s what to do if you’re involved with a deceptive student loan assistance company:

1. Cut your connection to the company

Call the company to request a refund and terminate your contract, if you have signed one. If you have automatic payments set up, let your bank or credit card issuer know that you no longer allow fees from the “debt relief” company.

Company may not respond or cooperate with your cancellation request. You can stop making payments anyway, says Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Borrower Relief Project at the National Consumer Law Center.

“Since these companies exist on the fringes of legitimacy,” Yu says, “I think borrowers should feel okay to stop making payments.”

However, there is an “outside possibility” that the company could sue you for breach of contract or send your invoice for collection, she adds.

Once you’ve cut off all contact with the company, monitor your personal and financial information for a while, says Suzanne Martindale, an attorney at Consumers Union. Make sure that you are no longer charged and that negative marks do not appear on your credit report.

2. Alert your lender or repairer

If you don’t know who your repairer is, log on to Federal Student Aid website to verify. Your loans are probably private if you don’t see them listed on the government website, but they will show up on your credit report. If you have more than one loan, you may have accounts with multiple service companies.

If the agent at the loan service company you speak with isn’t helpful, ask to speak to their manager, says Robyn Smith, an attorney who works with Yu at NCLC and also at the Legal Aid Foundation in Los Angeles. .

“Go as high as you can,” Smith says.

3. Take back control of your student loan account

If you gave the “debt relief” company access to your student loan account through a power of attorney form, revoke that agreement. To do this, contact your lender or repairer in writing and attach the original agreement if you have it. Send a copy of the letter to the debt relief company.

Smith suggests saying something in the letter to the repairer like: “I notify you that I revoke the consent attached. Effective immediately, please cease all communication regarding my account with [the debt relief company’s name].”

You may need to get the statement notarized if your repairman requires it, adds Yu. Even if it doesn’t, notarizing the statement will help it carry more weight. Make copies of the statement and keep them for your records.

Once you have regained control of your student loan account, resume making loan payments to your federal loan officer or lender if you have stopped.

4. Use existing federal loan assistance

Despite what it might claim, there’s nothing a student “debt relief” company can do that you can’t do for free through the Department of Education or your agent. federal loan. Including:

  • Income Oriented Repayment Planswhich caps your monthly payment at a percentage of your income and cancels your remaining balance after 20 or 25 years.

  • Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs, which can cancel some or all of the student debt of eligible borrowers depending on their employer, occupation, or type of loan. However, the remission is not immediate, as some student debt “relief” outfits may imply.

  • Postponement and patiencewhich offer temporary periods of payment relief, but increase your balance as interest continues to accrue.

Also you can refinance your student loans through a private company if you have good credit and enough income to comfortably pay. However, by doing so, you will forfeit access to the federal loan programs listed above.

5. Seek legitimate professional help

If you’re looking for a professional to discuss your student loan situation with, a certified student loan counselor trained by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a safe option. These counselors work for non-profit credit counseling agencies and provide individual services for free or at nominal costs. You can find an advisor on the NFCC Student Loan Assistance Website.

For more complicated issues, such as default navigation or collector management, it may be a good idea to contact a student loan lawyer. Some not-for-profit legal aid organizations have expertise in student loan matters and can help you for free or at a reduced rate. To research for your local organization and ask if it or another organization can help you.

6. File a complaint

It may feel like shouting into the air, but filing a complaint is a crucial step. Government officials base their investigations of fraudulent companies on consumer complaints. Depositing one also increases the chances of getting your money back.

Finally, consider reaching out to members of Congress to tell your story. Staff members in charge of constituent services may be able to assist.

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TVA offers a $200 million customer credit to relieve COVID-19

This story was updated at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, August 27, 2020, with more information.

For the second year in a row, the Tennessee Valley Authority is reducing the price of its electricity through rebates or credits to its customers after reducing its own debt and spending.

The federal utility said Thursday it will provide a special coronavirus pandemic relief credit of $200 million next year, equal to a 2.5% reduction on its base electricity rates. One year ago, VAT announced its intention to try to keep its electricity rates stable for the next decade and offered a 3.1% rebate to local power companies that signed long-term contracts with the utility.

TVA Chairman Jeff Lyash said Thursday that the credit aims to help communities and businesses recover more quickly from the current crisis. COVID-19[female[feminine pandemic and reflects TVA’s improved performance.

“The continued impact of this pandemic on our communities is unprecedented and creates continued economic uncertainty,” Lyash said. “The TVA team has just done a great job of constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and improve reliability, and they are poised to deliver a year of outstanding performance in fiscal year 2020 despite the challenges presented. by COVID-19[female[feminine.”

The virus forced costly changes to how TVA fueled its nuclear reactors and recovered from storm damage and is expected to cut the agency’s power sales this year by $300 million or more and limit sales again in the coming year.

But Lyash said TVA decided to offer the $200 million credit to distributors, in addition to providing ongoing support for its community assistance program and a special return-to-business credit, due to its better results. than expected this year and its long term. partnerships with most municipalities and electric cooperatives that distribute electricity in the TVA seven-state area.

With lower borrowing costs and debt reducing interest charges and more rainfall this year spurring cheaper hydroelectric generation, TVA has been able to deliver electricity at lower prices than there were. is ten years old while maintaining sufficient reserves to provide the additional credit, Lyash said. Over the past six years, TVA has cut annual operating expenses by more than $800 million through cuts to staff, programs and technology, he said.

TVA reported net income of $652 million in the first nine months of the fiscal year while paying down debt to the lowest level in 30 years, TVA chief financial officer John Thomas said.

The credit for the coming year has been welcomed by local power companies, who will determine how the rebates will be spent to lower prices, offset higher expenses or extend utility cut-off moratoriums passed by the government. most utilities this spring during the worst of the pandemic. slow-down.

Doug Peters, president of the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association — which represents TVA’s 154 distributors — welcomed the TVA credit and flexible regulations on how the money will be spent.

“We commend TVA’s leadership for easing the financial strain this pandemic has placed on TVPPA members by supporting them with the Pandemic Relief Credit,” he said. “We further commend TVA for entrusting the decision-making regarding the use of these funds to local power companies so that they can make decisions based on their unique knowledge of the needs of their business and community. .”

In Chattanooga, EPB used its refund last year to begin pursuing construction of a battery storage or solar farm on the northern edge of its service territory. EPB Chairman David Wade said the new VAT credit underscores the value of America’s largest public service.

“Actions like these set TVA and the public energy model apart by demonstrating a clear and responsive commitment to join local power distributors in putting people and communities first,” Wade said.

The EPB has suspended power cuts for non-payment and waived its late fees since March due to financial hardship caused by the pandemic. EPB matched donations from TVA to also support local efforts to help those injured or threatened with eviction from their homes due to the economic downturn.

“Throughout this time, we have worked with nonprofit and public partners to identify sources of assistance, including special programs that have been put in place to help people cope with the COVID-19 crisis. COVID,” EPB Vice President J. Ed. dit Marston said. “We have also partnered with Centraide and engaged TVA in a campaign to support the United Way Restore Hope fund to provide financial assistance to those impacted by the COVID crisis, many of whom had never asked for help before.

While EPB has suspended power cuts, other TVA distributors have or soon plan to reinstate power cuts for those who do not pay their electricity bills.

A coalition of environmental groups wants TVA to act as a regulator of local distributors to suspend any customer cuts. In a petition delivered to TVA this month, dozens of climate justice organizations called on the agency to impose a moratorium on power cuts in the region and fund debt relief for its clients.

“Faced with a health, environmental and economic crisis unprecedented since the Great Depression, we are asking TVA to return to its original mission of improving the quality of life here in the Tennessee Valley,” said Brianna Knisley, coordinator of the Tennessee campaign. with the voices of Appalachia. “TVA can and should protect vulnerable communities from power outages.”

The petition urges TVA to reallocate its resources to help customers pay their bills and fund a fair economic recovery through clean energy and energy efficiency programs.

“In the midst of a pandemic, when people are unemployed and without basic needs like electricity, food, water and broadband services, TVA has a responsibility to support its customers by establishing a moratorium on closures service provider, confirming its original mission to serve the people of the Tennessee Valley,” said Isabella Killius of Sunrise Tennessee.

Lyash said local power companies, which are governed by locally elected or appointed trustees who are closest to each community and its needs, should have the flexibility to determine how best to spend the $200 million credit. dollars.

In addition to the pandemic relief credit, TVA is making another contribution of $2 million to the Community Relief Fund set up in April. Similar to the initial contribution, these funds will be matched by local power companies and other community groups for the benefit of local organizations that help families and businesses most in need. Earlier this year, similar matching funds eventually provided more than $4.5 million to nearly 300 groups in the region, TVA Vice President Buddy Eller said.

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340.

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AFCC Debt Settlement Market Share, Analysis by Product, Application, End Use, Regional Outlook, Competitive Strategies and Forecast to 2025

AFCC Debt Settlement Market Share, Analysis by Product, Application, End Use, Regional Outlook, Competitive Strategies and Forecast to 2025

The report on AFCC Debt Settlement Market provides a comprehensive overview of the business scenario, with emphasis on the various growth drivers, bottlenecks, challenges, and opportunities defining the growth matrix during the forecast period.

According to the study, the AFCC debt settlement market is expected to register a CAGR of xx% over the period 2020-2025.

It further draws on expert knowledge to analyze various market segments and provide readers with insights into regional outlook and competitive scorecard. The report also explains the impact of COVID-19 on industry trends and suggests action plans to make the most of the situation.

Request a sample copy of this report @ https://www.business-newsupdate.com/request-sample/41958

Market Overview:

Regional range:

  • The business intelligence document divides the AFCC debt settlement market into regions, namely Americas, APAC, Europe, and Middle East & Africa.
  • Factors influencing regional growth and each geography’s revenue contribution to the overall industry assessment are involved.
  • Projections on the growth rate and market share held by various regions over the analysis period are presented.

Product scope:

  • Various products being considered for AFCC debt settlement market research are Credit card debt, student loan debt, medical bills, apartment leases and more.
  • The consumption pattern for each type of product is revealed in the report.
  • Additionally, data related to sales volume, revenue generated, and industry share represented by each product segment are elucidated.

Scope :

  • The range of applications, based on the product offerings of the AFCC Debt Settlement market, is Business and Personal.
  • The product consumption volume and value for each application segment are detailed in the report.
  • It further reveals the market share achieved by each type of application in the past and predicts the same for the coming years.

Competitive hierarchy:

  • The report conducts an in-depth survey of AFCC debt settlement market giants including National Debt Relief, American Debt Solutions, Rescue One Financial, Freedom Debt Relief, Pacific Debt, ClearOne Advantage, Guardian Debt Relief, Accredited Debt Relief, America Debt Resolutions, CuraDebt Systems, Consumer First Financial, CreditAssociates, Americor Financial , Century Support Service, Beyond Finance, Consumer Debt Help Association, and Atlas Debt Relief, which define the company’s competitive dynamics.
  • Basic information such as profiles and product offerings of each company are provided.
  • Figures related to unit price model, sales volume achieved, gross profit and company industry are included.
  • Knowledge regarding areas of operation and distribution channels deployed by industry competitors is disclosed.
  • An update on the latest happenings in the market, such as mergers and acquisitions, collaborations and partnerships, and new launches, is also on display.

Summary of key indicators

  • Competitive Scoreboard: The study documents the business profiles of major players, while focusing on the products offered by these companies, product specifications, production capacity, sales data, gross margin and revenue generated during the the forecast period.
  • Global and Regional Market Research: Dominant trends and projections on the valuation along with growth graph of global and regional market size over the analysis period are enlisted, based on export and import patterns and production trends and of consumption for each specified country and region.
  • Product land: The report brings together different product segments and provides information about their specifications, as well as sales volume and value.
  • Application spectrum: Several applications of the products are mentioned in the report, which further elucidates the market share held by each type of application and their revenue contribution in the subsequent years.
  • Additionally, the report leverages expert opinion to inform the reader on existing market trends, drivers, opportunities, and challenges influencing company sizing, and Porter’s Five Forces Analysis on the competitive landscape.

Customization request on this report @ https://www.business-newsupdate.com/request-for-customization/41958

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Thousands of scammed student loan borrowers have filed for debt relief — the feds haven’t approved any in over a year

Over the past year, the Department of Education has received tens of thousands of applications for student debt relief from borrowers who say they were scammed by their schools.

The agency has not approved any.

That’s according to data obtained from the Department and released Wednesday by the office of Senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees the Department.

Between June 30, 2018 and March 31, 2019, more than 74,000 requests for debt relief poured into the agency.

As of March 31, 2019, the Ministry has received 239,937 requests for debt relief from these borrowers with 179,377 requests pending. As of that date, the agency had approved 47,942, a number that hasn’t budged. since June 30, 2018. The number of refusals has also not increased since the end of June 2018.

But the number of applications received by the Department during this period has steadily increased. Between June 30, 2018 and March 31, 2019, more than 74,000 requests for debt relief poured into the agency.

Murray derided the Department’s inaction on the claims as “shameful,” in a statement. “There is nothing stopping Secretary DeVos from immediately approving the claims except her apparent disdain for borrowers, and I will continue to urge her to provide students who have been cheated or defrauded by predatory for-profit colleges the relief that they are entitled.”

Critics of the Trump administration have derided the Department’s approach to the borrower advocacy process and say it’s part of a larger DeVos-era agency scheme favoring college interests. for profit relative to the borrowers. Earlier this year, the agency repealed a rule developed by the Obama administration that was intended to ensure that graduates of vocational training programs – which are mostly at for-profit colleges – earned enough to repay their loans.

The data is the latest development in a battle over the fate of borrowers who have been scammed by their schools.

The fight over the future of for-profit colleges even reached the Democratic debate stage in Detroit on Tuesday night. In response to a question about why he does not support Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal to write off all student debt, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that if he were to write off the debt, it would “start with for-profit colleges.” that took advantage of people, especially veterans.

“Under President Obama, they were held accountable for their results,” he said. “President Trump, under the direction of a Secretary of Education who, unfortunately, is from this state, removed these rules,” he said. “There is no accountability.”

The data released by Sen. Patty Murray exclusively to MarketWatch is the latest development in a years-long battle over the fate of borrowers who have been scammed by their schools into debt. Under a law, known as the repayment defense, these borrowers have the right to have their federal student debt forgiven.

But the law, which has been on the books since the 1990s, was only widely used in 2015, when former students from the now defunct for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges, organized by activists, started asking for help under the law. This pressure helped convince the Obama administration to create a more formal process that borrowers could use to file claims for relief.

The Department of Education under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tried unsuccessfully to rewrite the rules. The agency and DeVos are also facing a class action lawsuit from borrowers, accusing officials of unlawfully blocking their decision on their claims.

Borrowers describe how their debt has prevented them from buying homes, and even delayed marriage or children.

In nearly 900 affidavits submitted as part of the lawsuit earlier this month, borrowers describe how their debt prevented them from buying homes or cars and delayed major life events, such as marriage or children. . They allege for-profit colleges tricked them into attending and going into debt to pay for it with the promise of a better future. In fact, many say they are worse off than before their participation.

Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the Department, wrote in an emailed statement that ongoing litigation has prevented the agency from adjudicating the claims. The agency was sued last year over a plan to use a formula to determine whether certain borrowers who attended Corinthian colleges and filed borrower defense claims might be eligible for a partial discharge from their loans instead of a complete discharge.

A federal district court judge ruled last year that the Department’s approach violated the Privacy Act and ordered the agency to stop collections on former Corinthian students while legal issues are settled. The government appealed the decision, Hill noted. But with the Department’s process for determining a borrower’s level of harm “held in court,” Hill wrote, the agency cannot move forward with assessing claims.

“The department has a duty to protect students from fraud while safeguarding taxpayer dollars,” she wrote.

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Debt and the Economy – Journal

Most national debt indicators are worrying. Significantly reducing the national debt over the remaining two-and-a-half years of the PTI government appears difficult in the wake of the global economic downturn triggered by Covid-19, domestic political instability and worsening geopolitical challenges. That means the economy, which is already struggling to recover from last year’s 0.4% contraction, could continue to suffer from anemic growth.

This is something that policy makers have apparently understood. After resorting to large net foreign and domestic borrowing during the first two years of the PTI government, they are now also trying to raise financial resources which have little or no impact on the level of debt. national. Attracting diaspora income through both remittances and portfolio investments, privatizing state-owned enterprises (EPs), encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI) and attempting to increase tax and non-tax revenue are efforts centered around this objective.

But the volumes of debt are huge and servicing them is expensive. These efforts also require additional debt relief and support from international creditors in the event of external debt and a cautious use of new borrowing in the event of domestic debt.

The economy grew only 1.9% in 2018-19, the first year of the PTI government, compared to 5.5% in 2017-18, the last year of the PML-N government, shared by the interim configuration put in place. in place to organize the general elections of July 2018. .

Debt servicing cost expected to remain lower than last year due to relatively stable exchange rate and lower interest rates

But even this weak growth of 1.9% came at the cost of a 34.6% year-on-year growth in the country’s debt and total liabilities (external and internal), which rose from 29.88 trillion rupees in 2017-2018 to 40.22tr in 2018. -19.

Such weak growth amid a massive accumulation of national debt betrayed the quality of economic management, especially since it all happened before the emergence of Covid-19. What has been more disappointing is that a sharp increase in the government’s domestic and external debt – and not in other components – contributed strongly to this expansion in total national debt and liabilities. This worsened the economic situation in 2019-20, especially after the pandemic hit Pakistan. (The government’s domestic debt rose to Rs20.73tr in 2018-19 from Rs16.41tr in 2017-18 and the rupee equivalent of its external debt also rose to Rs11.05tr from Rs7.79tr.)

This was bound to increase the total debt service need in 2019-20 and it did. In 2019-20, Pakistan had to devote 55% of its tax revenue to servicing domestic and external debt alone. Even in 2018-19, 47% of tax revenue was spent on this, according to budget documents.

When debt service absorbs the bulk of tax revenue, policy trade-offs become limited and painful. The development agenda cannot be pursued well, unemployment cannot be contained, industrial growth cannot be accelerated, agriculture cannot be sufficiently supported, and the service sector must be left to fend for itself. This all happened in 2018-19 and with heightened intensity in 2019-20 – as the first wave of Covid-19 hit the country in the final four months of the fiscal year.

At the start of 2019-20, the PTI government approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for balance of payments support after more than a year of dithering. The economic discipline imposed by the IMF has helped the government to limit the growth of its external and internal debt.

As a result, the annual growth rate of total external and domestic debt and liabilities fell to 10.8% in 2019-20 from 34.6% in 2018-19. The government’s external debt (less that of the IMF) increased only slightly from Rs 11.05 tr in 2018-19 to Rs 11.82 tr in 2019-20. Even a huge net increase of around Rs 3.1 trillion in domestic debt in 2019-20 was less than its net domestic borrowing of Rs 4.3 trillion in 2018-19.

Although some national debt indicators showed signs of improvement in the first quarter of 2020-2021, it is too early to predict whether the trend will be able to continue throughout the year. A simple thing to remember is this: the growth of domestic debt can be contained if the tax base widens, if sufficient tax revenue is generated and if current expenditure remains under control. An expansion of external debt can be controlled if foreign exchange earnings from exports, remittances and FDI grow quickly and quickly. An expansion of the tax base and increased tax revenue generation seem less likely due to slow economic growth amid the second wave of Covid-19.

Political instability can also weigh heavily on exports and FDI. Remittances to countries of origin may, however, continue to increase for some time, thanks to effective controls on illegal money transfers and incentives for the Pakistani diaspora to use remittances to invest in securities. government debt and housing programs. Overall, the government’s external and domestic borrowing stock will not decline significantly during the current fiscal year.

But the cost of debt service will certainly remain lower than last year due to a relatively stable exchange rate and the decline in interest rates from 13.25% to 7% between mid-March and the end of June 2020.

The rupee had lost 34.2% in value against the dollar in 2018-19 and another 3.1% in 2019-20. This massive depreciation in 2018-19, followed by a further marginal decline in the value of the rupee in 2019-20, significantly increased the cost of servicing external debt compared to the previous two years, namely 2016-17 and 2017-18.

By contrast, lower interest rates kept domestic debt service costs under control in 2019-20 and the first half of 2020-21.

Debt concerns persist and may even worsen if the rupee begins to decline and its full depreciation over the next two quarters becomes significant. Or if interest rates start to rise and hit double digits. But there is no indication that such things can happen during this exercise.

Posted in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, December 14, 2020

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Chinese media welcome PM Imran’s call for debt relief

Pakistan’s envoy to Beijing hopes world leaders will avoid isolationism for good

BEIJING:


Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for a debt relief initiative for heavily indebted developing countries served as a rallying call for the world to unite in the pursuit of mitigating the negative impact of the Covid-19 crisis, China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported Wednesday.

In a video message posted on Twitter over the weekend, Imran called on the international community to launch a debt relief initiative to help developing countries prevent the negative impact on their people as subsequent humanitarian consequence of the pandemic.

Chinese media noted that there was a precarious situation in the South Asia region, not only in Pakistan, but also in India and Bangladesh as well as other developing countries elsewhere in the world.

74 million people in Arab world lack handwashing facilities: UN

These people obviously need food, but unfortunately cannot afford it. Their governments, saddled with heavy debt, may struggle to help everyone on the scale required. “Therein lies the significance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal to the international community,” the report added.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi said in an interview with china.org.cn On Wednesday, international financial institutions, with the coordination of developed countries, were to offer emergency grants and soft loans to cushion the developing country from the ensuing economic crisis.

“The present situation [virus-induced shut down of economic activities]therefore calls for greater international coordination and cooperation within the global community to curb and completely eliminate this threat,” Ambassador Hashmi said.

“Perhaps this crisis, colossal as it is, reaffirms our resolve in multilateralism and gives world leaders the clarity and courage to avoid isolationism for good and renew faith in joint efforts for a shared and prosperous future for all,” she added.

Japan urges citizens to self-isolate as reports warn of 400,000 deaths

“This crisis should be a moment of reflection for us to revisit and revise our previous concepts on transnational health, environment and economic issues and reform them in light of emerging realities for the benefit of all humanity” .

Hashmi said China’s success against the virus was a source of inspiration and hope for all countries battling Covid-19. “China has become the only country in the world that has effectively curbed this disease,” she said.

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Angola cuts oil shipments to China as it pushes for debt relief

LUANDA: Angola has cut the number of oil shipments it will ship to Chinese state-owned enterprises to repay debt to Beijing as it seeks to renegotiate repayment terms to deal with pandemic fallout, officials said three sources familiar with the matter.

Angola said this week it had requested G20 debt relief and was in advanced talks with some oil-importing countries on adjusting financing facilities, but did not expect any further debt review is needed beyond that.

The global economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic pushed Brent oil prices to their lowest levels since the late 1990s and U.S. oil futures into negative territory for the first time in history.

Falling prices have put heavily indebted Angola in a fragile state as it derives a third of state revenue from oil.

By far, its biggest creditor is China. Analysts say Angola has more than $20 billion in bilateral debt, with the lion’s share owed to China. Much of the money was borrowed to build roads, hospitals, houses and railways across the African country.

In addition to its Chinese debt, Luanda secured a $3.7 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund last year and state oil company Sonangol borrowed $2.5 billion from banks between late 2018 and mid-2019. , the IMF said.

A global oil production cut deal led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has compounded Luanda’s woes.

As a member of OPEC, Angola has come under pressure to cut its oil exports from May. The result left the country with fewer and less valuable shipments to divide between paying off its Chinese debt and filling its depleted coffers.

The sources said China’s state-owned Sinochem will receive five shipments in July, up from the usual seven or eight, while Chinese giant Sinopec’s trading arm, called Unipec, will receive none. Unipec usually receives two to three shipments for debt repayment.

Sonangol, the Angolan Ministry of Finance, Sinopec and Sinochem did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that relevant departments are in contact with Angola over its request.

“These oil-backed loans create a stronger interdependency (between lender and borrower) than traditional financing. This cargo diversion tactic is not new as seen elsewhere,” said David Mihalyi, senior economic analyst at the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

Angola is not the only African country heavily indebted to China. The IMF and ratings agency Moody’s have raised concerns about debt levels in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly vis-à-vis China.

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Many countries may need debt restructuring after pandemic fallout: IMF chief economist

FILE PHOTO: International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Gita Gopinath answers questions during the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Washington, U.S., October 18, 2019. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Many countries may need debt restructuring in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist said on Tuesday.

Gita Gopinath told an online event hosted by Oxford University that there was no debt crisis at the moment, but there would be a “much more persistent need for debt relief for the world’s poorest nations” in light of the pandemic.

Given that around 40% of low-income countries were already in debt distress or at high risk of becoming so, with growing numbers, she said there may well be “a need for debt restructuring in many country”.

The comments came a day before the Group of 20 major economies and the Paris Club of official creditors are organizing a high-level conference on debt, capital flows and sustainable finance in the context of the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.

G20 finance ministers, IMF and World Bank leaders and private sector creditors will discuss options for responding to capital outflows from emerging markets, debt challenges and how best to foster strong growth and sustainable.

Gopinath and other international financial experts have said they believe the freeze on debt service payments offered by G20 countries to the poorest countries until the end of the year should be extended.

They have also repeatedly called for increased private sector participation in the G20 debt moratorium.

The World Bank’s new chief economist, Carmen Reinhart, told the online event that the original timeline for the G20 debt initiative should be reviewed and the debt restructuring process should become more fast and faster.

“The main constraint is to make sure everyone is on board, which hasn’t been the case,” she said, noting that private sector involvement “didn’t happen.” .

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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How COVID-19 relief and expense bills will help Delaware

The most direct impact Americans will see from COVID-19 recovery plan signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday evening will be payments of $600, which will be sent in the coming weeks.

And while there was some debate about whether that amount should have been higher, President-elect Joe Biden said any aid approved by Congress in his lame session before his inauguration would only be a “down payment” on additional assistance would offer his administration.

The $600 payouts have gotten the lion’s share of the attention, but plenty of other funding is coming to the first state.

This includes an additional $300 per week for people receiving unemployment benefits through March 2021. Businesses hit hard by the pandemic will be able to apply for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program to continue paying their workers. The small business debt relief program is also being extended. Nationally, more than $8 billion in debt relief has been distributed, with approximately 900 small businesses participating in the initial program.

“This package will provide quick relief to our small businesses, especially those hardest hit by this pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, “Delaware workers who have been laid off through no fault of their go; and to our families struggling to pay rent and put food on the table.

Coons echoed Biden in suggesting more relief should come from the new administration in 2021.

“This may not be the last relief bill,” Coons said, “but it is a solid compromise that will bring relief to Delawares who need it before the holidays.”

The additional help is long overdue, Coons added. “The support we provided through the CARES Act in March had to be extended months ago,” he said. “We’ve expanded SNAP benefits, we’ve expanded help for food banks and for hungry Americans, but there are far too many hungry Americans.”

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Governor signs vet debt relief bill

Above: Governor John Hickenlooper signs the Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program on June 5, 2017, as Dr. Lora Bledsoe, Dr. Mark Stetter, Rep. Joann Ginal, Dr. Sam Romano and Leo look on. Boyle. (Photo provided by Richard Schweigert)

A survey of CSU veterinary graduates reveals that they tend to stay in the West. (Map by CSU DVM Services)

Signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper on June 5, 2017, the Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program paves the way for veterinarians to work in rural communities where large and small animals and their owners need services. professionals.

Like most accomplishments in rural Colorado, the passage of the bill is the result of the hard work of a group of people deeply attached to agriculture. With bipartisan support from Representative Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins) and Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Northeastern Colorado), and contributions from the State Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, Dr Mark Stetter and leaders of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences successfully pushed the bill through the governor’s office.

“Dr. Mark Stetter, Dr. Ashley Stokes and their team have a comprehensive and holistic view of the state that has really inspired people to work together,” said Dr. Sam Romano, Chairman of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association and a 1983 alumnus of the CSU veterinary program. “The folks at CSU are doing a wonderful job putting their efforts where they are, helping people and animals.”

Intern Daniel Jackson and fourth-year veterinary students Jennifer Milner (blue) and Katie Powell (pink) visit Morning Fresh Dairy during their weekly visit to the primary care ward.  Local commercial dairy farms are used as teaching laboratories for 3rd and 4th year veterinary students.  The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences' Outpatient Dairy Service works with commercial, on-farm and hospital dairy farms, providing a comprehensive primary care veterinary service, January 26, 2015.
Jennifer Milner and Katie Powell, veterinary students at Colorado State University, visit Morning Fresh Dairy during their weekly visit to the primary care ward. Local commercial dairy farms are used as teaching laboratories for third and fourth year veterinary students. (Joe Mendoza/CSU Photography)

With more than 34,000 farms on nearly 32 million acres, Colorado agriculture consistently ranks among the state’s top three industries, providing more than 173,000 jobs, contributing more than $40 billion to the state economy every year and fueling the world with nearly $2 billion. in exported products, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

But there is a serious shortage of large animal veterinarians in rural communities. “I hope this loan repayment program will provide students with additional opportunities to ease their debt burden and move forward in helping our agricultural producers meet their veterinary needs,” the state said. Agriculture Commissioner Don Browna third-generation farmer in Yuma, Colorado.

Trusted professionals

Like their counterparts in human medicine, veterinarians are trusted professionals who help bond a community by caring for animals, supporting their owners, and protecting the food supply. “Vets work very closely with doctors, communities rely on them. This bill helps hold the fabric together in rural Colorado and keeps it from fraying even further,” Romano said. “Beef production and agribusiness are important to this state. Meat and milk don’t appear in King Soopers by accident.

Mark Stetter, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, October 26, 2016
Dr. Mark Stetter, Dean, CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Speaking from his experience running his family farm in Sterling, Colorado, Sonnenberg saw the need for veterinary care first hand.

“Rural Colorado and agriculture are highly dependent on veterinarians,” he said. “It takes a special person to practice in rural areas and many choose another option due to financial obligations after university. I can’t wait to see how many students this will inspire to practice in rural communities.

After the governor appoints a board to review applications, veterinary graduates beginning in 2017 can apply for up to $70,000 in student debt relief. Here’s how it works:

  • They must be licensed by an accredited veterinary doctor
    medicine School
  • Currently live in Colorado or at one time lived in
    Colorado for at least 3 years
  • Agree to practice veterinary medicine for up to four years in
    a rural area of ​​the state that is experiencing a shortage of
    veterinarians appointed by the board to participate in
    the program

“One of the things I’ve learned through this process is that young vets’ debt is almost $150,000, and what’s holding them back from working in rural areas is the need to pay that off. debt,” said Ginal, who earned her doctorate. D. in Reproductive Endocrinology from Colorado State. “There are a lot of farmers and ranchers who need vets, and that’s an incentive for those who want to practice in rural Colorado. I am really proud that we passed this bill.

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SEC orders finance companies to extend debt relief to customers

Since the start of the lockdown in March, the government has ordered lenders to extend debt relief to help struggling borrowers during the economic downturn. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

FINANCING COMPANIES, loan companies and microfinance non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are required to implement a one-time 60-day grace period for all loans due within the year.

In a notice dated September 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reminded finance and loan companies and microfinance NGOs to comply with Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan II), which provides a one-time, 60-day grace period for all loans maturing on or before December 31, 2020.

The law, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on September 11, includes a provision to help borrowers who may have difficulty repaying their loans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 60-day grace period will be granted for the repayment of all types of loans, whether single or multiple.

Lenders cannot charge borrowers interest on interest, penalties, fees or other charges during the 60-day period. Lenders are also required to invalidate any waivers that may be signed regarding the implementation of a grace period for Covered Loans.

“The parties may agree to a grace period in excess of 60 days and/or to payment of accrued interest on a staggered basis beyond December 31, 2020,” the SEC said.

Even with debt relief, borrowers can choose to pay accrued interest for the one-time grace period on a staggered basis until the end of the year.

In addition to SEC-supervised lenders, other financial institutions such as banks, quasi-banks, real estate developers, insurance companies, provident companies, in-house finance providers, and asset management companies assets and liabilities are required to implement the 60-day grace period. Government institutions such as the Utilities Assurance System, Social Security System, and Pag-IBIG Fund are also covered.

Since the widespread lockdown began in March, the government has repeatedly ordered debt relief from lenders to help struggling borrowers during the economic downturn.

Some of the lenders that have implemented loan repayment grace periods are BDO Unibank, Inc.; Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.; Bank of the Philippine Islands; Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.; UnionBank of the Philippines; East West Banking Corp.; China Banking Corp.; CIMB Bank Philippines; and the Philippine Savings Bank. — Denise A. Valdez

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US Treasury to push COVID stimulus, Chinese debt attendance at IMF meeting – official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury will urge countries to keep the coronavirus stimulus going at annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank next week and will urge China to participate fully in debt relief for poor countries , said a senior Treasury official.

Brent McIntosh, general counsel, U.S. Department of the Treasury, speaks at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 29, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files

In a video interview recorded Tuesday and released Friday, Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs Brent McIntosh said a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depended on continued political support.

“We can’t declare victory at this point, we have to keep pushing for reactive measures,” McIntosh said. here Mark Sobel, US Chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, a London-based think tank. “So I think our first message at the meetings will be that countries should not withdraw their support prematurely.”

McIntosh said in Tuesday’s interview that he hopes U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi can reach an agreement on a new U.S. coronavirus aid package.

Finance officials from the 189 IMF and World Bank member countries will meet virtually next week to discuss the global response to the pandemic and prospects for economic recovery. They will also try to negotiate new measures to strengthen debt relief in order to avoid default crises in poor and highly indebted countries.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said $12 trillion in fiscal stimulus, along with massive monetary easing, made the outlook “less dire” than in June, but the global economy is still facing a difficult exit from a pandemic-induced recession.

CHINA’S DEBT RELIEF

McIntosh said he would pressure Chinese officials to “fully, faithfully and transparently respect” the G20 freeze on official bilateral debt service for the world’s poorest countries implemented this year. .

“China is the biggest bilateral lender here. And so what we need to see from official bilateral lenders is transparency, not imposing non-disclosure agreements, not using secured funding.

He said China should adhere to mutually agreed definitions of official bilateral creditors to include any entity “working at the request of the government”, including government ministries, development finance institutions and credit agencies. export, among others.

McIntosh said the Trump administration still opposes a blanket allocation of new IMF special drawing rights — a move akin to “printing” hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign exchange reserves for all members — because it is not a “targeted or temporary” measure.

But he said the Treasury was encouraging wealthier countries to contribute unused SDRs to an IMF fund to help poorer countries. The Treasury is working with the White House Office of Management and Budget to determine what U.S. assistance package might be offered in this area, he said.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Andrea Ricci and David Gregorio

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Credit card debt and the COVID-19 pandemic Pushing BC

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sands & Associates, British Columbia’s largest licensed insolvency trustee firm serving individuals and small businesses, today released results from the 2020 BC Consumer Debt Study. This unique annual study surveyed more than 1,800 consumers across the province who have declared bankruptcy or consolidated their debts through a consumer proposal.

In addition to examining the causes of debt and the often serious repercussions for British Columbians struggling with debt, the 2020 BC Consumer Debt Study found that:

  • More than 55% of BC residents surveyed who eventually consolidated their debts with a consumer proposal or filed bankruptcy for debt relief said credit card debt was the main type of debt they had – well ahead of other types of debt such as lines of credit (11%) and tax debt (10%).
  • the The COVID-19 pandemic was a contributing factor for more than half (54%) of plan members who have filed for insolvency since BC’s major lockdown in March 2020. 58% of these consumers noted that the pandemic has caused a loss of income, making unmanageable pre-existing debts.

Other notable findings from the 2020 BC Consumer Debt Study include:

  • Debt problems may disproportionately impact BC renterswith less than 6% of respondents describing their housing situation as “owner”.
  • More … than two-thirds (66%) of people worried about meeting their basic needs before formally settling their debt.
  • Despite the severe repercussions of uncontrollable debt, 95% of participants did not immediately seek professional help.

The complete and detailed study report and infographic of the main results can be viewed here.

PDFs are available here: http://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/165d78e8-278d-4b73-a667-51bc8ee9f440

http://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/3a00653f-9727-4034-94ac-0e60e407e402

Perhaps one of the most important insights uncovered in the 2020 British Columbia Consumer Debt Study highlights some alarming realities for consumers in debt. Some critical highlights include:

  • More than 3 in 4 respondents said their debt-related stress had led to anxiety or depression.
  • About 1 in 6 people said the stress of debt caused them to have suicidal thoughts.
  • More than 3 in 5 participants said “overwhelming stress” was the indicator of how they knew their debts were a problem.
  • More than two-thirds of study participants said their self-esteem had suffered because of their debt, and 65% said their health had suffered.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents indicated that their relationships with family and others were negatively affected by being in debt.

According to Sands & Associates Senior Vice President and Licensed Insolvency Trustee Blair Mantin, “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit some already vulnerable consumers like a freight train. Although payment deferrals and income replacements like CERB mitigated the initial impact, it was surprising to learn that the pandemic was a factor in more than half of the insolvencies filed since March 2020. Unfortunately, one should not not much to push people into financial crisis where they can no longer repay their debts, or into situations where they feel they have to choose between paying their debt or meeting basic living expenses. As the deferrals come to an end and government income replacements are made more restrictive, we expect to see a wave of consumers who are barely hanging on now take the necessary step to restructure their debts in 2021.”

“Too often people focus on the numbers and not enough on the issues that cause and accompany debt. We want consumers to know they have support, where qualified solutions are, and most importantly, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Highlighting the emotional and psychological impacts of debt, he notes:

“This study is in its eighth year, and every year we hear that people simply didn’t know what their options were – or where or how to get help without fear of judgment or shame. Debt still brings a lot of shame and confusion for consumers. If a friend came to you and told you that he was suffering from anxiety and depression, that he was having trouble paying a credit card he used to make ends meet, or because his partner or his child was sick, or that he had lost his job, would you react? with judgment or criticism? No of course not.

Normalizing the conversation around debt and its impacts is essential here. Accepted silence allows negative self-talk to overwhelm people, and on top of that, confusion allows noise from the unregulated debt industry to clutter access to legitimate legal debt solutions. We have to keep trying to get the message out, we have to do a lot better for British Columbians.

He urges consumers, “Don’t wait until you’re constantly in debt and anxious about your financial situation to seek advice. I really encourage everyone to explore their legal debt options with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee – and above all know that you are not alone.

Click here to read the full report of the 2020 British Columbia Consumer Debt Study in PDF format.

PDFs are available here: http://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/165d78e8-278d-4b73-a667-51bc8ee9f440

http://ml.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/3a00653f-9727-4034-94ac-0e60e407e402

Sands & Associates is British Columbia’s largest licensed insolvency trustee firm focused exclusively on debt relief services for individuals and small businesses. A multi-year Consumer Choice Award recipient and industry leader, Sands & Associates takes a caring and caring approach to debt relief services, with a focus on improving the knowledge and personal empowerment of consumers.

Sands & Associates’ Annual studies of consumer debt in British Columbia aim to provide insight into the financial challenges faced by people across the province and highlight the human elements of a debt problem, which are too often overshadowed by numbers and statistics. The annual studies continue to aim to dismantle misconceptions of “who has a debt problem” and work to de-stigmatize conversations about debt and financial literacy.

Blair Mantin, Licensed Insolvency Trustee
778-735-0498
[email protected]

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Pennsylvania is sitting on billions in coronavirus relief money. What is the delay? PA projector

PA projector is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and PennLive/Patriot-News. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter.

Update, May 28: On Thursday, lawmakers approved the use of $2.6 billion in discretionary federal stimulus dollars for a variety of purposes, including providing relief to hard-hit counties and long-term care facilities. Read more.

HARRISBURG — After enduring more than two months of the coronavirus pandemic and with state revenues continuing to fall, Pennsylvania has yet to spend $3.9 billion in discretionary federal stimulus dollars intended to help the relief effort.

The kitty is by far the largest available to the state and the most valuable. And while it currently cannot be used to offset lost revenue – which is expected to reach $5 billion by next June – there is hope in some corners that the rules could change.

The second unknown is whether Congress and President Donald Trump will agree on another stimulus package that would provide direct cash assistance to state budgets, which could change how Pennsylvania chooses to spend the round of current cash.

Those unknowns could make it beneficial for state officials to take their time allocating the money, but some Democratic lawmakers are fussing to move faster. That includes Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.), who wants to use $550 million to small business grants.

“Money sat in the Pennsylvania account for six weeks,” he said in a statement. “The question is: why are we waiting?

The funding was provided through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, a $2 trillion package hastily written by Congress with money for small businesses, workers recently unemployed and industries affected by the pandemic.

The act created a $150 billion coronavirus relief fund for states and localities “to address unforeseen financial needs and risks created by the COVID-19 public health emergency,” according to the U.S. Treasury. . Of that amount, $4.9 billion was for Pennsylvania, with $1 billion going directly to the seven largest counties in the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf has the power to decide how the remaining $3.9 billion is spent, but he has pledged to work with the legislature, and there has been some movement.

The State House and Senate are proposing separate versions of the legislation to harness the cash for the first time, largely to provide millions of dollars in relief to hard-hit nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in across the state.

On Wednesday, nearly 15,000 nursing home residents fell ill with the virus and more than 3,000 died. State officials have announced plans to increase testing at these nursing homes, but some facilities have backed down, saying they need more cash assistance.

The Senate bill would earmark $538 million for frontline industries and workers, with the bulk — $507 million — going to long-term care facilities through the Department of Human Services. Fire companies would also receive $26 million in funding and first responders would receive $4 million.

The measure only specifies that funds should be used for coronavirus-related expenses, although there is no language requiring the Department of Social Services or recipients to report how they were spent.

A House version, developed by Chairman Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) in consultation with UPMC and health care experts in Pittsburgh, would spend $500 million to create regional health collaborations and entrust centers medical academics the responsibility of assisting long-term care. facilities.

Funding would be allocated to each facility based on their proposal, which would outline how supplies, staff, testing and protective equipment would be provided to nursing homes in need of assistance, with an emphasis on increased testing and infection control.

The Department of Social Services would be responsible for implementing the plan. Turzai’s bill includes an additional $767 million in CARES dollars for the department to distribute to long-term care facilities and other providers, bringing the total price to $1.3 billion.

Turzai said academic medical institutions are the only entities with the expertise to intervene.

“They should have consulted with these experts early on,” he said of the state. From now on, “the legislator must take the lead, and we are doing it”.

The only lawmaker to oppose the House bill, Rep. Pam DeLissio (D., Phila.), said on the floor last week that the legislation doesn’t provide enough accountability for how funds can be spent – ​​like capping how much can be used for administrative salaries.

“With this kind of large, meaningful and substantial resources, I would like to see those resources applied in the most effective way possible,” she said. “Unfortunately, I will be a ‘no’. And if anyone doubts my passion for this sector, they would be grossly mistaken.

Mike Straub, spokesman for House Republicans, said he disagreed that the bill is weak on accountability.

“The [Department of] Social services would collect proposals from the collaborations on how best to effectively support COVID-19 preparedness and response in facilities, improve quality of care, and expand testing for facility staff and residents. long-term care,” Straub said. “Employees are also required to perform daily facility reviews.”

In one report last weekthe U.S. Department of the Interior has warned that “accurate and timely review of performance and financial reports” will be key to keeping CARES Act money in check.

“Awards made as part of an emergency response are riskier than normal because they are awarded quickly and often without competition, and have a higher purchase threshold than other acquisitions,” officials wrote. the agency.

Lyndsay Kensinger, spokeswoman for Wolf, said the governor supports the Senate bill in its current form, but not the House legislation.

What Wolf and the legislature will do with the other discretionary funds remains to be seen. The General Assembly is expected to adopt a short-term budget this week that will fund the government and its services for the next five months. House Republicans say it will buy time to get a clearer picture of the strain on Pennsylvania’s finances from the state’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

It could also buy time for more clarity on how the stimulus money can be spent and what more could come from the federal government.

Right now, the u.s. treasury says none of the discretionary CARES dollars can replace state or local tax revenue that has been lost due to the pandemic, although the funds can be used to pay workers who are “essentially dedicated” to the coronavirus response.

Some federal legislators, including members of the Pennsylvania Republican delegation, are to push to allow money to be spent on lost revenue.

Meanwhile, state Senate Democrats have stepped up pressure to start spending the discretionary dollars. Previously, the caucus had published a list priorities for the CARES Act funding appropriation, with most of the money going towards housing assistance, student debt relief, aid for veterans and schools.

In addition to discretionary funds, state agencies also received $2.5 billion in earmarked federal dollars, according to a breakdown provided by the Wolf administration.

The Department of Health, the agency at the center of the state’s response, received $72.8 million for several purposes, including epidemiology and laboratory surveillance and response. The Department of Education received $523.8 million to relieve schools, while the State Department received $14 million to cushion costs related to the 2020 election.

So far, $653.6 million has been appropriated or committed by state agencies or offices.

In total, the federal government injected $78 billion into the state’s economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the Independent Fiscal Office. That number includes forgivable loans given to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program and $1,200 stimulus checks sent directly to residents.

Rebecca Moss of Spotlight PA contributed to this article.

100% ESSENTIAL: PA projector based on funding from foundations and readers like you who are committed to responsible journalism that produces results. If you enjoy these reports, please make a gift today to spotlightpa.org/donate.

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Global debt on the rise, Africa hardest hit | News | DW

The “Debt Report 2019”, presented on Wednesday in Berlin by Jubilee Germany, paints a bleak picture of global debt. The organization, which is made up of civic and religious groups, is engaged in efforts to end the problem.

The report argues that low interest rates and cheap credit are pushing poorer countries to borrow beyond their means, trapping them in a debt trap from which they can never escape.

Read more: Global Wealth Report: The Rich Are Getting Richer Again

Of the 154 countries analyzed by Jubilee, 122 are seriously indebted, three more than in 2017.

The organization called for debt moratoriums and even debt relief for the most indebted countries, as well as an international bankruptcy plan. In addition, he calls for a public register listing the debt of each country, its creditors and the cost of servicing this debt.

Speaking in Berlin, Klaus Schilder of the Catholic aid organization Misereor said “the situation is really dire”.

The tragic example of Mozambique

Schilder used Mozambique as an example of what can happen to debt-burdened countries in the event of a disaster. Mozambique was hit by a cyclone following rising waters in mid-March, but due to its dire financial situation, it does not have sufficient funds to help the 1.85 million people affected by the devastation.

Asian countries such as Mongolia and Bhutan and some Middle Eastern countries such as Bahrain and Lebanon are heavily indebted, but the report says Africa is the continent hardest hit by the crisis.

Almost all African countries are heavily indebted, with the report classifying the situation in several countries as critical or very critical.

Angola, Gambia, Eritrea, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan are in such dire straits that they have simply stopped paying their debts.

Although corruption is one of the causes of indebtedness, the report points directly to predatory lending practices.

Read more: Africa’s debt crises are not the fault of creditors alone

“China is not the bad guy”

Although China often gets a bad rap for creating debt traps when funding infrastructure projects, Jubilee has come to Beijing’s defense.

From 2000 to 2017, China extended some 143 billion euros ($161 billion) in credit to African nations and businesses, but Jubilee’s Jürgen Kaiser said, “China is not the bad guy.” He also noted that China had canceled large debts in the past.

The report made it clear that the much larger problem of predatory lending was posed by institutions such as the World Bank or European development funds.

“Initiatives like the ‘Compact with Africa’, created while Germany held the G-20 presidency, can also pose a very high debt risk depending on the funding model used,” according to Klaus Schilder of Misereor.

The German government is currently planning a new €1 billion African investment fund.

Ultimately, Schilder said, it is citizens who suffer when countries run into debt: “When a large portion of a country’s budget is spent servicing debt, it becomes impossible for governments to govern. – and they cannot allocate sufficient funds to sectors like health and education.”

Daniel Pelz contributed to this story.

Every evening at 6:30 p.m. UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s news and quality journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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Argentina announces debt restructuring agreement with its creditors

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement with its major creditors to restructure $65 billion in foreign debt, offering some relief to a country dogged by recession long before the pandemic hit. .

The agreement will allow creditor groups “to support Argentina’s debt restructuring proposal and grant Argentina significant debt relief,” the economy ministry said in a statement. He said certain payment dates would change without increasing the total amount of principal and interest payable “while enhancing the value of the proposal to the creditor community,” according to the statement.

The reported deal follows seven months of talks and shifting timelines, and coincided with another long period of economic misery in Argentina, where unemployment and inflation have been stubbornly high and the peso has been falling for decades. years. The pandemic made matters worse, as Argentina imposed a lockdown that helped curb the spread of the novel coronavirus but crippled large sectors of the economy.

“We solved an impossible debt during the worst economic crisis in living memory and in the midst of a pandemic,” said President Alberto Fernández.

Argentina has also been involved in talks with the International Monetary Fund over the restructuring of $44 billion in debt owed to the lender. The deal Argentina announced on Tuesday was seen by analysts as a welcome step forward that could pave the way for progress with the IMF, even though Argentina’s economic fortunes look fragile in the long term.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, praised Argentinian officials for reaching an agreement “in principle” on the national debt.

“A very important step. Let’s expect a successful conclusion for the benefit of all,” she said on Twitter.

“Today’s sovereign debt restructuring agreement between the Argentine government and private creditors allays fears of another debilitating legal waste, similar to what followed the country’s default in 2001,” he said. said Capital Economics in an analysis.

“However, we doubt that the agreement will be sufficient to ensure the sustainability of Argentina’s public debt in the medium and long term,” the London-based consultancy said.

Fernández won elections last year, capitalizing on discontent over former leader Mauricio Macri’s handling of the economy. Macri was determined to impose fiscal discipline and revive the fickle economy, but conditions deteriorated further and he ended up turning to the IMF for a record financing deal.

Opponents had linked Fernández to the left-wing populism past of his vice president and former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (the two are unrelated), although her tenure has so far been dominated by efforts to avoid a default. and reach an agreement with creditors.

The agreement with the groups of creditors that was announced on Tuesday changes the payment dates for the new bonds to January 9 and July 9, 2021, instead of March 4 and September 4 of the same year as previously proposed, according to the ministry of l ‘Economy. These bonds “will begin to amortize in January 2025 and mature in July 2029,” its statement said.

Argentina will also modify certain legal clauses in the new bond documentation to respond to proposals from creditors “which aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the contractual framework as a basis for the resolution of sovereign debt restructurings”, the ministry said.

Creditors have until August 24 to formally accept the deal, the ministry said, extending the deadline from its previous expiration date on Tuesday.

A Citi analysis noted that creditor groups had yet to issue a statement backing Argentina’s changed terms, but said the latest economic terms from both parties appeared close. He noted that Argentine bonds soared on news of the deal.

“With this uncertainty removed and potential engagement with the IMF, we believe further upside is likely in the coming weeks,” Citi said. He added that local assets are likely to “temporarily benefit” from the announcement.

___

Torchia reported in Mexico.

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Why Student Debt Will Continue to Rise Despite Loan Forgiveness Programs Proposed by Lawmakers in Congress

A graduate student wears a silver lei, a necklace made of US dollar bills, during Pasadena City College’s graduation ceremony on June 14, 2019, in Pasadena, California. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

  • US lawmakers are debating student debt relief proposals, seeking help for people struggling with loans.

  • But the proposals on the table right now aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution, experts say.

  • The problem is a cycle of student loan accumulation and little education about how that debt works.

  • Visit Insider’s Business section for more stories.

It’s a familiar sight every year: a sea of ​​future college graduates, seated in their caps and gowns, with families and friends watching proudly as they parade, one by one, onto the stage to receive their awards. hard earned. degrees.

But for many of the 35 million student borrowers in the United States, the celebration is short-lived. Months after college, their debts become due and payable, and for some this will be a heavy burden.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has come under immense pressure to aggressively tackle the student loan crisis.

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer announced in February a plan to eliminate up to $50,000 in student loans per borrower. But Biden rejected him.

“I’m not going to make that happen,” he said. “I’m ready to write off $10,000 in debt, but not $50,” he said. “I don’t think I have the power to do that.”

Student debt relief is supported by all parties. According to a national survey conducted by the Harris Poll in December, 55% of Americans are in favor of the total cancellation of student loans. And about 64% of respondents said they were in favor of writing off a fixed amount, like $10,000.

Education debt has been rising steadily for about a decade, experts told Insider. It also held people back.

“Students who graduate with debt may postpone important life milestones such as buying a car, owning a home, getting married, or entering certain low-paying professions like teaching. or social work”, a 2006 report of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities says.

The problem persists and only escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered businesses across the United States and eliminated millions of jobs over the past year.

“Former students have been unable to get out of debt,” said Andrew Pentis, Certified Student Loan Counselor at Student Loan Hero by LendingTree. “So it grows with interest, sometimes multiplying over the years, even decades.”

Bad education on the dangers of debt

Too often, first-generation American families who review college and university financial aid programs fail to realize that the loans they see offered must be repaid with interest.

Other times, families view student loans as “good debt.” They see it as “the price of investing in one’s future, sometimes graduating from a prestigious but more expensive school in order to move up the social ladder,” Pentis said.

The government also doesn’t do enough to explain its federal student loan options. “A large cohort of borrowers leave school without fully understanding their debt burden or their options for paying it off,” Pentis said. “The government needs to take a more direct role in educating students on how to avoid federal student loans, not just offering them without explanation.”

High schools also tend to gloss over the subject, he said.

“The family who are determined to pay six figures to send their child to the prestigious university,” he said, “may not have considered spending two years at a community college before moving on to this best four-year school could reduce his costs and borrowing significantly.”

Student debt is rising because college education is an industry in the United States, experts tell Insider.

“Higher education operates like a free market,” said Chris Mullin, strategic director of data and measurement at the Lumina Foundation, an organization committed to expanding access to higher education.

“As a result,” Mullins said, “the cost a student pays can be set at what the market will bear.”

student

Peter Cade/Getty Images

The cost of schooling depends on several factors

College tuition fees are not federally regulated, and there are distinctions between how private and public universities set them, which directly affects how much students and their families will pay. Private university tuition fees are decided by the institutions themselves, student debt experts told Insider.

“Private schools obviously have more leeway when it comes to setting tuition and fees,” Pentis said.

This is one of the reasons why private institutions like New York University set much higher “sticker prices” on their tuition than public colleges. The price displayed is the cost of tuition a student can expect to pay before grants, loans, and other types of financial aid kick in, which means not everyone not pay the full amount or the same amount for higher education.

And because private institutions have more say in setting tuition fees, the underlying decision-making process varies from institution to institution. This can cause differences between the listed price and the net tuition price, with the net price being what a student ultimately pays for their education after financial aid is applied.

Donna Desrochers, senior researcher for the American Research Institutes Education Program, says higher-cost private universities may simply set these prices in an effort to subsidize tuition for students receiving financial aid.

“It is possible that [for] NYU, or any other school, the higher price takes some of those full-salary dollars from full-salary students and tries to reallocate them to provide aid to other students,” Desrochers said.

Meanwhile, public university tuition, which is generally more affordable, is set by the states.

“Maybe they have a lower sticker price, and maybe they don’t reallocate as much aid to students,” Desrochers said.

Thumbnail prices are a type of ‘complex marketing’, says Desrochers

“It’s kind of like an airline, isn’t it? And people compare it to that, sometimes. You pay different prices for different seats, depending on when you bought it. And so, it’s pretty similar,” she said. “They try to attract the class they want.”

Sticker prices also help institutions maintain operating costs, Desrochers said. Public colleges benefit from rising sticker prices, especially when states contribute less money to higher education budgets.

“It pays less for the establishment,” Desrochers explained. “It actually ends up shifting those costs onto the students.” Due to the recession caused by the coronavirus, Desrochers expects states to invest less in higher education, which will cause institutions to pass these costs on to students instead of trying to minimize their expenses.

“We see it every time after a recession,” she said.

A good portion of students do not pay the full sticker price for tuition. According to a National Association of College and University Business Officers studytuition fees were reduced by an average of 46.3% for all undergraduate students from 2018 to 2019.

This means that, overall, the institutions are “making substantial grants,” said Mullin, director of strategy for the Lumina Foundation.

Student debt relief measures are still needed

Collectively, student borrowers in the United States owe more than $1.7 trillion. Billion with a T. So the conversations about how to deal with this debt will continue.

They will go a long way to helping borrowers “who don’t have much luck ending their debt on their own,” Pentis said.

But no relief measures will tackle the source of the problem: the newest student loans.

Unless students and their family members recognize the dangers of racking up large amounts of debt at high interest rates, the upward trend in student debt will continue, experts warn.

Although tuition is not a federal decision, the government has two levers to pull to encourage colleges to change tuition rates, Mullin said.

The government can change the amount of money it makes available to a single student or change who is eligible for financial aid. This way, students will have fewer restrictions like part-time or full-time status to receive federal aid. Schools could then give greater aid to students, Mullin said.

Additionally, the government may “provide consumer information” for the purpose of disclosing data and providing benchmarks to help students make informed decisions about their college education.

“He can inform the public by effectively placing a warning on institutions, like the United States Surgeon General’s warning on a cigarette pack,” Mullin said.

“This type of ‘warning’ can take the form of a requirement, for example, that institutions make public the results of their programs in the labor market,” he said, effectively showing students the type return on investment they can expect after graduating from college.

Read the original article at Business Intern

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AFCC Debt Settlement Market Segmentation, Analysis by Recent Trends, Development and Growth by Regions to 2025



the AFCC Debt Settlement Market The research report offers a holistic view of key trends and aspects positively and negatively impacting the growth of this vertical, to help stakeholders make informed decisions. Also, it provides figures related to the future growth of this field by comparing the past and current business scenario. Additionally, the document contains a description of the shares and size of the market and its segments, while exploring the lucrative prospects that promise success in the coming years.

According to analysts, the AFCC debt settlement market is expected to gain momentum during the period 2020-2025, registering a CAGR of XX throughout.

Impact of Covid-19

Request a sample copy of this report @ https://justpositivity.com/request-sample/4912

The Covid-19 epidemic in December 2019, which took over the whole world in 2020, left several economies in a dire state. With the WHO issuing a public health emergency and more than 40 countries declaring states of emergency, industries including the AFCC debt settlement market face a plethora of challenges. Travel bans and quarantines, cessation of indoor/outdoor activities, temporary halt in business operations, fluctuations in supply and demand, stock market volatility, decline in business insurance and many uncertainties have a negative impact on business dynamics.

Additionally, the Business Intelligence report highlights the implications of COVID-19 on the industry, elaborating on the challenges faced by businesses such as supply and demand flows, management costs and digitization of operations. In this context, he offers solutions that will guarantee profits in the years to come.

  • COVID-19 footprint on industry compensation.
  • Estimated growth rate of the market and submarkets.
  • Main market trends.
  • Opportunities for growth.
  • Positives and negatives of indirect and direct sales channels.
  • Main dealers, traders and suppliers.

AFCC Debt Settlement Market Segments Covered in the Report:

Regional bifurcation:

  • North America (United States, Canada and Mexico)
  • Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia, Italy and Rest of Europe)
  • Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India, Southeast Asia and Australia)
  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and rest of South America)
  • Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, South Africa and Rest of Middle East and Africa)
  • Inspection of each regional market at the national level.
  • Total income of each area.
  • Market share captured by each geography.
  • Estimates of the growth rate of each regional market over the forecast period.

Type of product : Credit card debt, student loan debt, medical bill, apartment leases and more

  • Market share held, revenue and sales of each product type.
  • Price model of each product category.

Application spectrum: Business and Personal

  • Overall revenue and sales generated by each type of application.
  • Product pricing based on application spectrum.

Competitive Dashboard: National Debt Relief, Guardian Debt Relief, Freedom Debt Relief, Rescue One Financial, CuraDebt Systems, ClearOne Advantage, America Debt Solutions, Accredited Debt Relief, Pacific Debt, America Debt Resolutions, Consumer Debt Help Association, Americor Financial , Consumer First Financial, Century Helpline, Atlas Debt Relief, CreditAssociates and Beyond Finance

  • Products and services offered by the main players in the industry.
  • Manufacturing facilities of major competitors in areas served.
  • Summative revenue, price patterns, market share, gross margins and total sales of listed companies.
  • SWOT analysis of top players.
  • New and emerging players in the industry.
  • Detailed information about popular trading strategies, market concentration rate and marketability rate.

Key indicators analyzed

  • Global and regional market analysis: The report details the current global and regional market status and outlook for 2020-2025. It does this through a top-down assessment of the trade landscape in each region and country with respect to consumption, production, import and export, sales volume, and revenue forecast.
  • Product Type Analysis: The report hosts a granular assessment of the majority of product types in the AFCC Debt Settlement market, including product specifications by each key player, volume, as well as sales in terms of volume and value (Mn USD).
  • Application type analysis: Major application segments are covered along with their respective market size, CAGR, and forecast.
  • Market Players and Competitor Analysis: Major players are examined based on their business profiles, specifications, production/sales capacity, price, revenue, sales and gross margin over the period 2015-2025 by product types .
  • Market trends: Key industry trends, including continued innovations and increasing competition, are comprehensively reviewed.
  • Drivers and opportunities: Identification of growing demands and new technologies.
  • Porter’s Five Forces Analysis: The level of competition is assessed on the basis of five fundamental forces: the threat of substitute products or services, the bargaining power of suppliers, the bargaining power of buyers, the threats of new entrants and the existing rivalry in the industry. .

Customization request on this report @ https://justpositivity.com/request-for-customization/4912

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Developing countries need debt relief in virus fight, says WHO | Coronavirus pandemic

The World Health Organization says it supports debt relief for developing countries with the IMF and World Bank.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed deep concern over the rapid escalation and global spread of COVID-19 cases of the novel coronavirus, which has now reached 205 countries and territories.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday his agency, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported debt relief to help developing countries cope with the social and economics of the pandemic.

Tedros hailed India’s $22.6 billion economic stimulus package – announced after a 21-day lockdown imposed last week – to provide free food rations to 800 million poor people, cash transfers to 204 million poor women and free cooking gas to 80 million households for the next three months.

“Many developing countries will struggle to implement social protection programs of this nature,” Tedros said during a virtual press conference at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva.

“For these countries, debt relief is essential to enable them to take care of their people and avoid economic collapse. This is a call from the WHO, the World Bank and the IMF – debt relief for developing countries,” he said.

Corn debt-relief the processes are long, Tedros said.

“Over the past five weeks there has been near exponential growth in the number of new cases and the number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week,” he said.

“In the next few days, we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths worldwide,” he added.

China, where the coronavirus outbreak first emerged in December, reported a decline in new infections on Wednesday and revealed the number of asymptomatic cases for the first time, which could complicate reading trends in the epidemic.

Asked about the distinction, Dr Maria ver Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist who was part of an international team that visited China in February, said the WHO definition includes laboratory-confirmed cases” regardless of the development of symptoms.

“From the data that we’ve seen from China in particular, we know that individuals who are identified, who are listed as asymptomatic, about 75% of them actually develop symptoms,” he said. she said, describing them as having been in a “pre-symptomatic phase.” The novel coronavirus causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.

The outbreak continues to be driven by people showing signs of illness, including fever and cough, but it is important that the WHO captures this “full spectrum of illness”, she said. added.

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Debt relief improves psychological and cognitive functions, enabling better decision-making

While many poor people are burdened with debt, helping them financially is controversial because their debts are often thought to be the result of bad habits.

A new study from the Center for Social Services Research (SSR) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) demonstrates that reducing the number of debt accounts reduces the mental burden of the poor, thereby improving psychological and cognitive performance. This allows for better decision making. Therefore, poverty interventions must be structured to improve psychological and cognitive functioning in addition to meeting the financial needs of the poor.

The study was co-authored by researchers from NUS and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). A field study was conducted between January 2015 and August 2017 by Dr Ong Qiyan and Associate Professor Irene Ng from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at NUS, in collaboration with Associate Professor Walter Theseira from SUSS School of Business. The research results have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ease the debt burden of low-income people

Dr Ong explained: “One of the challenges of poverty reduction policies is the fundamental belief that the poor are indebted because of their personal failures. According to this view, those trapped in poverty are believed to lack desirable qualities such as motivation and talent that most people in Singapore possess and value. However, our study shows that because debt impairs psychological functioning and decision-making, it would be extremely difficult for even motivated and talented people to escape poverty. Instead, the poor must either have exceptional qualities or be exceptionally lucky to rise out of poverty. It’s hard to be poor, harder than we thought.

The study looked at 196 chronically indebted low-income people who benefited from the Getting Out of Debt (GOOD) program run by the Singapore-based charity Methodist Welfare Services. It is a one-time debt relief program for households with a monthly per capita income of less than S$1,500 and who had chronically outstanding debt for at least six months. These debts included mortgage or rental, utilities, municipal taxes, telecommunications bills and hire purchase debts. Prior to debt relief, the average per capita monthly household income of participants was S$364.

The research team designed a comprehensive household financial survey that measures participants’ anxiety and cognitive functioning as well as financial decision-making. The survey was conducted before participants received debt relief and three months after debt relief.

Positive effects of debt relief

The study, which is the first of its kind, found that participants experienced less anxiety and improved cognitive functioning, and were able to make better financial decisions three months after receiving debt relief. Between two participants receiving the same amount of debt relief, the participant with more debt accounts eliminated showed more psychological and cognitive improvements.

These results confirm that chronic indebtedness impairs psychological functioning and decision-making. The findings also imply that people view each debt as a separate “mental account” and being “in the red” in many debt accounts is psychologically painful. Thus, thinking about these stories consumes mental resources, increases anxiety and deteriorates cognitive performance. This psychological impact can prevent the poor from making the right decisions to get out of poverty, further contributing to the poverty trap.

Professor Assoc Theseira pointed out that there are differences in the way the poor and the non-poor manage their debts and that the poor need more help. He said: “Although our study is based on the poor, many non-poor Singaporeans also have debt. Why are some people able to easily manage their debts, while others find them stressful and taxing? difference is that the non-poor have the financial resources to manage their debts conveniently and cheaply. We do not hesitate to consolidate our bills on a credit card and pay them automatically. We know that we have enough savings to be able to afford an unexpected expense or the occasional splurge. So we have a lot of resilience to the vagaries of life that the poor simply do not have. Therefore, we should not assume that just because we find that It’s easy to manage debt, we could do the same if we were poor Our mental debt accounting costs are simply lower than debt. you are poor.”

Actionable evidence to reduce poverty

Professor Assoc Ng concluded: “The results of this study open a pragmatic case for designing good debt relief programs for low-income households. First, they help. In fact, not helping households to low-income indebtedness is counterproductive because not doing so leaves them with suboptimal functioning and high anxiety.Secondly, the design of the intervention is critical.As it is the accumulation of debt accounts (more than the amount of debt) that affects functioning, interventions should focus on decreasing the mental burden on low-income households, whose minds are already highly stressed.”

Researchers suggest that policy interventions that rationalize debt would significantly improve cognitive and psychological functioning and reduce counterproductive behaviors. For example, debt restructuring or consolidation could be a more sustainable policy because it is less costly and more effective than simple debt clearance. More generally, poverty reduction interventions should target and reduce the factors that contribute to the mental burdens of the poor.

Researchers are now examining the longer-term effects of debt relief and applying the study’s findings to find innovative solutions that can help the poor.

This research project exemplifies what the NUS SSR aims to achieve – policy-relevant research that collaborates with the social service community to find solutions to Singapore’s social needs. The research team thanks Methodist Welfare Services and participating agencies for their contribution to this important study.

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Argentina extends deadline for debt restructuring deal

Argentina on Saturday extended its debt restructuring offer until Monday, after creditors largely rejected the proposal to avert the country’s ninth sovereign debt default.

President Alberto Fernández said Argentina’s goal was to make “commitments we can keep” after the government failed to garner enough support for its bid to restructure $65 billion of external debt before Friday’s original deadline.

“It’s a negotiation with very unique characters from the world of finance. Now let’s see how many accepted the offer, if there are any counter offers. I heard there might be some counter offers in the next few days. The negotiation continues, nothing is closed,” Fernández told a local radio station on Saturday morning. “Nobody wants to fall into default.”

The country had given bondholders until Friday to accept a restructuring proposal which calls for interest payments to be deferred until 2023 and principal payments until 2026.

Most foreign bondholders rejected Argentina’s offer, according to people familiar with the matter, and turnout was so low that the government chose not to announce the results in an official statement.

“It’s a pretty big fail,” said one investor.

Martín Guzmán, Argentina’s economy minister, said on Friday that dialogue remained open with creditors.

“We appreciate the fact that there are creditors who enter into the proposed exchange, choosing the path of a lasting relationship,” he told El Cronista, a newspaper. “If creditors who have not yet entered have other ideas consistent with the capacity to pay identified in the government’s and IMF’s debt sustainability analysis, then we are prepared to consider them.”

Bondholders have said they are now considering making a counter offer, although many are reluctant to do so until the government admits its offer and the assumptions on which it is based are not acceptable, according to an investor participating in the negotiations.

The main Argentine bondholders have remained firm in their opposition to the deal since the government introduced it last month. Three creditor groups – whose members include BlackRock, Fidelity, T Rowe Price, GMO, VR Capital Group and other major institutional investors – immediately rejected the terms. Earlier this week they double over their critics, saying in a joint statement that they would not support the Buenos Aires proposal.

Without the support of these creditors, Argentina will struggle to avoid another default. The group which includes BlackRock, Fidelity and T Rowe Price says its members own more than 25% of the country’s bonds issued since 2016, and more than 15% of previously restructured bonds issued in 2005 and 2010 – the so-called bonds of exchange . Another group representing swap bond holders claims to hold more than 16% of the bonds outstanding.

Depending on the bond, Argentina needs the approval of between 66 and 85 percent of creditors. While the three groups remain separate, they have aligned more in recent weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

“[Guzmán’s] the intransigence brought all bondholders together,” the person said.

Bondholders have disputed that under the current proposal they will see no payout for three years. When coupon payments begin in 2023, they say, the proposed initial size of 0.5% on most bonds is simply too low.

Members of the creditor groups have also hit back at Argentina for its handling of the negotiations so far. Many investors ignored recent meetings with Guzmán and his team, citing that the deal was being framed as a “take it or leave it” offer.

“The old strategy of using harsh rhetoric to drive prices down so they can come back to make it look okay won’t work,” said a member of one of the groups. “Many of these investors bought the bonds when they were issued.”

On current terms, analysts see an average recovery value of 32 cents on the dollar for bonds issued after 2016, and about 35 cents on the dollar for exchange bonds.

Investors said they are now looking to May 22, the end of a 30-day grace period for payments they have already missed. Some see the way to an agreement, with Argentina showing some flexibility, especially given the risks in the event of another default by the country.

“It doesn’t benefit anyone to get into a protracted situation,” said a person familiar with the negotiations. “We know what it looks like. Argentina spent a decade in financial isolation” after defaulting in 2001, the person added.

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G20 to discuss post-pandemic world and support debt relief

Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) will debate this weekend how to deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has caused a global recession and how to handle the recovery once the coronavirus is under control. control.

Top of the list is the procurement and global distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses themselves. The European Union will ask the G20 on Saturday to invest $4.5 billion to help.

“The main theme will be to intensify global cooperation to deal with the pandemic,” said a senior G20 official taking part in preparations for the two-day summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia and held virtually due to the pandemic.

To prepare for the future, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics.

“An international treaty would help us react faster and in a more coordinated way,” EU leaders Chairman Charles Michel told the G20 on Sunday.

As the global economy recovers from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum is slowing in countries where infection rates are resurfacing, the recovery is uneven and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, said the International Monetary Fund in a report for the G20 Summit.

Poor and heavily indebted countries in the developing world, which are “on the brink of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering”, are particularly vulnerable, the UN Secretary General said on Friday. United, Antonio Guterres.

To address this, the G20 will approve a plan to extend the moratorium on debt servicing for developing countries by six months until mid-2021, with the possibility of a further extension, according to a draft communiqué from the G20 seen by Reuters.

European members of the G20 are likely to push for more.

“Additional debt relief is needed,” Michel told reporters on Friday.

Debt relief for Africa will be a major theme of Italy’s G20 Presidency in 2021.

Europe’s G20 nations will also seek to inject new momentum into the stalled reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), hoping to capitalize on the upcoming change in the US administration. Outgoing President Donald Trump preferred bilateral trade agreements rather than going through international bodies.

The change in American leadership also gives hope for a more concerted effort at the G20 level to fight climate change.

Like the European Union, already half of the G20 members, including Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa, plan to become climate or at least carbon neutral by 2050. or soon after.

Under Trump, the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, but the decision is expected to be reversed by President-elect Joe Biden.

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In new lawsuit, borrowers accuse Navient of obstructing student debt forgiveness

Potentially millions of teachers, social workers and other public servants wasted money repaying loans because a major student loan company blocked access to debt forgiveness to which they were entitled, according to a new lawsuit.

The class action filed Wednesday against Navient by borrowers eligible for civil service loan cancellation, says the company provided these civil servants with incorrect information, extending the time they would need to wait before their loans were canceled in under the program and causing them to spend money unnecessarily on their debt.

The borrowers also allege that Navient’s corporate policies encouraged this behavior. The lawsuit, funded by the American Federation of Teachers, says Navient encourages its employees to spend a few minutes on the phone with borrowers, but advising borrowers of their options can take significantly longer.

The lawsuit also alleges that Navient had reasons to make it harder for borrowers to qualify for the PSLF — once a borrower is deemed eligible for the program, their loan is transferred to another company — and that Navient wanted to ensure that he continued to receive the money. associated with the account.

Navient “deliberately and systematically trapped teachers, nurses and other public service workers under a mountain of student loan debt rather than offering them the opportunity to reduce that debt through the public service loan forgiveness program. public,” said Randi Weingarten, chairman of the AFT. during a conference call with reporters.

A representative for Navient declined to comment on the allegations.

The public loan cancellation program got off to a rocky start

The lawsuit is the latest indication of the challenges borrowers face in accessing the PSLF. So far around 28,000 borrowers have applied for the release of their loans and only 96 have been approved.

The program, which was enacted in 2007, allows civil servants to have their loans canceled after 10 years of payments. But it appears that at least thousands of borrowers have been fooled by the eligibility criteria, which require borrowers to have the right kind of federal student loan, work in the right kind of job (the government at all levels and only certain nonprofits), are in the correct repayment program and make 120 qualifying payments.

Moreover, this lawsuit is just one of many allegations by borrower advocates that student loan servicers have put roadblocks in the way of officials’ forgiveness.

Seth Frotman, the student loans ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until August, told reporters on the call that during his work at the office he had met countless borrowers hoping to qualify for the PSLF, whose dreams had been dashed by “inexcusable service failures”. and “the lies told to them by their loan officer”.

“I didn’t need any help – I needed a little advice”

Kathryn Hyland, a New York-based public school teacher, said in the lawsuit that she believed she was on track to get loan forgiveness for three years, thanks to information she received from Navient. She later learned that the payments she made during that time did not count for cancellation because she had the wrong type of federal loan — a problem she could have solved had she known.

Melissa Garcia, another New York-based public school teacher, claims in the lawsuit that she was misled by Navient on multiple occasions. At one point, the company advised him to consolidate his student loans, which restarted the clock towards debt cancellation and caused him to lose 37 payments that would have counted towards that goal. Additionally, she alleges that Navient advised her to participate in a repayment program that was not eligible for PSLF, despite her appeal to ask her to stay on track for a pardon.

Megan Nocerino, a college teacher from Florida, told reporters on the call that she reached out to Navient to help her manage her debt while she cared for her sick son and was oriented. towards forbearance – a status that temporarily halts payments and progresses towards forgiveness and during which interest continues to grow. This happened even though she was eligible for PSLF and there are repayment plans available that would maintain her eligibility and make her monthly payments more manageable.

“At that time, I just needed a little help – I didn’t need help – I needed a little guidance and a little understanding,” he said. she said on the call.

A symptom of a larger problem

The types of challenges officials face in accessing the PSLF provide a window into broader systemic issues with the student loan program that may become more pronounced as more borrowers become eligible for other relief programs. less tight debt, said Persis Yu, the director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center.

“The utility loan portfolio is kind of like the canary in the coal mine,” Yu said. Many of these borrowers may have advanced degrees and maybe even received counseling from their schools or their employers about accessing the program and yet they still struggle. This indicates that as borrowers with perhaps fewer resources become eligible for debt relief, they also may not receive it when they qualify, Yu said.

“The fundamental confusion about the student loan program runs much deeper than someone hasn’t read the fine print,” she said. “To access many programs under the federal loan program, all you have to do is harass your servicer.”

Although advocates have complained under the Obama administration that services aren’t doing enough to help borrowers, Weingarten told reporters on the call that the Betsy DeVos-led Department of Education is only doing worsen the situation.

During DeVos’s tenure, the Department worked to protect student loan companies from state consumer protection laws. In addition, the agency tried to block the implementation of Obama-era rules aimed at protecting predatory college borrowers and trying to make them whole when they are misled by their schools.

“In every angle they operate from, they are effectively a friend to lenders and an enemy to borrowers,” Weingarten said.

The Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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$5.4 Million Awarded by FTC to People Who Paid for ‘Worthless Student Loan Debt Relief’



The Federal Trade Commission is sending more than $5.4 million to nearly 40,000 people who lost money to a student debt relief scam. The defendants behind the scam had to hand over the money as part of a 2018 settlement with the FTC.

Defendants’ Los Angeles-based companies used the following names: Alliance Document Preparation, LLC; EZ Doc Preps; Help for graduates; Help with the first document; SBS Capital Group, LLC; Release of United Graduates; CFF Holdings, LLC; preparation of allied documents; Postgraduate services; United Legal Center, LLC; Post-graduation aid; Help for graduates; United Legal Disclaimer; United Legal Center, Inc.; Grads Doc Prep, LLC; Academic Help Center; academic protection; Doc Prep Academy; and academic release.

The FTC alleged that the defendants’ companies defrauded millions of people trying to reduce or eliminate their student loan debt. The defendants marketed on social media platforms, including Facebook. According to The FTC Complaint, they falsely stated that they were affiliated with the United States Department of Education or loan officers, and falsely claimed that consumers who paid upfront fees of up to $1,000 were qualified or approved for monthly payments permanently reduced or loan forgiveness. In fact, according to the complaint, the defendants had no affiliation with the US Department of Education and operated a service that offered no relief.

Like part of the settlement, the FTC sends 39,734 checks, averaging $136.48, to people who lost money. Checks will expire after 60 days as indicated on the check. The FTC urges people to cash them in before they expire. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.

Consumers with questions about refunds should contact the refund administrator, Analytics, at 1-877-270-9672.

Consumers who wish to avoid falling victim to such fraud can visit ftc.gov/StudentLoans to learn more. Consumers may also apply for loan deferral, forbearance, repayment, and forgiveness or discharge programs directly from the US Department of Education or their loan officers, free of charge; these programs do not require the assistance of a third-party company or the payment of an application fee. For federal student loan repayment options, visit StudentAid.gov/repay. For private loans, contact the loan manager directly.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers.


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A lifeline for consumers burdened with high-interest debt

“After serving more than 12 million visitors looking for help resolving their debts, we launched Project Debt Box as a secret weapon to help families better manage their credit and reduce their debts,” said Ellis Houck, editor of DebtReliefCenter.org. “These tools were designed to educate and motivate consumers to tackle debt with confidence,” Houck added.

Twelve user-friendly debt assistance tools available upon request

Project Debt Box offers twelve specific tools to help individuals and families budget, manage debt, protect their rights with creditors, and get out of debt. “It even provides valuable debt relief tips that anyone can use on their own – to lower interest rates, reduce payments and resolve debt more cheaply through structured debt programs. debt relief for struggling families,” Houck continued.

“Life Happens” and the Stats Tell the Story

Having served over 12 million people in debt, feedback from visitors to the Debt Relief Center makes it clear that while overspending can lead to unmanageable debt, it is often “life events” that trigger over-indebtedness. “In the past 90 days, of those who have contacted https://www.debtreliefcenter.org/ProjectDebtBox/more than 37% reported job loss or reduced income, while more than 20% said the debt was due to personal, family or medical difficulties,” Houck added.

When debt becomes too much to handle on your own

Clearly, regardless of life situations or events that trigger debt, Project Debt Box is an idea whose time has come. “It’s actually empowering for people when they finally say ‘enough’ and summon the courage to ask for help, kill the monster and put the worries of debt behind them,” Houck said.

For more information about Project Debt Box and how consumers can get help with overwhelming debt, go to https://www.debtreliefcenter.org/ProjectDebtBox/

MEDIA CONTACT: For press inquiries, Walter Burch(818) 208-1492

SOURCE Debt Relief Center

Related links

https://www.debtreliefcenter.org

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IMF right to maintain Covid support, but on debt relief it’s crumbs | Larry Elliot

go there and spend. Don’t worry about accumulating debt. You will make a mistake if you remove support from your savings too soon. This is the message of Kristalina Georgievathe managing director of the International Monetary Fund, to finance ministers as they consider how to deal with the economic damage caused by Covid-19.

Well, some of them at least. Finance ministers such as Rishi Sunak definitely get the green light to spend more. This is sound advice and should be heeded, not least because rock-bottom interest rates mean debt servicing costs go down even as borrowing goes up.

The IMF is taking a tougher line on countries that might ask for emergency bailouts. The government of Argentina, for example, will find that any aid it receives will come with strings attached that are sure to be painful and unpopular.

Finally, there are the poorest countries in the world, those which lack the capacity to provide unlimited stimulus to their economies and which, in many cases, are struggling with unpayable levels of debt.

Georgieva and the President of the World Bank, David Malpassboth know that a comprehensive debt relief program is needed for these countries, a program that involves all bilateral creditors and both the private and public sectors.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen at this year’s IMF annual meeting. All that is offered to the 70 or so poorest nations is a six-month extension of the G20 debt suspension plan agreed to in the spring. This does not represent the significant reduction that Malpass was talking about. It simply represents the brushing of a few crumbs from the rich man’s table.

Biden, not just coronavirus, could upend China’s recovery

For Xi Jinping, there will have been quiet satisfaction seeing the value of China’s stock market soar above the previous record high of $10.05bn (£8.06bn). Earlier this year, that other self-proclaimed strongman, Donald Trump, imagined a record run on Wall Street would propel him to a second term in the White House.

Now, unless he pulls off one of the most remarkable comebacks of all time, Trump is on his way to a big defeat at the hands of Joe Biden. A pandemic that started in China is going to be a deciding factor in determining the outcome of the US presidential election.

Stock prices have hit high levels in China before, and five years ago they came back to Earth with a bump. They could do it again if Covid-19 causes another deep fall in the global economy, stifling demand for Chinese exports.

But there are reasons why the Chinese stock market is rising high. Beijing has been content to use authoritarian measures to control the pandemic and recorded no cases in its latest daily report to the World Health Organization.

Control of the virus means the economy has recovered faster than expected. China’s growth rate, according to the IMF, will drop from 6.1% to 1.9% this year, but at least it remains positive, which is more than can be said for the United States , which are expected to contract by 4.3%.

Moreover, with Trump seemingly on his way out, investors believe the Cold War between Washington and Beijing will unfreeze. True, but probably not very much. Biden should be bad for the US stock market. It might not do much for China either.

£800million is the first – but won’t be the last – draw on the HS2 overrun fund

The least surprising title winner of the day goes to ‘Cost of HS2 high-speed rail line rises by £800m’. Apparently the cost of improving Euston station will cost at least £400m more than expected, while the discovery of more asbestos than expected will add another £400m to the bill.

Although there is a provident fund to cover overspending, it is only £5.3bn. And one thing is certain: £800m is the first draw on that reserve. It won’t be the last.

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Debt relief boosts Myanmar’s COVID-19 recovery

Author: Sean Turnell, Macquarie University

On July 1, 2020, the European Union and six of its member governments announced a moratorium on the repayment of debt owed by Myanmar. The deal allows Myanmar to “focus its efforts on post-COVID-19 economic recovery” and is worth nearly $100 million, or 20% of Myanmar’s current debt repayment schedule.

Widely relayed in the Burmese press, this gesture reinforces a relationship that has been strained over the past few years. atrocities in Rakhine State and elsewhere, and the possibility that EU trade privileges – vital to Myanmar’s rapidly growing garment sector – could be withdrawn.

The public health impact of COVID-19 in Myanmar has, in fact, been much milder than expected. Infection and death rates are low and more or less in line with the country’s peers in Southeast Asia. Despite early estimates that Myanmar could suffer 2 million deaths and 10 times as many people infected, as of mid-July the country had recorded only six deaths, 341 total confirmed cases and 278 recovered cases.

Given the state of Myanmar’s health administration, these figures almost certainly underestimate the true extent of cases. Yet such an undercount is not likely to be of a large magnitude. The author’s surveys of various hospital and health officials (and funeral associations) reveal that Myanmar really seems to have escaped the worst of the pandemic so far.

But while the health impact of COVID-19 on Myanmar has been relatively light, the same cannot be said for the economic damage. Exports, commodity prices, remittances and tourist arrivals were hit first, followed quickly by just about every other sector of the economy as the government implemented various strict containment measures (if necessary).

Once predicted as Asia’s second fastest growing economy with 6.7% GDP growth forecast in 2020, Myanmar’s economic growth will now fall to just 0.5%. Any comfort in the idea that this is still a positive number is tempered both by the high degree of uncertainty about these estimates and by the sheer magnitude of the growth reversal.

Non-farm employment takes a hit, with up to 5 million jobs lost. Many of these losses occurred in the formal economy, including a significant number in the critical garment sector. Surveys of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) suggest that around half of them fear that their survival is at risk.

In the face of the economic damage of COVID-19, the government of Myanmar is acting with (perhaps surprising) speed and policy coherence. He enacted a series of relief measures centered on the US$2.2 billion “COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan” (CERP), the product of key economic reformers in the Ministry of Planning, Finance and of Industry and endorsed by the new Project Bank facility.

Monetary and financial initiatives will include interest rate cuts, debt rescheduling, new loan programs for SMEs and farmers, prudential bank forbearance and credit guarantees. The plan will also significantly increase health spending, food and cash transfers to the most vulnerable and village-based employment programs and accelerate various infrastructure projects.

One of the most innovative plans is to further boost Myanmar’s digital economy – which is already fueled by high mobile phone penetration rates – by bringing as many government services online as possible. Despite some implementation issues with CERP, it appears to have been effective in countering what might otherwise have been a near collapse in aggregate demand.

Financing these stimulus measures is difficult. The current government has been extraordinarily successful in cleaning up Myanmar’s public finances, which means that much of the spending is made possible simply by increasing budget allocations. Aided by surprisingly resilient bond and gilt markets, a modest reliance on central bank funding (while sticking to the government’s strict timetable to phase out such funding eventually) is also smoothing the way. .

In addition to European Union debt relief, other sources of international aid also play a role in financing Myanmar’s recovery. Under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) supported by the G20 and the Paris Club of creditor countries, Myanmar has received “additional” financial resources amounting to approximately $1.2 billion. dollars. Myanmar also accessed $357 million through the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility – an amount representing 50% of the country’s IMF quota, leaving an additional $357 million still available for drawdown.

Interestingly – both for this moment and for the longer term relationship – China has offered little aid to Myanmar during COVID-19, though it has lobbied for approval of various Belt and Road Initiative projects. By far Myanmar’s largest creditor, China has so far been singularly insensitive to the needs of a country it so often presents as its “little brother”.

Sean Turnell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Macquarie University. He is also a Special Economic Consultant to the State Councilor of Myanmar and Research Director of the Myanmar Development Institute.

This article is part of a EAF Special Feature Series on the new coronavirus crisis and its impact.
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Global debt expected to reach nearly 100% in 2021 amid COVID-19 crisis, says International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Global public debt is expected to fall from 98% of GDP in 2020 to 100% of GDP in 2021

Global public debt is expected to hit 98% of GDP by the end of 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest fiscal monitor update on Thursday, saying public debt in India is expected to remain high at 83% percent. of GDP. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a severe challenge to public finances, the report said, noting that the resulting contraction in output and lower incomes, as well as emergency lifelines, have pushed up deficits and public debts beyond the levels recorded during the global financial crisis.

Vitor Gaspar, director of the IMF’s fiscal affairs department, told reporters that government revenue had fallen everywhere, government debt had climbed to 98% from 84% before COVID-19. “From 2021, debt stabilizes at a high level and remains well above pre-COVID-19 levels until the end of the forecast horizon,” he said.

According to the Fiscal Monitor report, public debt is expected to remain high at 83% of GDP, underscoring the need for a credible medium-term fiscal framework to build confidence, anchored on revised fiscal targets and revenue mobilization.

Noting that global public debt is expected to increase further – from 98% of GDP in 2020 to almost 100% of GDP in 2021 – driven by advanced and emerging market economies, Paolo Mauro, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Finances of the IMF said with the pandemic still out of control and economies growing below potential, additional fiscal support will be needed in 2021, to protect livelihoods.

“High public debt need not raise immediate concerns about debt sustainability, but highly indebted emerging markets and developing economies may find it difficult to borrow more. market are good, but short-term debt vulnerabilities remain elevated in some developing countries,” he said in response to a question.

To cope with a sharp increase in public debt in developing countries, the international community – including the IMF – provided grants, concessional loans and debt relief in 2020, including for 38 countries considered as “high risk”.

Fiscal adjustment and, in a few cases, debt restructuring should contribute to debt reduction. Almost everywhere, credible medium-term strategies must be developed, with the aim of stabilizing and gradually reducing debt to safer levels over time, supported by pro-growth and inclusive policies, he said. declared.

Gasper said low-income developing countries urgently need funding for social services, health and education, COVID-19 control measures and support for food programs in countries facing the risk of COVID-19. malnutrition. The IMF, he said, is helping and remains committed to providing additional support. Since the start of the pandemic, it has provided financing totaling approximately $105 billion to more than 80 countries, five of which are low-income developing countries. More than $285 billion is committed in total out of a lending capacity of $1 trillion.

Many poor countries need additional support in the form of grants, concessional loans and debt relief. This includes the debt service suspension initiative, but on a case-by-case basis, deeper debt treatments may be needed, including restructuring, Gasper said.

Affirming that the international community must act together to foster inclusive growth, Gasper called for the universal availability of effective vaccines. “Health must come first, and the lifeline must be targeted when needed. COVID-19 will not be under control anywhere until it is under control everywhere. The sooner that happens, the sooner the economic activity will pick up, the sooner the jobs will come back,” Gaspar told reporters.

“Making effective vaccines universally available is the number one priority, Lifeline should be targeted to the most vulnerable and maintained based on developments in the spread of the virus,” he said. In releasing the annual budget monitor update, Gasper called for facilitating the transition to a smart, green, resilient and inclusive growth model. “This applies to support today and becomes even more important as the recovery takes hold,” he said.

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New Chapter 12 Bill Would Offer Debt Relief to More Family Farmers

The recently introduced Family Farmer Support Act 2019 (S.897) will help family farmers reorganize after facing difficult times, which more and more of them are experiencing due to the uncertainty of some export markets, lower prices for some farm and ranch products. and other factors.

Recognizing the unique challenges faced by family farmers, Congress in 1986 established Chapter 12 of the US Bankruptcy Code, which removes some costly reorganization requirements for large corporations.

“Our farmer members have experienced consecutive years of low commodity prices and the consequent low profitability and low farm incomes. As a result, farmers and ranchers are seeing their equity eroded as their debt ratio rises and debt financing hits a 30-year high. The double whammy of record farm debt and poor economic conditions has led many farmers to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy as an option for debt relief and restructuring,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

While Chapter 12 has helped many family farmers, its $4.1 million debt limit has kept many others from using it. The Family Farmer Assistance Act of 2019 would allow more family farmers to apply for relief under the program by raising the cap on Chapter 12 operating debt to $10 million.

‘Removing the liability cap and giving more farmers the opportunity to qualify for Chapter 12 bankruptcy provides the restructuring and seasonal repayment flexibility that many farmers need in today’s lagging farm economy’ today and will help align bankruptcy law with the scale and credit needs of American agriculture,” Duval said.

The bipartisan bill, backed by the Farm Bureau, was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Thom Tillis (RN.C.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

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Bipartisan COVID Relief Bill to Provide $13 Billion in Farm Aid | 2020-12-09

A bipartisan group of senators negotiating a $908 billion coronavirus relief package is circulating a summary of the plan that says $13 billion would be allocated to the agricultural sector.

the abstract, obtained by Agri Pulse, does not specify how the money would be spent, except to allocate $600 million for disaster relief in the fisheries sector.

The outline of the proposal only indicated that $26 billion would be allocated to agriculture and nutrition.

According to the new summary, the plan would temporarily increase the Individual Monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by 15% for four months and provide funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program to help food banks and pantries.

It would also temporarily increase the value of the benefits of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), allowing participants to purchase additional fruits and vegetables.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon, a senator leading the negotiations, Sen. Joe Manchin, DW. Va, said lawmakers are making progress on state and local funding, as well as liability protections.

These two issues have been two major sticking points among Republicans and Democrats over the past few months, which is why they have yet to reach an agreement on COVID relief.

Interested in more coverage and information? Receive a free month of Agri Pulse.

“Hopefully we’ll finish our language by tonight,” Manchin said. “That’s what we’re aiming for.” He said he understood there was agreement Tuesday night on state and local funding and believed lawmakers were reaching agreement on liability protections.

When asked if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP leaders were taking the bill seriously, Manchin replied, “They don’t another on the table”.

The bipartisan package would provide about $10 billion for broadband needs, including $6.25 billion that would go to state broadband rollout and broadband connectivity subsidies. The grants are intended to ensure “affordable broadband access” during the pandemic, the summary says.

An additional $3 billion would be allocated to the Education Connectivity Emergency Fund. This money would be given in priority to rural areas that need it most to help education and distance education providers distribute hotspots, devices and other connected devices.

The Federal Communications Commission would receive $475 million for its COVID-19 telehealth program to bolster the efforts of healthcare providers to fight the coronavirus. There would be 20% reserved for small rural suppliers.

The agricultural section of the summary also indicates that USDA Rural Development would obtain funding for water and wastewater programs. The amount was not specified.

For more news, visit www.Agri-Pulse.com.

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Biden says he won’t back $50,000 student loan debt forgiveness plan – WSOC TV

Regarding the cancellation of student loans for millions of Americans, the president said he would not support a proposal that top Democrats want him to support.

President Joe Biden wants to forgive $10,000 of student debt per borrower in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which could wipe out debt for 15 million Americans and reduce balances for millions more.

Federal data shows that more than a third of federal borrowers could see their balances drop to zero if $10,000 were forgiven.

Prominent Democrats, however, want the president to do more. They said canceling $50,000 per person would eliminate debt for 36 million Americans.

They urge the president to take executive action as the economy and Americans battle the coronavirus pandemic.

But Biden said he wouldn’t.

“I’m not going to make that happen,” Biden said. “It depends on whether you go to a private university or a public university.”

Biden and former President Trump have suspended federal student loan payments during the coronavirus pandemic. This suspension will last until the end of September.

For more information, you can go to in line or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243.

Biden officials consider action on student debt relief

The Biden administration is considering whether it can take steps to provide student debt relief through executive action, even as it continues to ask Congress to pass legislation to help borrowers and their families.

A tweet from White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to go further than her comments during a briefing earlier Thursday, when she said President Joe Biden was counting on Congress to act next. on student loan relief. Biden said he supports up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower.

“The President continues to support student debt cancellation to provide relief to students and families,” Psaki tweeted. “Our team is looking at whether there are any steps he can take through executive action and he would be happy to sign a bill sent to him by Congress.”

It came hours after a group of Democrats urged Biden to use executive action to forgive $50,000 in federal student debt for all borrowers. The group, which included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said it would boost the economy and help close the country’s racial wealth gap.

Biden has previously said he supports erasing up to $10,000 in student debt through legislation, but he has not expressed interest in pursuing executive action. In a briefing before posting his statement on Twitter, Psaki appeared to reject the idea of ​​using presidential powers to wipe out debt, saying Biden had already suspended student loan repayments during the pandemic.

“He would look to Congress to take the next steps,” she said.

Legal scholars have fallen back and forth over whether Biden has the power to deal with loan relief himself, with some saying the move is unlikely to survive a legal challenge.

The Trump administration moved to block broad debt cancellation in early January, issuing an Education Department memo concluding that the secretary had no authority to provide such assistance and that it would be up to Congress.

Schumer said he and Warren researched the matter and concluded “it’s one of those things the president can do on his own.” Past presidents have written off debt, Schumer said, but not on the scale proposed.

Democrats are pushing the issue as a racial justice issue and as COVID-19 relief. They rely on statistics showing that black and Latino borrowers are more likely to go into debt and take longer to repay their loans.

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G7 supports extension of G20 debt freeze and calls for reforms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – G7 finance ministers on Friday backed an extension of the G20’s bilateral debt relief initiative for the world’s poorest countries, but said it needed to be revised to address shortcomings. shortcomings that hinder its implementation.

In a lengthy joint statement, ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies said they “deeply regret” the decisions of some countries not to participate by classifying their public institutions as commercial lenders.

Two officials from G7 countries said the benchmark was clearly aimed at China, which declined to include loans from the state-owned China Development Bank and other government-controlled entities in the total official of its bilateral debt when dealing with countries seeking debt relief.

Ministers also acknowledged that some countries will need further debt relief in the future and urged the Group of 20 major economies and Paris Club creditors to agree on terms by the meeting. G20 finance ministers next month.

“Everyone was disappointed with China’s lack of transparency and engagement,” said an official, who asked not to be named.

In an online meeting hosted by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, ministers underlined their commitment to working together to support the poorest and most vulnerable countries, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

They called on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to provide regular updates on the financing needs of low-income countries and to propose solutions to expected financing gaps, including through instruments to leverage advantage of access to private finance.

They said the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) endorsed in April by G20 countries, including China, had helped 43 countries defer $5 billion in official debt service payments in order to release money to respond to the pandemic.

But the total is well below the $12 billion in savings originally projected and represents just over half of the more than 70 eligible countries.

Ministers said the initiative should be expanded, “in the context of a request for IMF financing”, and called for a new condition sheet and memorandum of understanding to improve its implementation.

The ministers said that claims classified as commercial under the DSSI would also be treated as such in future debt treatments and for the implementation of IMF policies, sternly reminding China and other countries that do not have not been fully transparent about the scope and terms of government loans to the poor. countries.

Ministers also called again on private lenders to implement the on-demand debt relief initiative, noting that the lack of private sector participation has limited the potential benefits for several countries.

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Direct Relief to get a slice of MacKenzie Scott’s billions

From its warehouse near the Santa Barbara airport, Direct Relief distributes COVID-19 medicine and other supplies around the world. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

When MacKenzie Scott announced recently that she had donated nearly $4.2 billion to charities in the United States, one of the 384 recipients on her list was Direct Relief, the non-profit organization based in Santa Barbara which distributes medical aid all over the world.

Direct Relief plans to disclose both the exact amount of the donation and the specific program it will fund in the coming weeks. Tony Morain, the nonprofit’s vice president of communications, said it was “a historic amount for Direct Relief”, one of the largest cash donations in the organization’s history.

Direct Relief learned of Scott’s gift like the rest of the world, Morain said, when the Amazon billionaire posted “384 ways to help” on Medium.

“It was a surprise, and we were grateful and humbled,” Morain said. “She did her due diligence; she researched each of the organizations independently. For Direct Relief, it was a good surprise in a difficult year. … The manner in which she made the donation was inspiring, that someone would choose to give an unprecedented amount of philanthropic dollars at a rate that had never been done before, without asking for anything in return.

Since divorcing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos last year, Scott has become one of the world’s biggest philanthropists. The new $4.2 billion round comes on top of the $1.7 billion she gave in July to 116 organizations, including major gifts to historically black colleges and universities.

Scott’s new round of donations is focused on helping those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and “long-term systemic inequalities that have been deepened by the crisis,” she wrote on Medium. Beneficiaries include healthcare providers, food banks, civil and legal advocacy funds, as well as groups that provide debt relief, education, job training and financial services to underserved communities. .

Scott wrote that she used a team of advisors this time around, and they took “a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership and results teams, with a focus on those operating in communities facing high food insecurity, high measures of racism, inequality, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.

Direct Relief is the largest non-profit organization in the tri-county area and one of the largest in the country. A recent Forbes report placed it third nationally with $2 billion in private donations, behind only United Way and Feeding America.

Most of this income comes from donations of medicines and other supplies. Cash donations like Scott’s accounted for $171 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year, while goods and services donated to Direct Relief were worth $1.82 billion.

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Zimbabwe advised improving human rights and paying off debts for relief

Zimbabwe flag image

One of Zimbabwe’s biggest creditors turned down a government request for debt relief until it improved its human rights record and paid off outstanding debt arrears.

The southern African country’s appeal for relief was rejected in a June 12 letter to Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube from Odile Renaud-Basso, president of the Paris Club.

The group, to which Zimbabwe owed $ 3.26 billion in 2018, represents creditor countries, including members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The letter, seen by Bloomberg, was in response to an April 2 appeal from Ncube to chiefs of the International Monetary Fund, world Bank, African development bank, Paris Club and European Investment Bank search for an arrears clearance and debt relief program.

Zimbabwe’s relations with multilateral lenders have been strained for nearly 20 years as it has failed to meet its payments and a series of elections has been marred by violence and irregularities.

“Zimbabwe’s desire to normalize its relations with the international community can only progress after the implementation of fundamental economic and political reforms,” said Renaud-Basso. The necessary reforms relate to “respect for human rights, in particular freedom of assembly and expression,” she said.

Debt relief was a key part of Ncube’s strategy to revive the economy after two decades of stagnation. But attempts to drive economic reforms and improve relations with lenders have been thwarted by the Zimbabwean security forces’ violent crackdown on a series of protests.

Schwan Badirou-Gafari, secretary general of the Paris Club, declined to comment, as did Clive Mphambela, spokesperson for the Zimbabwean Treasury.

(With contributions from Bloomberg)

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Thinktank Asks Sunak to Help Debt “Zombie Companies” | Debt relief

One in five businesses in Britain is a ‘zombie business’ struggling to stay afloat after a boom in corporate debt levels during the coronavirus pandemic, a leading Tory think tank has warned.

Calling the chancellor, Rishi sunak, to use the autumn budget to launch a corporate debt relief program, think tank Onward said crippling debt levels accumulated during the crisis will hamper the UK’s economic recovery.

Onward, led by a former senior adviser to Therese May – and with close ties to the Treasury and an advisory board filled with big Tories – debt accumulated during the lockdown could push 4.3% of UK businesses – employing 1.8 million people – to technical insolvency.

He said a debt relief program should be used to allow companies to gradually repay state-guaranteed loans taken out during the crisis, via a surtax on profits and shareholder payments. It would depend on the income level of a business, similar to the student loan system for tuition.

After the lockdown ended economic and social life this spring, plunging the UK economy into its deepest recession on record, more than £ 52 billion was borrowed by UK businesses, thanks to loans from emergency guaranteed by the State.

Onward said rising debt levels meant up to 20% of UK businesses were now ‘zombies’ – meaning their profits only cover the ongoing cost of their debt interest payments . He said companies burdened with debt would be less likely to invest to boost Britain’s economic rebound after the pandemic.

The intervention comes as banks bolster their teams of debt advisers to deal with a flood of corporate insolvencies triggered by the pandemic. HSBC UK plans to almost triple the size of its debt management team by year-end increase in defects.

The bank’s financial distress team, which deals with businesses and individual customers overdue on loans, credit cards or mortgages, has already doubled its workforce to 800 employees since the Kingdom’s shutdown United in March.

“We will probably pass 1,000 before the end of the year,” Stuart Haire, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC, told The Guardian.

An interactive debt chart

Staff will undergo mandatory training on how to deal with vulnerable borrowers and some of them will be trained on how to approve a wider range of forbearance options for clients who might otherwise have difficulty repaying. their debts. Several “specialists” will also be present to treat more complex cases.

Lloyds is moving up to 600 employees who previously handled Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) abuse claims to a team in financial difficulty.

NatWest has grown its debt management team from 1,000 to 1,650 since March, while Santander has added dozens of employees to its personal and business debt management units.

The UK’s top four lenders have so far this year set aside a collective £ 15.6bn in provisions for Covid-linked loans – money to cover a potential default. HSBC has set aside $ 3.8 billion (£ 2.9 billion) in the second quarter alone, including $ 1.5 billion related to its UK operations. Lloyds has set aside £ 2.4 billion to cover bad debts in the second quarter.

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Options for Paying Off Your Debt: Debt Relief Orders

Debt Relief Orders (scrutineers) are a way to pay off debts if you owe less than £ 30,000, don’t have a lot of income, and don’t own your home.

If you get one:

  • your creditors cannot get their money back without court authorization
  • you are usually released (“released”) from your debts after 12 months

Get a debt relief order

You get a Scrutineer from the official receiver, a bankruptcy court officer, but you must apply through a licensed debt counselor. They will help you fill out the paperwork.

There is a list of organizations that can help you find a licensed debt counselor in the scrutineers.

Costs

The costs of the official receiver are £ 90. Your debt counselor can tell you how and when to pay it off. In some cases, a charity may be able to help you with the cost – ask your debt counselor.

Eligibility

You are generally eligible if you meet all of these criteria:

  • you owe less than £ 30,000
  • you have less than £ 75 per month of side income
  • you have less than £ 2,000 in assets
  • you do not own a vehicle worth £ 2,000 or more
  • you have lived or worked in England and Wales for the past 3 years
  • you did not ask to Scrutineer in the last 6 years

Restrictions

You have to follow rules called “restrictions” if you get a Scrutineer.

This means that you cannot:

  • borrow more than £ 500 without notifying the lender of your Scrutineer
  • act as director of a company
  • create, manage or promote a business without court authorization
  • run a business without talking about your Scrutineer

If you want to open a bank account, you may also need to inform the bank or mortgage company of your Scrutineer.

The restrictions generally last 12 months. They can be extended if reckless or dishonest behavior caused your debt problem. For example, you lied to get credit.

The official receiver will tell you if they need to be extended. To extend them, you will be asked to accept a “Debt Relief Restriction Commitment”. The court can issue a “debt relief order” if you don’t agree.

What would you like to know

While you have a Scrutineer you still have to pay:

  • your rent and bills
  • certain debts, for example student loans, court fines

scrutineers can be canceled if:

  • your finances are improving
  • you do not cooperate with the official receiver – for example you do not give him the information he asks for

If you incur new debt after your Scrutineer is approved, you can:

  • get a bankruptcy order
  • be sued if you do not inform the new creditors of your Scrutineer

Your Scrutineer is added to the personal insolvency register – it is deleted 3 months after the Scrutineer ends.

Your Scrutineer will remain on your credit report for 6 years.

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World Bank and IMF advocate for debt relief for the poorest countries

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a joint statement on Wednesday called on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from countries of the International Development Association (IDA) which request the abstention following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

Pakistan is also on the list of 76 countries eligible to receive IDA resources under concessional loans. Pakistan owed about $ 11 billion to official bilateral creditors of the Paris Club countries and Islamabad had already obtained debt relief in 2002-2003 for 10 years when Pakistan decided to support the United States in its war against terrorism in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. During this period, Pakistan had benefited from a tax cushion on the debt repayment front of official bilateral Paris Club donors. Pakistan had to sign an agreement with each country separately after making an agreement to get a Paris Club concession. It is not yet clear whether Islamabad would seek debt relief from official donors or not at this point, as this correspondent made an effort to contract Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar to get the version and also sent him a message. but received no response until this report was tabled. .

However, the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund issued a joint statement to the G20 regarding debt relief for the poorest countries and said the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have serious economic consequences. and social for the IDA countries, which are home to a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the world’s population live in extreme poverty.

He said that with immediate effect – and in accordance with the national laws of creditor countries – the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund are calling on all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries seeking forbearance. . “This will help meet the immediate liquidity needs of IDA countries to meet the challenges posed by the coronavirus epidemic and will allow time for an assessment of the impact of the crisis and the financing needs for each country,” added the joint press release.

“We invite the leaders of the G20 to instruct the World Bank Group and the IMF to carry out these assessments, in particular by identifying the countries with unsustainable debt, and to prepare a proposal for comprehensive action by the” bilateral creditors ” We will seek approval of the proposal from the Development Committee at spring meetings (April 16 and 17).

“The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this time to provide a sense of global relief to developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets. The international community would welcome the support of the G20 to this call to action, ”he added. concluded.

Meanwhile, Federal Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar said, “We welcome the joint WB and IMF statement calling on G20 countries to suspend debt payments from dev [developing] countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged this since the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that it will be accepted, and we also urge the multilaterals to reduce their debts. “

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Chinese debt could implode emerging markets


The new coronavirus has crippled the global economy. Global growth is expected to drop from 2.9% last year to deeply negative territory in 2020, the only year after 2009 that this has happened since World War II. Recovery is likely to be slow and painful. Government restrictions aimed at preventing the resurgence of the virus will inhibit production and consumption, as will defaults, bankruptcies and staff cuts that have already produced record unemployment claims in the United States.

But not all countries will endure the pain of the global recession equally. Low-income countries suffer from poor health infrastructure, hampering their ability to fight the coronavirus, and many of them had dangerously high debt levels even before the pandemic required emergency spending massive. Foreign investors are now withdrawing capital from emerging markets and sending it back to the rich world in search of a safe haven. As a result, countries like South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria see their currencies drop in value, making it difficult, if not impossible, to service foreign loans.

Faced with the threat of financial ruin, poor countries have turned to multilateral financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The IMF has already released emergency funds in at least 39 countries and, by the end of March, more than 40 more had approach there for help. The World Bank has accelerated $ 14 billion for crisis relief efforts. Yet even if they offer extraordinary amounts of aid, the IMF and the World Bank know that these amounts will be far from sufficient. For this reason, they called on the Group of 20 creditor countries to suspend the collection of interest payments on loans they have made to low-income countries. On April 15, the G-20 pledged: all of its members agreed to suspend these repayment obligations until the end of the year – all but one member, that is.

China has adhered to the G-20 pledge but added caveats that mock it. China is effectively excluding hundreds of large loans made under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for infrastructure development. “Preferential loans,” such as those granted by the Import-Export Bank of China (EximBank), “are not applicable to debt relief,” the Beijing spokesperson said. World time the day after the G-20 announcement. EximBank has funded more than 1,800 BRI projects in dozens of countries. By continuing to demand interest payments on loans, China will force poor countries to choose between servicing their debts and importing essentials such as food and medical supplies.

PREFERENTIAL OR PREDATORY?

Based on the information we have gathered from a wide range of sources, we estimate that between 2013 and 2017, China lent more than $ 120 billion to 67 countries, mostly developing, through the BIS. Exact figures are impossible to obtain due to the opacity of these loan agreements. But the loan growth that China reported for 2018 and 2019 suggests that these countries’ BIS debts now total at least $ 135 billion.

China has granted nearly half of all new loans to countries considered to be at high risk of default.

Figures like these put China as the number one international lender. In 2017, Pakistan, for example, had borrowed at least $ 21 billion from China, or 7% of its GDP. South Africa had borrowed about $ 14 billion, or 4% of its GDP. Both countries, like many others, owe much more to China than to the World Bank. Other countries owe China even more as a percentage of GDP. We estimate that in 2017, Djibouti’s debts to China totaled 80% of GDP; Ethiopia accounted for almost 20% of the GDP. And Kyrgyzstan, one of the first countries to receive IMF funds for the coronavirus, owed China more than 40% of its GDP. Since 2013, China has provided almost half of all new loans to countries considered to be at high risk of default.

China charges substantial interest on its loans. Although Beijing calls its rates “preferential,” some BRI projects, especially the larger ones, bear interest rates. more than three percentage points higher than the cost of capital of Chinese banks, about four to six percent. World Bank dollar loans to low-income countries, on the other hand, tend to have low rates. just above one percent. And given that China itself is one of the World Bank’s biggest borrowers, with $ 16 billion in outstanding loans, the country effectively borrows cheaply from the developed world and repays, through the BIS, a significant increase.

AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE

Chinese low-income borrowers depend on the dollar, the euro, and other major foreign currencies to pay for their imports and repay their debts. But many lack sufficient reserves to cover both. Zambia, a BRI client who has borrowed more than 6 billion dollars from China, has enough reservations cover only two-thirds of the foreign payments it will have to make in the coming year. Imports and debt servicing over the next year are expected to wipe out South Africa’s total reserves. If these countries default on their sovereign debt, which increasingly seems likely, they would be excluded from international credit markets and unable to manage the fiscal and trade deficits needed to curb the pandemic.

If the developing world cannot repay its debts, the global health and economic crisis will only worsen.

However, these countries are not the only ones to suffer from it. Even if defaults only start in a few countries, they will spread widely as investors flock to US Treasuries, German Bunds, gold and other traditional safe havens. At the beginning of April, foreign investors had already took of over $ 96 billion from all emerging markets, an exit rate well above that of the last financial crisis. As a result, the South African rand and the Brazilian real have each fallen 25% so far this year. Additional capital outflows will push these currencies down any further, the costs of sending essential imports are skyrocketing. Food prices are already prick across Africa. The United Nations projects that the continent will need to spend an additional $ 10.6 billion on health care this year to fight the pandemic, with foreign medical supplies and pharmaceuticals making up a large part of that. Increased capital flight therefore means greater malnutrition, faster disease transmission and more migration.

In short, if the developing world cannot repay its debts, the global health and economic crisis will only get worse. China, where the pandemic started, has certainly taken an economic hit. But with over $ 3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves and a currency that has remained stable throughout the crisis, it is much better positioned to weather the storm than most of its borrowers. These borrowers, with plummeting currencies, capital flight and threatening medical bills, are unable to repay the BIS to China.

Although commentators have long compared the BIS to a Marshall Plan for developing countries, the two initiatives could not be more different in their approach. The size of the funding may be comparable (US Marshall aid was worth about $ 145 billion in current dollars), but the similarities end there. Marshall aid consisted entirely of grants, while BIS funding consisted almost entirely of debt. This debt is now choking developing countries as they struggle to emerge from a devastating pandemic. Rather than adding to their woes, China should do its part to help lift these nations out of the crisis. It can start by declaring a full moratorium on BIS debt repayment until at least mid-2021.

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Remarks by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock – World

At the high-level event on financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Age of COVID-19 and beyond – as delivered

New York, September 29, 2020

Zeinab, thank you.

Excellencies, it has been a year of unpleasant surprises.

The virus itself, of course, took us by surprise.

Many were surprised by the severity of the global recession it brought about.

But we were not surprised that this recession hit hardest the fifty or so countries where some 100 million people already survive only thanks to the help they receive from humanitarian agencies like the ones I coordinate.

Some, however, were surprised at how quickly the damage was done.

As David Malpass has just said, for the first time since the 1990s, extreme poverty will increase. Life expectancy will drop. The annual number of deaths from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria is expected to double. The number of people at risk of starvation could also double.

The carnage is concentrated in the most vulnerable countries.

As the new report from goaltenders Bill and Melinda Gates indicates, the past 25 weeks threaten to destroy 25 years of developmental progress.

It is worth remembering what many poor countries looked like 25 years ago. I was working in a country where a quarter of children never saw their fifth birthday, most never went to school, and one in 18 women died in childbirth. Do we really want to get it all back?

No.

All the more surprising, then, that while richer countries have rightly rejected the rules for injecting liquidity and budget support into their own economies to protect their own citizens, they have done so little to protect countries. the poorest – who don’t have the capacity, resources or access to markets to do the same.

It’s surprising at first since everyone knows what to do. Many of the actions needed, especially to mobilize international financial institutions to help the most vulnerable countries, were taken as recently as the 2008-09 financial crisis.

This is surprising in the second place because much of what needs to happen would cost the better-off countries very little in budgetary terms, especially in the short term.

And third, it’s surprising that the richer countries don’t take action now is not just a failure of generosity or empathy. It is an act of self-harm. Like the virus, the problems that will be created by the huge economic contraction we are witnessing will come back to bite everyone. All around the world.

All the poverty, hunger, disease and suffering will fuel grievances and despair. And in their wake will come conflict, instability, migration and refugee flows, all providing relief to extremist and terrorist groups.

The consequences will be far away and will last a long time.

And no one will be able to say that he was surprised by it.

So let’s surprise ourselves in a positive sense.

Let’s take the obvious, inexpensive, self-interested and generous steps to mitigate all of this now.

Protect aid budgets, expand and expand debt relief as Kristalina said, beyond the debt service suspension initiative, issue SDRs and devote them to the poorest countries, and use the balance sheets of shared financial institutions more aggressively to protect the most vulnerable.

Thank you very much.

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How Will Debt Settlement Affect My Credit Rating?

Debt settlement usually has a negative impact on your credit rating. The negative impact depends on many factors: the current state of your credit, your reporting practices, creditors, the size of the debts being settled, whether your other debts are in good standing, how much less than the initial balance for which the debt is settled, and a host of other variables.

Key points to remember

  • While debt settlement may be the best option for eliminating past due obligations, it can negatively impact your credit score.
  • Ironically, stronger credit scores are harder to settle through debt settlement than poorer ones.
  • The best type of debt to settle is a single large debt that is one to three years past due.
  • Don’t try to pay off debt at the cost of falling behind on your other obligations.

Why debt settlement can hurt your credit score

Why would that have a negative impact, when you ease the burden of your obligations and your creditors get the money? Because strong credit scores are designed to reward accounts that were paid on time according to the original credit agreement before they are closed.

A debt settlement plan, in which you agree to repay a portion of your unpaid debt, modifies or cancels the original credit agreement. When the lender Closes the account due to a change in the original contract (as is often the case after settlement is complete), your score is lowered. Other lenders will likely take note and be wary of giving you credit in the future as well.

Nonetheless, it is possible that reducing the debt burden will lead to a subsequent drop in your credit score. The top credit card account balances and late or missed payments have probably already reduced it somewhat. If debt settlement is the path to a healthier financial future for you, this should be considered.

Let’s take a look at the process in more detail.

Will Paying Off Your Old Debt Increase Your Credit Score?

How Debt Settlements Work

As you know, your credit report is a snapshot of your financial past and your present. It shows the history of each of your accounts and loans, including the original terms of the loan agreement, your outstanding balance amount against your credit limit, and whether payments were made on time or on time. no. Each late payment is recorded.

You can negotiate a debt settlement agreement directly with your lender or seek help from a debt settlement company. Either way, you agree to only repay a portion of the outstanding debt. If the lender agrees, your debt is reported to credit bureaus as “payment paid”.

Although this is better for your report than a to cushion-it may even have a slightly positive impact if it erases delinquency– it does not have the same meaning as a note indicating that the debt has been “paid as agreed”.

The best case is to negotiate in advance with your creditor so that the account is declared “paid in full” (even if it is not). It doesn’t hurt your credit score as much.

What kind of debt do I have to pay off?

Since most creditors are unwilling to settle debts that are up to date and serviced with timely payments, you had better try and come to an agreement for older and seriously overdue debts, perhaps something that has already been taken to a collection service. It sounds counterintuitive, but in general your credit score drops less as you become more delinquent in your life. Payments.

However, keep in mind that if you have an unpaid debt that was sent to collectors over three years ago, paying it off through debt settlement could reactivate the debt and make it appear like a running collection. Make sure you understand your creditor before finalizing any deal.

A debt settlement stays on your credit report for seven years.

As with all debt, larger balances have a proportionately greater impact on your credit score. If you are settling small accounts, especially if you are aware of other larger accounts ready—Then the impact of a debt settlement may be negligible. Plus, settling multiple accounts hurts your score more than settling just one.

Debt Settlement vs Staying Up to Date

In your credit history, the most important weight is given to the history of payments, the current accounts having the most impact.If you are behind on other debts, it’s important to try to keep a newer one first. current account in good standing before attempting to rectify a long overdue account.

For example, if you have a car loan, mortgage, and three credit cards, and one of them is over 90 days past due, don’t try to settle that debt at the expense of other obligations. An unpaid account is better than having late payments on multiple accounts.

30%

The average amount of savings a consumer sees after debt settlement, according to the American Fair Credit Council.

It will also seem counterintuitive, but the stronger your credit score is in front of you. negotiate a debt settlement, the greater the fall. The Fair Isaac Corporation, the group behind the FICO score (the most common type of credit score) gives a scenario where a person with a credit score of 680 (who is already overdue on the credit card) would lose between 45 and 65 points after the payment is settled. debt for a credit card, while a person with a credit score of 780 (with no other late payments) would lose between 140 and 160 points.

The bottom line

Focused towards suffering debt can be scary, and you may want to do whatever you can to get out of it. In this situation, a debt settlement arrangement seems to be an attractive option. From a lender’s perspective, it may be better to arrange for payment of some, but not all, of the outstanding debt than to receive none. For you, a debt settlement has an impact on your credit report, but it can help you fix problems and rebuild.

Take into account opportunity cost not to pay off your debt. If you don’t settle for it, your score isn’t affected right away. However, non-payment can lead to late payments, defaults and collection attempts by credit agencies. These scenarios can end up hurting your score further in the long run. Occasionally, debt relief is the best option, but a clean slate is almost always good.

Think about taxes. The IRS generally considers the forgiven or forgiven debt as taxable income.Ask your tax advisor about the possible tax implications of a debt settlement.

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Biden considers executive action to provide federal student loan debt relief – FOX23 News

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden plans to take executive action to provide federal student loan debt relief to borrowers nationwide as he continues to call on Congress to take action amid the pandemic of coronavirus in progress.

>> Read more trending news

In a Twitter post Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said members of Biden’s team were considering his options.

“The president continues to support the cancellation of student debt to provide relief to students and families,” she wrote. “Our team is examining if there are any steps he can take through executive action and would welcome the opportunity to sign a bill sent to him by Congress.”

The announcement came after Psaki told a press conference that Biden “is calling on Congress to draft the proposal.” Previously, Biden had indicated that he was not sure that as president he would have the power to write off large swathes of student debt.

“I think it’s pretty questionable,” he said in December, according to Politico. ” I’m not sure of it. I probably wouldn’t do that.

A group of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Thursday urged Biden to use executive action to cancel $ 50,000 from the Federal student loan debt for each borrower. They presented the student loan forgiveness as a social justice issue that would particularly affect students of color and help close the country’s racial wealth gap.

“There’s not much the president can do with the stroke of a pen that will boost our economy more than canceling $ 50,000 in student debt,” Schumer said Thursday at a conference. press with Warren and other progressive lawmakers pushing for student debt relief. “It’s one of those things the president can do on his own.”

Republicans have opposed proposals to write off student loan debt, saying it unfairly shifts the burden from borrowers to taxpayers.

In a hearing Wednesday with Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Education, Sen. Richard Burr, RN.C., urged the president not to pursue the cancellation of student loan debt, which he called it “dangerous and reckless”. Instead, he called on Biden to work with Senators to pass legislation “that dramatically simplifies student loan repayment options, allows borrowers to pay whatever they can reasonably afford, capped at 10 percent of their discretionary income, and having their loan canceled after 20 years. “

Economists have also questioned whether a decision to write off student debt would have the desired effect. A analysis published in October by the Brookings Institution found that nearly 60% of unpaid student debt was owed by people with household income over $ 74,000, while those with the lowest incomes accounted for just under 20% of the debt unpaid.

In one editorial published in NovemberJames Looney, a former Treasury Department official and senior researcher at the Brookings Institution, said that forgetting $ 50,000 in student loan debt for each borrower would cost around $ 1,000 billion and would be one of ” largest transfer programs in US history “.

“And its most important effect would be to improve the finances of workers who have graduated from college, who have already tended to be winners in an economy marked by ever-growing inequalities,” he wrote.

Calls for debt cancellation have escalated after years of rising tuition fees that have contributed to the increase in national student debt. More than 43 million Americans owe a total of $ 1.6 trillion in federal student loans, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In an effort to provide relief shortly after last year’s pandemic, the administration of former President Donald Trump suspended federal student loan payments and set interest rates at zero percent. When he took office, Biden extended the moratorium until at least September 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Fitch fears Sri Lanka’s ability to repay foreign debt

Like Moody’s, Fitch says Sri Lanka will struggle to raise the $ 4 billion required each year over the next 5 years for external debt service

Fitch on Friday November 27 became the latest rating agency to cut Sri LankaColombo’s credit rating, expressing concerns about Colombo’s ability to repay its foreign debts.

Fitch said Sri Lanka’s 2021 budget unveiled last week, forecasting a deficit of $ 8.45 billion in 2021, lacked a “credible fiscal consolidation strategy.”

The international rating agency downgraded Sri Lanka one notch to “CCC” instead of “B”, indicating that a default is a “real possibility”.

The downgrade came a day after the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said it estimated the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) would decline 1.7% this year, but Fitch said she was less optimistic and forecast a contraction of 6.7%.

The central bank said Thursday, November 26, that it hopes the country could save around $ 4 billion this year through the ban on non-essential imports such as vehicles.

Import restrictions that were due to expire at the end of this year are now extended for another year, the bank said.

Two months ago, Moody’s had downgraded Sri Lanka’s sovereign credit rating by two notches, saying Colombo would have difficulty obtaining financing to service its large external debt.

At the time, the central bank called Moody’s downgrading “unjustified” and its analysis of error.

The two rating agencies say Sri Lanka will struggle to raise the $ 4 billion required each year over the next 5 years for external debt service amid a budget deficit of 8.9 percent of GDP. ‘next year.

“I think we can manage this fiscal gap, with better opportunities to reissue debt denominated in local and international currencies as they fall due,” Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

During his previous tenure as president from 2005 to 2015, Rajapaksa borrowed heavily from China for infrastructure projects, some of which ended up becoming white elephants.

His government insists they have not been trapped in Chinese debt as Western countries claim, although Colombo has announced plans to get more loans from China as well as India. . – Rappler.com

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Kenya to save $ 245 million with Chinese debt service suspension deal

China is one of Kenya’s largest foreign creditors, having loaned it billions of dollars to build railways, roads and other infrastructure projects over the past decade.

Kenya obtained a moratorium on debt repayment from China which will save him 27 billion shillings (245.23 million dollars) by June, his finance minister said on Wednesday (January 20).

The East African nation last week won a debt relief deal with the Paris Club of international lenders and is seeking deals with non-Paris Club bilateral creditors like China.

China is one of the country’s largest foreign creditors, having loaned it billions of dollars to build railways, roads and other infrastructure projects over the past decade.

Ukur Yatani, the finance minister, said the deal had already been reached, although China said on Monday (January 18) that it was ready to help Kenya get into debt, without giving further details.

“We are not going to pay now, but we are going to pay in the future,” Yatani said in an interview with private radio station Spice FM, referring to the figure of 27 billion shillings which was due.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt Kenya’s tax revenue collection at a time when more of its debts are falling due and it is still grappling with yawning budget deficits.

China has signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and granted waivers of interest-free loan due to 15 African countries as part of the G20 debt service suspension initiative , its embassy in Nairobi announced on Monday.

Kenya’s total debt jumped to 65.6% of gross domestic product in June 2020, from 62.4% a year earlier, the World Bank said in November. – Rappler.com

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Zambia seeks debt restructuring under common G20 framework

Zambia’s debts include $ 3 billion owed to China and Chinese entities

Zambia, now Africa’s first sovereign default in the era of the pandemic At the end of last year, said Friday (February 5), it had asked for a restructuring of its debt in a new framework supported by the Group of 20 major economies.

The precarious debt burden of a number of African countries has worsened due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Zambia did not pay a coupon on one of its dollar bonds in November, putting it in default.

The G20 initially offered the world’s poorest countries temporary relief of payments on debt to official creditors as part of its Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). In November, it is also launched a new framework designed to tackle unsustainable debt stocks.

Zambia is due to start negotiations to establish an aid package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next week. And in its statement, the Ministry of Finance said that the treatment of debt under the framework would be based on the debt sustainability analysis prepared in collaboration with the IMF.

All G20 and Paris Club creditors are expected to coordinate their engagement with Zambia through the common framework, the statement said.

Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu reiterated his country’s commitment to transparency and equal treatment of all creditors during the restructuring process.

“Our request to benefit from the G20 common framework will hopefully reassure all creditors of our commitment to such treatment,” he said.

Analysts said the request was expected and it was a positive move.

“The key remains to move towards resolving the default and moving towards an IMF program with a credible macro framework,” said Raza Agha, head of emerging markets credit strategy at Legal & General Investment Management.

Zambia’s sovereign dollar bonds were little changed at just over 50 cents on the dollar.

Last week, Chad became the first country to seek debt restructuring under the new framework. Ethiopia has said it will also use the G20 initiative.

Investors tried to assess how use of the framework, which provides for the participation of private creditors, might affect access to international capital markets.

Credit rating agencies have warned that even delaying the payment of coupons on Eurobonds would constitute default.

But some accused private creditors not to do their part in debt relief efforts. World Bank chief David Malpass criticized them for hitchhiking on DSSI relief.

“As the G20 develops this process, it is essential that it compels the private sector to participate,” said Eric LeCompte of Jubilee USA, who advocates for debt relief for poor countries.

Zambia’s $ 3 billion Eurobonds outstanding are not its only debt. It owes $ 3.5 billion in bilateral debt, $ 2.1 billion to multilateral agencies and $ 2.9 billion to other commercial lenders.

He owes around $ 3 billion to China and Chinese entities.

Some private creditors in Zambia have said that a lack of transparency regarding debt to China created an obstacle to their talks with the government.

China has agreed to participate in the G20 common framework, which observers say will require creditors and countries looking to restructure to be more open to information. – Rappler.com

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Zambia requests 6-month Eurobond debt repayment leave

After previously asking for debt relief from China, Zambia now requests suspension of debt service from its commercial creditors

Zambia has asked its international trade creditors for a 6-month debt deferral due to the severe consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, a senior government official told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Wednesday (September 23).

The government this week requested a suspension of debt service payments for 6 months from October 14 on 3 Eurobonds because its finances had been “seriously affected”, he said in a statement.

The country is in “a very difficult macroeconomic and budgetary situation”, he added.

A finance ministry statement said Zambia had decided to request the G20 debt service suspension initiative and had requested similar relief from its trade creditors.

Africa’s second-largest copper producer has also been hit by declining revenues due to falling metal prices.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been severe, hence a request for a suspension of payments,” Treasury Secretary Fredson Yamba told AFP.

Zambia had contracted 3 Eurobonds for a total amount of $ 3 billion – funds that were mainly spent on infrastructure development such as road construction.

The landlocked southern African country has already defaulted on some loans acquired for several construction projects, including those funded by China, leading to the suspension or abandonment of some.

“This is confirmation that Zambia is bankrupt,” independent analyst Mambo Haamaundu said. “Our cash flow is depleted and now we have to ask investors to give us time.”

Lenders will closely follow Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu’s speech on the 2021 budget on Friday, September 25.

“The demand for the status quo is not surprising given the significant external debt service schedule the government faces,” REDD Intelligence Research’s Mark Bohlund said in a note.

Until recently, the Zambian authorities had dismissed growing concerns about the true size of its external public debt, which had put pressure on the value of government bonds.

In July, President Edgar Lungu China’s demand for debt relief and cancellation due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. – Rappler.com

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Africa’s debt storm – East African Business Week

Staden bus

CAPE TOWN – The COVID-19 crisis is pushing Africa to the brink of financial collapse. African governments are under pressure to continue servicing their external loans, leaving them few resources to deal with a historic pandemic and its economic fallout. Without external support – in particular, a global freeze on repayments – some African economies will succumb under the burden of their debt. The resulting domino effect could jeopardize the development of the entire continent and also harm the richest countries.

The response from the international community so far has been mixed. The most notable milestone to date – the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for the world’s poorest countries – only covers official bilateral debt. But 61% of African DSSI countries’ debt service payments this year will go to private creditors, bondholders and multilateral lenders like the World Bank. And, despite assurances from the G20, some countries joining the DSSI were subsequently downgraded by global rating agencies.

The World Bank has played an unnecessary role here. Although its chairman, David Malpass, recently called for more debt relief and even raised the possibility of cancellation, he has also resisted calls to the Bank itself (one of Africa’s major lenders). ) to freeze debt repayments. Instead, the US-dominated institution seems more interested in scoring political points by urging the Development Bank of China to join the G20 initiative, even if it would actually affect only one. African country.

Geopolitics also derail the promising option of a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund (its global reserve asset) to unlock additional liquidity. This initiative is meeting resistance from the administration of US President Donald Trump, which fears that part of the funds will be channeled to countries like Iran.

A major problem for Africa is that it now has significant private sector debt. In May, a group of 25 of the continent’s largest private creditors was formed, in consultation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The organization’s executive secretary, Vera Songwe, lobbied for Africa’s debt to be bundled into an instrument resembling secured debt, backed by an AAA-rated multilateral financial institution or central bank. This would save countries time by quickly granting them a two-year repayment freeze to deal with the pandemic, without preventing them from exploiting future credit markets to finance economic recovery.

But private creditors were quick to reject these comprehensive approaches, insisting that African countries’ debt should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. This risks wasting so much time that many countries could default while they wait, which would be particularly maddening given the large profits these creditors have made by chasing Africa’s skyrocketing returns.

While neither of these proposals is a quick fix, Africa’s debt problem is not unsolvable. The continent’s debt service payments in 2020 amount to $ 44 billion. That’s a lot of money, but it’s a small change from the trillions of dollars that governments in rich countries are pumping into their own economies.

Pious lamentations about how “the poorest countries will suffer the most” accompany the infighting among Africa’s creditors. This answer assumes that if Africa’s plight is regrettable, it is also far away, and the continent will suffer quietly in its corner. Today, such thinking is terribly naive.

Until the start of this year, many African economies were experiencing robust growth. Now, without outside help to weather the COVID-19 storm, these countries could face economic collapse. It will directly affect the rich world in a way they are not prepared for.

For China, the current debt crisis represents its biggest political setback to date in Africa. The mainland’s economic value to China may have diminished somewhat, but its political value as a reliable voice bloc in multilateral institutions is increasing. If Democratic challenger Joe Biden wins the US presidential election in November, China will face concerted pressure within these organizations. And although China has adhered in principle to the G20 DSSI, its candidacy remains fragmentary and opaque.

The political costs are rising. China is currently facing a chorus of debt-related disapproval in Nigeria, both on social media and in the country’s House of Representatives. Nigerian politicians are demanding an audit of every Chinese loan to the country – an unprecedented move in Sino-African relations. If the economic and debt crisis worsens, this hostility will spread across the continent.

In previous difficult times, African opposition parties campaigned against the Chinese presence in their countries. Increased economic chaos can lead not only to an erosion of high-level African support for China in forums like the UN, but also to populist targeting of Chinese businesses and citizens.

The American engagement in Africa has a strong military and counterterrorism component. American policymakers should therefore be concerned that the Islamic State (IS) recently took control of a port in Mozambique. Africa has 1.2 billion inhabitants, with an average age of 19. A continent of adolescents without economic prospects will not be difficult to radicalize.

Europe is already grappling with the scandal of Greek authorities abandoning African migrants, leaving them to die on the high seas. If African economies collapse, Europe will face an unprecedented migration crisis that eclipses that of 2015, which almost sparked right-wing populist takeovers in several EU countries.

The cost of helping Africa weather this debt storm is miniscule, while the costs of not doing so are staggeringly huge. Many European Union member states have joined the DSSI, and they could support its extension when the G20 and the Paris Club of Sovereign Creditors meet again later this year. But avoiding nightmarish scenarios will require innovation. All of Africa’s financial partners, including multilateral institutions, private creditors and governments of rich countries, must join ECA and other African stakeholders to find a comprehensive and rapid solution.

Cobus van Staden is Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2020.
www.project-syndicate.org

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China’s “Debt Trap Diplomacy” Nonsense Allegations, Misuse of the Truth (US Expert)


Allegations of China’s engagement in “debt trap diplomacy” are “kind of nonsense” and “a distraction” from the fact that Chinese infrastructure financing has strengthened the capacities of many countries to low income to achieve better growth, said an American expert.

“We kind of put that issue aside very early on, without going beyond the low level of seriousness in terms of ‘debt diplomacy’ and ‘modern colonialism’ and that kind of nonsense. I mean it’s really a distraction, frankly, from what’s going on, “Sourabh Gupta, senior researcher at the Washington-based Institute for China-America Studies, told Xinhua on Monday.

“China has been providing resource-linked loans to African countries for over 20 years now. It has been a long time. They have a long track record. There is not a single country that is as such indebted to China,” he said, adding that “you have to understand, of course, that these are very capital intensive projects with long gestation periods.”

“There is no such thing as ‘debt trap diplomacy.’ If there are circumstances in which individual countries have certain problems with the amount of debts, which come due at some point, those debts are The payment profiles are being renegotiated, ”Gupta noted.

“In fact, the reason many Western investors have withdrawn from space is that they cannot afford the risk of doing so. And many Western governments have not even provided much infrastructure related funding anymore. “, did he declare. .

But the point is that such an investment is “very important” for many poor countries, because better infrastructure creates “the foundation and the framework” for them to accelerate economic growth, he said.

China has respectively built more than 6,000 km of railways and roads, nearly 20 ports and more than 80 major power plants across Africa, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at the meeting. ‘a briefing at the end of February.

It has signed debt relief agreements or reached a debt relief consensus with 16 African countries. As part of the Forum on Sino-African Cooperation, China has also waived interest-free loans due at the end of 2020 for 15 African countries, Wang said.


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EU to discuss debt relief for Africa – EURACTIV.com

EU countries will discuss a request for debt relief from five Sahel countries as part of efforts to help them deal with the coronavirus, European Council chief Charles Michel said on Tuesday (April 28th).

After video interviews with the leaders of the “G5 Sahel” countries – Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – Michel said the international community must do more to help Africa fight the pandemic.

Michel said the G5, whose region is on the front line of a nearly eight-year-old assault by armed Islamists, had called for foreign debt cancellation.

“We have agreed to have this debate with the (EU) member states, with our international partners – the IMF in particular,” Michel told reporters after the talks.

Africa is seen as particularly vulnerable to the pandemic, with experts fearing the continent’s weak health systems may not be able to stem the spread of the virus.

On the economic level, the fall in demand for minerals and tourism combined with the effect of confinements to slow the contagion should hammer African economies.

Michel noted that debt relief for Africa was not a new debate, but said the potentially devastating economic impact of the coronavirus had put it back on the agenda.

“I think there is a legitimate question, how is it possible to support African countries by opening this political debate on debt relief,” he said.

The IMF expects Africa’s GDP to shrink by 1.6% in 2020 – its worst result on record – while the World Bank has warned that the region could slip into its first recession in 25 years.

The G20 group of the world’s largest economies agreed earlier this month to a halt to debt payments for the world’s poorest countries, many of which are in Africa.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted that the bloc had announced “an additional 194 million euros” for G5 security forces as well as the provision of basic services in fragile areas.

He gave no further details on funding, timing or whether it was new funds or funds redirected from elsewhere.

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Africa must beware of the consequences of a debt moratorium — Quartz Africa

Africa is home to 41 of the 59 countries of the International Monetary Fund Low-income countries. These are structurally more vulnerable to external shocks such as Covid-19. The pandemic is affecting economies as governments implement increasingly aggressive lockdown procedures to stem the rate of spread of the virus. It is also straining the continent’s generally weak national health systems.

At the same time, the global economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic is weighing heavily on key commodity sectors and tourism. These are significant income for many countries in the region.

As a result, the economic impact of Covid-19 has triggered calls various stakeholders for a general moratorium (or moratorium) on all debt service owed to African creditors, whether bilateral, multilateral or commercial. In a letter to the international community, African finance ministers have called for an immediate waiver of all interest payments on public debt and sovereign bonds. In the case of the private sector, ministers identified immediate relief from all interest payments on trade credits, corporate bonds and lease payments. They also called for the activation of liquidity lines for African central banks.

For a continent with a young population, taking measures that increase the cost of financing businesses or infrastructure can be very costly.

These requests formed the basis of a growing story for a general moratorium on Africa’s debt. The IMF and World Bank have so far not publicly supported this call. Instead, they called on bilateral and multilateral creditors of International Development Association countries to provide debt waiver. These initiatives resulted in a statement from the G-20 announcing a debt suspension initiative jointly agreed with the Paris Club. This position provided a measure of assurance to commercial and private lenders. Like the IMF and the World Bank, commercial and private lenders recognize the unintended consequences that a general debt moratorium could have. However, commercial creditors know they must play a role due to the unprecedented scale and nature of the phenomenon we are currently facing.

But if the debt suspension initiative is applied as a blanket solution, it risks costing African countries much of the hard-won gains many have made over the past 15 years. These gains are linked to access to international capital markets and relatively lower cost of borrowing. Many African countries were able to access international trade finance for the first time during this period. This has not only expanded the pool of capital they can tap into, but has also helped build a credit history in international financial markets. As a result, some governments have seen their cost of debt decrease (for example, Ghana has successfully lowered interest rates on its Eurobond issues since 2015).

Nor would the proposed general moratorium be a victimless action. A significant portion of the international capital pool comes from private and public pension plans, educational endowments, charitable foundations and trusts. These institutions have a fiduciary duty to make investment decisions for the benefit of their beneficiaries. These include some of the most vulnerable members of society in both developed and developing economies, such as the elderly, as well as a wide range of employees (some of whom are poorly paid) who save for their retirement. The losses of their investments will affect many in a material way.

What was won

The gains of the last 15 years have not only been in terms of price. Some governments (such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya) have even managed to issue bonds with much longer deadlines in the Eurobond markets.

In addition, international business investors have helped develop and deepen local currency credit markets. The development of local currency bond markets has enabled African governments to borrow locally. This reduced their dependence on bilateral and multilateral lenders or the use of short-term paper instruments. Short-term paper instruments must be redeemed within one year from the date of issue.

African governments’ access to domestic bond markets as well as global financial markets is very important for the continued and sustainable development of African economies. The pool of capital that these markets provide is significantly larger than development finance or multilateral resources. In other words, the size of global debt capital markets dwarves the importance of the resources of multilateral organizations.

Even if market access were maintained after a general debt moratorium for Africa, this would likely result in a higher cost of borrowing.

Additionally, since most hard currency debt for the private sector is benchmarked off-sovereign, this has the potential to significantly increase funding costs for growing businesses in the region. Therefore, the repercussions of this action are not only for governments, but also for businesses. For a continent with such a young population, taking steps that could increase the cost of much-needed financing for business expansion or infrastructure investment can be very costly. Business expansion and infrastructure investment are the engines of growth and job creation.

Answers to a solution

In crafting workable solutions, there must be a clear recognition of the critical role that commercial creditors will play in helping Africa emerge from the current crisis and beyond.

The obvious question is to know where the capital will come from to finance public deficits. A rough estimate puts the cost of the pandemic above the $4 trillion mark. Even at $1 trillion, the IMF’s balance sheet is unlikely to be sufficient to help all African countries achieve a more sustainable trajectory.

In this context, it would be ideal to mobilize commercial lenders and investors to help fill the financing gap that many low-income countries, especially those in Africa, are likely to face.

It is rational to expect lenders and investors to understand that time is running out and it takes time to breathe. So, in these unprecedented times, lenders and investors must join the dialogue and be part of the solution to prevent unintended consequences that can be costly for Africa.

Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal, Professor of Banking and Financial Law, Queen Mary University of London

This article is republished from The conversation under Creative Commons license. Read it original article.

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IMF extends debt relief for 28 countries

ANKARA

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday evening approved a second six-month tranche of debt service relief for 28 low-income member countries under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).

This approval follows the first six-month tranche from April to October “and allows the disbursement of CCRT grants for the payment of IMF eligible debt service from October 14, 2020 to April 13, 2021” estimated at 227 million. dollars, read a statement from the IMF.

“Subject to the availability of sufficient resources within the CCRT, debt service relief could be provided for a total period of two years, until April 13, 2022, estimated at nearly $959 million,” did he declare.

According to the IMF, debt service relief will help countries use “scarce financial resources for life-saving emergency medical and other relief efforts… [to] combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global economy on the rise

On Tuesday, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said the global economy was coming back from the depths of the coronavirus crisis.

“But this calamity is far from over,” she warned, saying all countries now face “the long climb – a difficult climb that will be long, uneven and uncertain.” And prone to setbacks.

According to Georgieva, many countries have become more vulnerable as risks remain high, particularly due to rising bankruptcies and stretched valuations in financial markets.

“Their debt levels have increased due to their fiscal response to the crisis and the heavy losses in production and income,” she said.

“We estimate that global public debt will reach an all-time high of around 100% of GDP in 2020.”


The Anadolu Agency website contains only part of the news offered to subscribers of the AA News Broadcast System (HAS), and in summary form. Please contact us for subscription options.

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Calls for sovereign debt relief grow

When the man who led the UK’s austerity program starts campaigning for debt cancellation, you know the idea has become mainstream. Here’s what George Osborne’s chief of staff from 2006 to 2015, Rupert Harrison, said Last week:

He is not the only one. Former Governor of the Banque de France Jacques de Larosière said last week that some sovereigns would need to restructure their debt obligations.

The Peterson Institute, based in Washington, has, for its part, called for a debt stop for low- and middle-income countries, a topic that should dominate the upcoming (virtual) spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank.

The argument joins the idea that we are on the footing of a war economy.

How? ‘Or’ What? Well, wars are expensive. Taking the UK as an example, we can see in this graph, taken from This article on VoxEU.org, that the national debt has increased dramatically in times of conflict (and, of course, financial crisis):

Sometimes this means that sovereigns find themselves unable to meet their financial obligations. The UK, for example, defaulted* on its famous 5% World War I bond, paying off a 3.5% coupon instead.

The government’s response to the pandemic is well on its way to replicating that of a growing battle over the public debt burden. To boot, few now expect a quick and dramatic return to V-shaped growth in the third quarter, with economists now suggesting that quarterly GDP profiles are more likely to look like bathtubs or the Nike swoosh. .

Should we then consider corrective measures, such as the debt restructurings that took place after the Second World War, to revive the economy once the scourge of Covid-19 is rid of? A growing number of mainstream voices are saying yes.

Moreover, this particular conflict comes at a time when central banks are the main holders of public debt in several advanced economies.

The US Federal Reserve held $3.34 billion in US Treasuries as of April 1, making it by far the largest holder of government debt in the world. In the United Kingdom, the Bank of England, an institution created to finance William of Orange’s war with the French, on Friday increased its direct financing of the government by extending the Treasury overdraft facility.

The Bank basically provides a line of credit to governments here. And lines of credit are supposed to be repaid. Just like the coupon and principal of US government bonds held by the Fed. But would central banks, most of which are public institutions, act in the interest of the nation to compel the state to honor its obligations?

The most famous argument for a debt jubilee comes from John Maynard Keynes’s critique of the Treaty of Versailles, the contract designed to settle World War I reparations.

In The Economic Consequences of Peace, Keynes called for a general forgiveness of debts for a war that had strained the finances of Britain and other allies. Most of the debt was owed to the United States which, during the Versailles negotiations, opposed a cancellation of the reparations. Instead, much of the burden was placed on Germany.

The British economist’s argument was that without a debt jubilee, an economic recovery would be impossible and would sow the seeds of the next catastrophe. Over-indebtedness tends to weigh on growth because the money better spent on public spending is spent servicing the debt. A savings paradox can also arise, where the government seeks to save as much as possible, which makes sense for its own balance sheet, but not for an economy left in tatters that requires aggressive state intervention.

Keynes’ view that governments should poach their currencies to fund repayments proved ominously prophetic, as 1920s Germany suffered a period of hyperinflation to fund its reparations:

As inflation rises and the real value of money fluctuates wildly from month to month, all the permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so completely disordered that they have almost no more meaning; and the enrichment process degenerates into a bet and a lottery.

Lessons have been learned. So much so that in 1953 Germany and its creditors, which included governments and banks, signed a spectacular, complex and comprehensive debt relief package. The package paved the way for the Wirtschaftswunder, or economic miracle, of the post-war period. Going through this 2011 article by Adam Tooze of Columbia University:

[The settlement] gave Adenauer’s Germany both a major stake in the emerging international order and the economic muscle to sustain it…

…After 1952, consumer spending fell despite the rising level of economic activity and, for the first time in generations, Germany began to emerge as a great export champion fully capable of meeting its obligations outside…

…Thanks in large part to the decisions of 1952, the immediate result of post-World War II reconstruction was a successful, but narrowly Western European structure built around a conservative West Germany.

However, Tooze told us it’s best not to read too much into the historical parallels here:

It is quite clear that we would have seen a repeat of the odious debt problems of the 1920s without 1953. It was a crucial agreement, but it is so time-limited. Trying to paint this as analogous to the current situation is so tense. It must be judged at the time, the politics of this period were very different from those of today.

We recommend a full read of his 2011 article to better understand how different those times were and how remarkable the German colony truly was.

Those who argue that this time is different for reasons other than politics might also be right.

When Osborne finally settled the debt on the WWI 5% bond in 2014, the UK could borrow at much lower rates, largely thanks to QE. Debt financing costs have remained extremely low since, making interest charges less onerous.

Others worry that, rather than making things easier, reneging on commitments to central banks (as well as other creditors, such as pension funds) threatens to undermine trust in public institutions. This would create a bigger long-term economic headache because it would mean that, with eroded confidence, the state would find it more expensive to borrow from creditors in the future. Via Tom Clougherty, tax manager at the Center for Policy Studies:

Outright monetary financing is a very powerful genie to let out of the bottle. Assuming central banks ultimately want to normalize monetary policy and shrink their balance sheets, they must maintain a properly functioning government debt market.

More importantly, we remain in the eye of the pandemic. It is impossible to assess what the eventual cost of the economic transition measures taken by governments around the world will be. Or what the new normal will look like.

We’d be fairly confident, however, that the bill will be very large indeed. Every piece of economic data we have seen in recent weeks has signaled that we are dealing with an economic catastrophe of Great Depression proportions. Expect calls for sovereign debt cancellation to only grow.

* There is still much debate over whether the UK actually defaulted or not. Some, like Jim Leaviss of Bond Vigilantes, and Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff (see page 114), believe it. Others – see the links posted in the comments – think it is better to talk about restructuring.

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Covid19: Government has R300 million available for rent relief assistance

Government housing in Langa, Cape Town. (Getty)

  • R300million was made available for rental assistance during the nationwide lockdown.
  • Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Pam Tshwete said Covid-19 had disrupted budgets in all departments.
  • The provincial emergency grant was increased from Rand 377 million to Rand 672 million.

The government reallocated R300 million for rent relief assistance to social housing institutions during the nationwide shutdown.

This was revealed on Wednesday by the Department of Human Settlements in a hybrid session of Parliament’s portfolio committee on human settlements, water and sanitation.

The department also presented its adjusted budget for fiscal year 2020/21.

READ | SA facing the double storm of Covid-19 and hunger

Deputy Managing Director Joseph Leshabane said an additional R300 million has been reallocated to provide debt relief to borrowers in the affordable rental housing sector in the form of a grant to National Housing Finance Corporation.

“We have introduced two specific additions to our entity transfers. We are introducing an allocation of R300 million for affordable rent relief and another R300 million for affordable rent relief for tenants who do not stay. in social housing. This is a work in progress, and we will come back to the committee once this framework is finalized, “he said.

Leshabane said more money had been allocated for emergency housing.

“What you will see is the provincial emergency grant which has increased from Rand 377 million to Rand 672 million.

“Again, this is a very important adjustment because for us emergency housing under these circumstances has become quite central in the modernization of informal settlements,” he said.

Disturbances

Leshabane also added that consultations with the National Treasury are ongoing.

“On our schedule, we are on schedule to finalize our consultations, including the Treasury, by the end of this month.

“I say this because we now need to go back and review all the relief measures that are now available for households, UIF and other issues.

“Then we had to reconcile all of that to avoid a double-dipping scenario; it turned out to be much more intense than we had originally planned, but we have the proposal and the project is on the table. There is still work to be done. ,” he said.

READ | Lockdown: Dlamini-Zuma asks SCA for leave to appeal High Court ruling

MEPs also voiced concerns about the reduction of R377 million in the land title restoration grant.

Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Pam Tshwete said Covid-19 had disrupted budgets in all departments.

“We have to do things differently in the future because of Covid-19,” she said. “We take note of the fact that some budget cuts will have a negative impact on us.

“We fully understand that such cuts were made necessary by Covid-19 and we will do what we can with what we have. We spend what we are given.

“We will be monitoring municipalities and provinces, particularly on the issue of title deeds. We know that provinces do not always use this grant.”

The committee also called on the department to speed up the modernization of informal settlements.

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BoT adopts targeted, non-generalized debt relief measures for SMEs

BoT adopts targeted, non-generalized debt relief measures for SMEs

Measures postponed until next June for companies that have not fully recovered

Roong Mallikamas, Deputy Governor for Financial Stability and Corporate Strategy Group, Bank of Thailand.

The Bank of Thailand has put in place targeted debt moratorium measures, which are expected to end next June, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a line of credit of less than 100 million baht and with debts. difficulties in servicing their existing debts.

The targeted measures will end on June 30, 2021. This will only apply to the targeted SMEs that cannot cope with the repayment of loans to financial institutions due to the full non-recovery of business operations.

The central bank implemented large-scale debt relief measures on April 23 to help SMEs recover from the fallout from the pandemic, but the measures were due to end on October 22.

Roong Mallikamas, deputy governor responsible for financial stability and corporate strategy, said the central bank would let banks and non-bank companies negotiate with debtors on whether they can repay their debts normally or whether they prefer to continue. the debt moratorium program for another six months.

Banks and non-bank companies will need to collect information on SMEs for the extended debt moratorium by December of this year.

The value of debtors receiving debt relief measures in the formal banking system stands at 6.89 trillion baht, of which 1.35 trillion baht is allocated to SME loans of 1.05 million accounts.

Of the 1.35 trillion baht, 950 billion baht from 319,000 accounts representing 79% of total SME loans are classified as SME borrowers with contracted debt of less than 100 million baht. Commercial banks and non-bank companies are the creditors of this portion of the SME loan.

Of the 950 billion baht, 57 billion baht or 6% of SME loans from commercial banks and non-bank companies are classified as SME borrowers that banks and non-bank companies were unable to contact. .

The majority of SME borrowers say they intend to service their debts normally when the debt moratorium program expires next Thursday, according to the central bank.

“The Bank of Thailand has asked financial institutions to try to contact the 6% of debtor SMEs,” Ms. Roong said. “They will have more than two months or until the end of December to find them [debtors] and offer the option of a debt moratorium for another six months or to service their debts normally. “

She said financial institutions may also consider adjusting debt service terms for clients on a case-by-case basis to avoid an increase in non-performing loans, as well as adopting other tools such as reduced interest on credit cards and personal loans and the suspension of installments.

Borrowers will be able to resume repaying the full amount when the situation returns to normal, Ms. Roong said.

“The Bank of Thailand has been monitoring the situation closely and expects there will not be many defaults in a very short period of time. [cliff effect] after the end of the debt moratorium program, “she said.” This is because debtor SMEs whose creditors are specialized financial institutions, with loans totaling 400 billion baht, will continue to be under the debt moratorium regime for another six months. The majority of debtor SMEs, which owe a total of 950 billion baht to commercial banks and non-bank companies, also intend to repay their debts. “

The main reason for targeted debt moratorium measures, as opposed to general measures, is to avoid long-term negative repercussions, Roong said.

Debtors still bear the interest charges during the debt moratorium, while targeted measures are a way of discouraging moral hazard, as some debtors, who have not been significantly affected by the crisis, may choose to opt out. seize this opportunity to delay the repayment of the debt.

The longer period of the debt moratorium will also negatively affect financial stability, with an estimated cash loss of baht 200 billion resulting from the suspension of principal and interest repayments, Roong said.

With the relaxed lockdowns, each line of business has resumed operations, albeit at a varying pace.

Companies linked to beverages, agriculture, household appliances and petrochemicals have experienced a good recovery, according to the central bank.

In contrast, tourism-related businesses have recovered slowly from pre-crisis activity.

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Senator Jeff Smith: Time to Act on Student Debt | Column







BRANDON RAYGO ILLUSTRATION


By Jeff Smith | Democratic Member, Wisconsin Senate

Over the past four months, I have had the honor of participating in the Governor’s Task Force on Student Debt, created by Governor Tony Evers to address the student debt crisis affecting over 700,000 residents. of Wisconsin. Latest Board of Governors Statistics Show Student Debt Level Has Staggered $ 1.7 Trillion; Wisconsin alone has more than $ 24 billion in student loan debt, according to the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

After learning of the extent of the student debt crisis, the task force prepared to develop a strategy on how to bring needed relief to families in Wisconsin. Last month, the task force released its final report to Governor Evers outlining the crisis and providing eight recommendations to help resolve it.

For all the work we’ve done, one thing is clear: the time to act on student debt relief is now. As a state, we must embrace these policy recommendations and resolve this crisis to strengthen Wisconsin’s future.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the task force was able to hold eight virtual meetings. This format allowed us to hear testimonials from current and former students, parents, borrowers, lenders, and officials from other states. Some of the information was familiar to those of us who have navigated the system with our own children; other information highlighted the urgency of addressing this growing threat to our way of life.

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Congress passes coronavirus relief bill with $ 23 billion for agriculture and food

The United States House on Wednesday approved the final version of the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill with a margin of 220-211. As expected, the vote went almost entirely across parties, with only one House Democrat voting against and not a single Republican for. The legislation is now heading to the White House, where President Joe Biden has promised to sign it as soon as it reaches his office.

Dubbed the US bailout, the broad package represents a major expansion in pandemic aid and the social safety net. Likewise, it affects almost every corner of the US economy, including much of the agricultural sector. It contains a estimated at $ 23 billion in food and agricultural supplies, including a significant infusion of federal funds to strengthen supply chains and extend nutritional assistance to hungry families.

The main thing related to agriculture, however, is the roughly $ 4 billion that the bill provides for debt relief for black farmers and other groups that have long been the subject of debt. ‘systemic racism in federal agricultural policy. The provision, which has survived repeated attempts by the GOP to remove it during the legislative process, has been championed by a trio of Democrats who recently joined the Senate Committee on Agriculture: Raphael Warnock from Georgia, Cory Booker from New Jersey. and Ben Ray Luján from New Mexico. Last month, Warnock and Booker became just the second and third Black members with seats on the panel.

Under this provision, black, Native, Hispanic and other farmers of color can have up to 120% of their delinquent federal farm loans canceled. (The extra 20 percent goes to offset the federal tax burden associated with such debt relief.) A related provision includes an additional $ 1 billion to help these same farmers with training, education, and other forms of support. aid in the acquisition of land. Included in this second batch of money is funding for a newly created commission on racial equity at the United States Department of Agriculture.

The bill also includes more traditional tariffs. It is spending approximately $ 4 billion to respond to disruptions to the food supply chain caused by the pandemic and to make it more resilient in the future. It also increases the amount of food the government purchases directly from farmers for distribution to food banks and other nonprofits. And it includes money for smaller grants and loans to help businesses buy personal protective equipment, COVID tests and other safety items to protect food workers.

On the nutritional assistance front, the legislation extends last year’s 15% increase in SNAP benefits (i.e. food stamps) until the end of September, while aimed at making it easier to use these benefits for shopping online. Likewise, the bill expands several more targeted food aid programs, including those for women, children, homeless young adults and the elderly. It also has $ 1 billion in nutritional assistance for the US territories.

The focus of the Black Farmer Bill, however, is the most notable agriculture-related development. It comes at a time when Democrats – led by black lawmakers like Booker, Warnock, and new House Agriculture chairman David Scott – are increasingly extending racial justice concerns to the world of agriculture. For too long, they say, Washington’s view of agriculture has been too narrow and too white.

The bill’s specific debt relief provision was based on the Farmers of Color Emergency Relief Act, which was introduced last month by Warnock, and also draws on the article by Booker. more ambitious Justice for Black Farmers Act, which was introduced last year and even earlier this one. Republicans such as Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have fought to withdraw debt relief from the stimulus bill, calling it unconstitutional and claiming it is a form of racism in the United States. upside against white farmers.

Supporters, however, point to the long story of black farmers abused by federal farm policy. Among the most insidious abuses suffered by black farmers were the USDA’s long-standing discriminatory lending policies that denied or delayed access to credit, making it virtually impossible for them to compete in an industry long dominated by a government. federal.grow up or go out“ethos.

The share of American farmers who are black has declined dramatically over the past century, from nearly 15 percent in 1920 less than 2 percent today, based on the most recent federal data. The few black farmers who remain, meanwhile, earn a fraction of what their white counterparts do. According to a 2019 analysis According to the liberal Center for American Progress, the average full-time white farmer earned more than seven times as much as the average full-time black farmer in 2017. The situation is unlikely to have become any fairer in the years since followed. Until last October, for example, white farmers received, on average, four times as much federal aid as black farmers in the Trump administration under the USDA’s coronavirus food assistance program. , according to a recent report by the Environmental working group.

Biden has vowed his administration will do better on racial justice, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has also said tackling the USDA’s legacy of racism will be one of his top priorities. now that he’s back as head of the agency. Critics, however, are skeptical, given Vilsack’s track record on this front during his first stint in the department under then-President Barack Obama. Among Vilsack’s most damning criticisms came from a multi-part survey published by The counter in 2019, detailing claims his USDA routinely ran out of time for discrimination complaints while also trying to exclude many of those same black farmers. With the latest coronavirus aid program, Democrats have given Vilsack the opportunity to start righting some of these wrongs. Now it’s up to him and the USDA to do it.

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When debt relief does more harm than good

Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)

In a crisis, long-term planning can lose out on quick and dirty solutions, whatever the consequences.

As the pandemic and its economic fallout continue, more cash-strapped consumers could fall into this trap if the Great Recession is any indicator.

A recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that from 2007 to 2010, debt settlements – which can be financially risky – increased. Meanwhile, credit counseling, a debt relief option that keeps consumers in good standing with their creditors, has declined.

Before making a crisis decision, understand how to think about debt relief options.

Why isn’t debt settlement all it’s supposed to be

You’ve probably heard the commercials on the radio or maybe received a robocall promising a debt solution that can reduce what you owe by 50% or more.

Debt settlement demands are as high as the industry’s marketing budget. But these programs aren’t all they’re meant to be – and the ads gloss over the downsides.

With debt settlement, you stop paying creditors and instead direct your money to the debt settlement company, which holds it in an escrow account. Then, usually after several months, the company contacts your creditors and negotiates a deal where the creditor accepts less than was originally owed. That waiting period between when you stop paying creditors and the debt settlement (which is unsecured) is when things can go wrong.

“There is no free lunch,” says Glenn Downing, a certified financial planner in Miami. “There are really important trade-offs with debt settlement. I would try to make this a last resort.”

Debt settlement risks include:

• LEAVE YOURSELF OPEN TO PROSECUTION: When you stop making payments to creditors and debts become unpaid, you can be sued by the original creditor or by a debt collector who buys the debt. Until the debt is settled, whether through full payment, settlement or bankruptcy, you run the risk of being sued.

• BEFORE A TAX INVOICE: The IRS considers any amount of debt settled as taxable income.

• SAVE LESS THAN SAVED: Debt settlement companies often charge around 30% of your original debt balance. So even if you paid 50% of what you originally owed, you won’t come out as far as you might expect after paying the fees to the settlement company. In addition, your debt may continue to increase when you stop making payments, as late fees and interest are added to your balance.

• CREDIT DAMAGE: Missed payments and defaulting on your debts are some of the worst things you can do to your credit. These marks stay on your credit reports for about seven years and will make you appear risky to future creditors, which can prevent you from getting credit or having to pay higher interest rates.

A better choice for long-term financial health

What if there was a way to consolidate multiple credit card payments into one, at a lower interest rate, while still maintaining your good reputation with your creditors?

This is what credit counseling offers from nonprofit credit counseling agencies. These organizations have agreements with many credit card companies that offer a lower interest rate in exchange for regular monthly payments over three to five years to pay off your debt.

But many consumers are unaware of these benefits, according to a 2018 Harris Poll commissioned by Money Management International, a nonprofit credit counseling agency. He found that 62% of 2,012 respondents were unaware that credit counselors can consolidate multiple credit card debts into one payment. And 73% were unaware that credit counselors offer lower interest rates on credit card debt.

Credit counseling has its drawbacks. You usually need a regular income to qualify, and if you miss a payment, the deal can be terminated, leaving you to fend for yourself.

But for the long-term health of your credit profile, credit counseling is clearly the winner. This debt relief tool generally keeps consumers in good standing with creditors as they meet their obligations. The only damage to their credit profile would come from the closure of credit accounts, which some agencies require.

To find a reputable nonprofit credit counseling agency, look for one that has been certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Financial Counseling Association of America.

Know when a third option might be best

Before choosing debt settlement or credit counseling, determine if:

• You are barely able to repay your debts regularly.

• Your monthly debt repayments – excluding student loans and housing costs – exceed 40% of your take-home pay.

• Your debt interferes with your quality of life, for example by preventing you from sleeping at night.

If so, you might want to consider bankruptcy. Although it has been stigmatized, this debt relief tool can solve what you owe faster than credit counseling or debt settlement. Plus, credit scores can start to rebound quickly in the months after filing.

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the NerdWallet personal finance website. Related Links: Debt Relief: Understanding Your Options and the Consequences, http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-debt-relief; National Foundation for Credit Counseling, https://www.nfcc.org/; Financial Advisory Association of America, https://fcaa.org/

___

(c) 2020 Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.

Visit Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass. at www.telegram.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Dawn Medley Featured on Institutional Debt Cancellation – Today @ Wayne

On September 16 and 17, a team of higher education decision makers from across Ohio will meet to discuss opportunities for their state. As part of this convocation, which is facilitated by the National Governors Association (NGA), the team will explore opportunities to support students with a college degree but without a degree who carry public or institutional debt upon their return to complete their studies. . As they discuss options, the team will hear from some neighbors to the north, including Wayne State University.

Mixed

“I am delighted to discuss our Returning warrior debt relief program at Wayne State University, where we created a pathway for returning students to graduate by ‘learning’ how to get out of overdue university debt, ”said Wayne State University Associate Vice President of Dawn Medley Enrollment Management. “I am pleased to present alongside Melanie D’Evelyn of the Detroit Regional Chamber. Mélanie directs the Detroit Drives Degree (D3) program, which we are partnering with to enhance the talent pool in our Detroit area. “

In June 2019, the NGA launched the Educate for Opportunities Project focusing on supporting state efforts that link and align their post-secondary institutions with the needs of the state’s workforce and emphasizing adult engagement in educational pathways and training. This project is facilitated by NGA with funding from the Strada Education Network. Ohio is one of six states participating in this project.

Dawn Medley was invited to participate in a roundtable focused on Institutional Debt Cancellation to help Ohio policymakers gain a better understanding of how Wayne State’s program works and how such a program could possibly be put together. implemented in higher education institutions in Ohio, ”said the Ohio Vice Chancellor. Academic Affairs at the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Stephanie Davidson.

from Evelyn

“WSU is a key partner of the Detroit Regional Chamber in its D3 initiative, which is a collaborative effort to increase the post-secondary pass rate to 60% by 2030, while reducing by 50% l education equity gap for the region’s black and minority population. ”Said D’Evelyn. “By leading WSU’s nationally recognized debt relief effort, Dawn’s equity mindset is increasing access to education for the people of Detroit.”

Higher education institutions are the target audience for this panel. The panel will take place at 3 p.m. on September 16. Guests must Register to participate, and registrations will remain open after the start of the panel for those who arrive late and have not registered.

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Africa’s first pandemic default tests new effort to ease China’s debt

A new framework to solve debt crises in developing countries, intended to ensure that Chinese and private creditors share the aid burden, faces a key test after Zambia became the first African country to default during the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 major economies said on November 13 that they had finalized a new process to restructure the economy. debts of the poorest countries in the world, who now owes billions of dollars to Chinese public lenders and Western fund managers who bought back their dollar-denominated bonds in the years leading up to the pandemic.

Within this common framework, which G-20 officials hailed as a breakthrough after months of resistance from Beijing, Chinese lenders will participate in debt restructurings alongside rich, mostly Western countries. Private creditors will also be asked to provide relief on similar terms.

This is a big change from previous crises, when Western governments and multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were the major creditors of developing countries.

Hours after the new debt framework was announced, Zambia, which has borrowed heavily from China, missed a $ 42.5 million interest payment on some of its $ 3 billion denominated bonds in dollars, defaulting one of Africa’s largest copper producers. Zambia has said it needs a break from servicing these obligations to allow it to strike a deal with all of its creditors to bring its debts – now over 100% of gross domestic product – to a sustainable level. and get a bailout from the IMF.

“The framework was designed for the challenges that Zambia is currently facing,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, a non-governmental organization that advocates for debt relief for poor countries.

Zambia has some $ 12 billion in external debt, including $ 3 billion in international bonds and large loans from Chinese public lenders such as the Export-Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank. The government has not said exactly how much it owes Chinese lenders as a whole. Johns Hopkins University’s China-Africa Research Initiative estimates the country has signed some $ 9.7 billion in loans from China, although not all of that money has been withdrawn.

A committee of US and European bondholders who claim to own more than 40% of Zambia’s three dollar-denominated bonds said its members voted against the government’s demand to suspend payments due to lack of transparency on Zambia’s debts and on how the government intends to deal with other creditors, of which China is by far the most important. He also said the government had failed to come up with a credible plan to bring its budget deficits under control.

Mr. Lungu, second from left, and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Jie in a blueberry field in Chongwe, Zambia on November 13.


Photo:

Martin Mbangweta / Xinhua / Zuma Press

“We have no assurance from Zambia that it will treat the same with its other commercial creditors,” said Kevin Daly, investment manager for emerging markets debt at Aberdeen Asset Management and a member of the committee. .

In an interview with Zambian state television on Sunday, Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu said confidentiality agreements prevented him from disclosing the terms of the country’s loans to China. But, he said, the government had presented bondholders with its own confidentiality agreement, which, if signed, would allow it to give them more information about its Chinese loans.

Mr Daly said the bondholders refused to sign the deal because the government failed to provide assurances on all their issues, including the equal treatment of creditors.

In September, Zambia said the Development Bank of China had agreed to defer debt payments until April. But Ng’andu said on Sunday that other Chinese lenders were refusing to sign similar deferral agreements as long as the government was still paying bondholders.

“When I pay [the bondholders], the other creditors are going to put dynamite under my legs and blow my legs up. I left and I can no longer walk, ”he said. “If I don’t pay the bonds my legs will remain intact but I will probably get a bullet in my arm, I will bleed from my arm.”

On Monday, the ministry said its largest Chinese lender, China Exim Bank, had agreed to suspend some $ 110 million in interest and principal payments due between May 1 and December 31 of this year.

Responding to questions from the Wall Street Journal, China’s Foreign Ministry said Beijing participated in an earlier G-20 initiative that allows poor countries to suspend debt payments on bilateral loans until mid -2021, and took note of last week’s decision on the new debt crisis resolution framework. He said China is committed to the equal treatment of all creditors in Zambia and elsewhere, but multilateral lenders and private creditors should also shoulder some of the burden.

Zambia’s default follows those of Ecuador and Argentina, which restructured debt this spring as the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns weighed on the global economy and triggered a sharp drop in emerging market bonds. Lebanon defaulted in early March, days before the World Health Organization declared that the rapidly expanding epidemics of the virus had become a global pandemic.

Since then, bond markets have recovered, mainly due to ultra-low interest rates set by Western central banks. But the World Bank and the IMF have warned that other low- and middle-income countries are likely to struggle to repay their debts in years to come.

“We are not out of the woods,” said Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, after the announcement of the common debt framework. “This crisis is not over.

Write to Gabriele Steinhauser at [email protected] and Joe Wallace at [email protected]

Copyright © 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Google’s latest advertising policy restricts debt service ads and bans credit repair ads

Advertising for financial services is difficult. The industry has some of the the most expensive keywords on Google Ads (reaching almost $ 50 per click). More so, he has CPC and CPA higher than almost any other industry on Google.

Even beyond these costs, financiers are increasingly familiar with new regulations and policies in their industry on all sides, and Google is no stranger to this either. Google last week announcement an update of these restrictions. Starting in November, it will no longer run ads for credit repair services. At the same time, advertisers who want to run ads for debt settlement or management services will need to be certified by Google, as well as the governing bodies of where they want to run ads.

Although these rules apply to all advertisers worldwide, only certain countries will be able to request certification through Google. These policies affect anyone seeking to serve ads for these terms, whether they provide debt services directly, are lead generators, or connect consumers to third-party services.

Why is Google making this change?

As the increase in debt reaches new heights, so do a myriad of debt relief and credit repair scams. Unfortunately, too often these scams target the most vulnerable or those most in need of help.

Google search ad for tax break

When searchers turn to Google, it is essential that they are protected from scams or services that will only make their problems worse. By introducing new restrictions and certifications for these advertisers, Google hopes to tackle the bad players in the space.

How To Get Certified To Run Google Ads For Debt Management Services?

Ahead of those policies going into effect in November, Google said advertisers could apply for certification in the coming weeks. However, Google will only allow advertisers from certain countries to apply for certification. At launch, Google will allow certified debt management services to serve ads in the following countries:

  • United States
  • UK
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Spain

In addition to these regional restrictions, advertisers must meet other eligibility criteria in their country. For example, in the United States, Google will only allow ads promoting debt services if the advertiser and provider of those services is an approved nonprofit credit and budget counseling agency, such as defined by 11 US Code § 111.

Google policy for the United States

A full list of requirements for each country is available here.

And after?

Google hasn’t released more details, but we’re watching what will happen. WordStream customers who may be affected can, as always, contact their representative with any questions regarding this transition. This post will also be updated once Google’s certification for debt service ads becomes publicly available.


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FTC Settles Charges Against California Debt Relief Companies

The Federal Trade Commission settles charges against a group of California-based debt relief companies after alleging they made false promises to reduce or eliminate student loans in exchange for illegal upfront fees.

The FTC stands ready to settle with three different companies owned by Adam Owens, he announcement On Monday. The companies are called Navloan, Student Loan Assistance Center, and SLAC, also known as Aspyre. They will be permanently banned from the debt relief business under a deal.

The parties involved have agreed to a final order submitted to the United States District Court for the Central District of California. But a judge suspended the action for 60 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

If the court concludes the settlement, it will prevent the defendants from offering debt relief services. But it will allow them to help existing clients who fill out forms and submit documents to the Department of Education – if those clients choose to continue working with the companies. In addition, the settlement asks the defendants to turn over approximately $ 470,000 in assets. The remains of a $ 23.9 million judgment would be suspended because defendants are unable to pay more.

The FTC alleged that the defendants charged an upfront fee of $ 699 and a monthly fee of $ 39 while promising to reduce or eliminate student loans. But the cancellation of the loan is not guaranteed to anyone, and customer payments may vary from year to year.

Additionally, the alleged FTC defendants offered gift cards or checks for $ 20 in return for positive reviews on the Better Business Bureau website without disclosure, and that they either falsely advised consumers how. indicate their family size in Ministry of Education application documents or that in some cases they have falsified the family size of consumers without their knowledge.

“These companies promised people that they could get their student loans canceled, which was more than they could offer,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. communicated.

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Education Ministry Blocked Debt Relief for Scammed Students

He noted that many students have been swindled by predatory for-profit schools, which Ms DeVos has been accused of promoting with her policies. Nine percent of high school graduates attend for-profit colleges and universities, but 34 percent of delinquent loans belong to these students.

“No student should be a victim of fraud, and if there is fraud, there are consequences, and there will be consequences,” Ms. DeVos replied. “But we shouldn’t judge institutions on their tax status. Let’s be very honest here; there are bad actors on both sides of the equation.

She added, with some indignation: “Let’s talk about nonprofits that do bad work, that are prone to bribes, that lie to improve their statistics on US News and World Report. . referring to the recent college admissions scandal that rocked the Ivy League and other elite institutions.

Since taking office, Ms DeVos has attempted to overhaul the 2016 process launched by the Obama administration that was supposed to pave the way for students to get relief on their loans after their colleges were found to have misled them with exaggerated claims of false promises of employment. . The Obama administration approved nearly 30,000 such requests, estimated at $ 450 million, during its last year in office. The Ministry of Education approved 16,155 from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018.

The Obama administration rewrote the borrower defense rule, which was virtually unheard of until 2015, when two large for-profit chains, ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges, began to collapse. The new rule was due to come into effect in 2017.

But Ms DeVos has delayed the release of what she called “free money” and decided to narrow its scope to only forgive the debts of students who, no matter what their schools do, fail to cope with. obtain gainful employment and can prove that they have suffered harm.

A 2017 report of the Inspector General of the Ministry found that the Obama process had some flaws. Mrs DeVos set up a multi-level system grant partial relief to some borrowers, but these measures were overturned by the courts. The ministry then exceeded a deadline to rewrite the rules, which were to come into effect this year.

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FTC obtains temporary restraining order against student debt relief company

The Federal Trade Commission has blocked the operations of a group of companies claiming to be affiliated with the US Department of Education, accusing them of promoting student debt relief services but not keeping their promises.

Arete Financial Group and related companies violated the telemarketing sales rule and the FTC law, the FTC said in a complaint filed under seal Nov. 4 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Temporary restraining order granted, ending operations falsely promising student loan debt relief, FTC said in a press release Tuesday. The order temporarily prohibits certain business activities, including misrepresenting the facts about loan services, freezes the assets of the defendants and appoints a temporary receiver authorized to take control of the defendant companies.

These actions and “other fair reparations [are] in the public interest, ”said an order signed by US District Judge James V. Selna.

The defendants have been operating “an illegal debt relief program” since at least April 2014, the FTC said in its complaint. The defendants promised to enroll consumers in student loan cancellation, consolidation and repayment programs, promoting programs such as reducing or eliminating monthly loan payments and principal balances, a indicated the agency.

Instead of providing the promised benefits, companies have typically approached borrowers ‘lending departments to forborne or deferral – without consumers’ knowledge or without authorization, the FTC said. The companies have reportedly charged consumers $ 500 to $ 1,800 in upfront fees, as well as a monthly fee of between $ 19 and $ 49, and have collected at least $ 43 million in revenue since the operation began, according to the complaint. the FTC.

“Arete Financial Group charged illegal upfront fees and made false promises to consumers struggling with student loan debt,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “To avoid such scams, consumers should never prepay a company promising to provide debt relief.”

The companies claimed to be affiliated with the Department of Education in telemarketing calls as well as in radio, television and online advertisements, the FTC said.

Arete and its affiliates reportedly “get consumers to sign a power of attorney form” when signing up for services, then changed consumers’ login names and passwords on the Federal Aid website. students. The companies also changed consumer email addresses registered with loan services, according to the FTC’s complaint. Thereafter, consumers would not receive correspondence and would not have access to their own loan information.

“Consumers often find out that they have been scammed only after talking to their loan officer and realizing that the defendants have not made any payments to the agent, while pocketing the consumers’ payments for themselves,” says the complaint. “When consumers ask for their refund, defendants often refuse to issue full refunds and will only issue a partial refund or no refund at all.”

The defendants have reportedly revealed that they were in fact not affiliated with the Department of Education amid dense text in service agreements, according to the FTC complaint. Consumers have often been unable to process the disclosure because they were rushed through the process of signing the forms, he said.

Arete did not respond to a request for comment sent to its general messaging and legal department on Tuesday afternoon.

The complete list of corporate defendants is as follows: American Financial Support Services Inc .; Arete Financial Group (also doing business as Arete Financial Freedom); Arete Financial Group LLC; CBC Conglomerate LLC (also doing business as 1file.org); Diamond Choice Inc. (also doing business as Interest Rate Solutions); J&L Enterprise LLC (also doing business as Premier Solutions Servicing); La Casa Bonita Investments Inc. (formerly known as La Casa Bonita Investments LLC, also doing business as Education Loan Network and Edunet); and US Financial Freedom Center Inc. The individual defendants are Carey Howe, Anna Howe, Shunmin “Mike” Hsu, Ruddy Palacios (also known as Ruddy Barahona), Oliver Pomazi and Jay Singh. The lawsuit also names MJ Wealth Solutions, LLC, as a defendant for damages.

Tuesday’s temporary restraining order comes more than four years after the Office of Consumer Financial Protection wrote to several search engine companies asking them to help prevent student debt relief scams targeting borrowers. It occurs about two years after the FTC and states begin trying to crack down on student debt relief programs. The FTC has won settlements in its efforts, including a 2018 order approved by a judge which included a $ 11.7 million monetary judgment against the Los Angeles-based Student Debt Relief Group. At the time, that company would not have the funds to pay the bulk of the judgment and had to hand over almost all of its available assets, worth more than $ 2.3 million.

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California suffers the deadliest day yet; Governor Newsom Offers Debt Relief – CBS San Francisco

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Gov. Gavin Newsom confirmed on Thursday that California suffered the highest number of deaths in a single day from the COVID-19 emergency, while also announcing two new measures that would provide severe debt relief for Californians financially affected by the pandemic.

On Thursday afternoon, Newsom made the grim announcement that Wednesday marked the deadliest day for COVID-19 patients with 115 additional confirmed deaths. The state’s death toll is now 1,469, and public health officials have confirmed 37,369 cases statewide.

READ MORE: CDC panel recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11

FULL COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The new deaths were an 8.5% increase from the previous day.

On the bright side, Newsom said that for the first time, hospitalizations and intensive care cases were down, with hospital admissions falling 4.4% and intensive care cases 1.2%. The state now has 3,343 coronavirus patients in hospital and 1,204 in intensive care.

The governor opened Thursday’s COVID-19 response briefing focusing on the debt and financial support offered in stimulus payments. Newsom said 21 companies that handle student loans will give a 90-day grace period on payments with no late fees.

Newsom credited Illinois Governor JB Pritzker for leading efforts to support borrowers who were not covered by debt forbearance in the $ 2.2 trillion federal aid law, relief and economic security (CARES) against coronaviruses. Pritzker on Tuesday announced a similar order for residents on private and non-federal student loans.

The deal with these companies will provide 1.1 million Californians with student loan debt with a breach of those obligations.

Newsom also said it signed an executive order prohibiting debt collectors from seizing stimulus payments from funds. The order will also be retroactive, requiring debt collectors to return any money that had been seized from previous stimulus payments.

However, Newsom noted that the decree would not protect those who must keep children or spousal support.

READ MORE: COVID vaccine: CoCo County prepares to rapidly distribute vaccines for 5-11 year olds

Newsom also confirmed that 16 doctors are leaving the state to provide care in New York City, where the coronavirus continues to be concentrated. He praised UCSF, hailing the school for sending 20 doctors and nurses to New York offer help earlier this month.

“One of the great advantages of these doctors going to the front lines in New York is what they will bring back, which is a deep understanding and knowledge of what is happening at the most acute point of the disease. crisis in this country, and bring that to bear here in the state of California, ”Newsom said.

The governor thanked residents of the state who had joined the Californians For All initiative announced earlier this week. A total of 22,000 people signed up to the website on the first day of its launch.

Briefly referring to the planned increase in testing that had been the focus of Wednesday’s update, Newsom referred to a conversation with President Trump and confirmed that 90,000 promised test swabs were arriving in California for distribution on Friday with 10,000 additional swabs still awaited. Swabs are needed to administer any of the types of coronavirus tests.

Newsom also warned residents of the state that with the weather forecast indicating another hot and sunny weekend, now is not the time to rebel against the stay home order.

“Look, we’re entering a very hot weekend, the nicest weekend as far as warm weather you like, since January, or probably since last summer in the state of California. And that means that people tend to want to go to beaches, parks, playgrounds and hike, “Newsom said.” And I predict there will be a significant increase in volume. But I also think that s ‘there are, and people don’t practice physical distancing, I’ll be announcing in a week or so that those numbers are going to go up. I don’t think anyone wants to hear that.

“As this disease continues to spread, we must continue to be vigilant,” he concluded.

Raw video: Governor Gavin Newsom comments on maintaining social distancing and shelter-in-place orders

NO MORE NEWS: Supply Chain Issues: How Global Shortages Affect Consumers Nationally

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Castro Plan supports free college and targeted debt relief

Former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, one of the candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, released a comprehensive education plan Monday which calls for eliminating tuition fees at public colleges as well as delaying student loan payments until a degree starts paying for borrowers.

It’s the most detailed view of higher education offered by any Democratic candidate to date besides Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Contrary to Warren’s Higher Education Proposal Released last month, Castro’s plan encompasses all levels of public education, supporting universal pre-K as well as new investments in K-12 schools and teacher training.

While Castro’s proposal offers a more limited approach to student debt than the Warren plan, it fits his ambitions for college affordability and takes a similar hard line on for-profit colleges.

His proposal would see the federal government partner with states to offer free classes at public colleges and vocational schools. And that would increase the maximum Pell grant to $ 10,000 to cover other costs of participation.

The plan also calls for a zero cap on student loan repayments until a borrower’s income exceeds 250% of the federal poverty line (about $ 31,225 for a one-person household in 2019).

For borrowers in the process of repaying their student loans, the monthly payments would not exceed 10% of their adjusted gross income. After 20 years of repayment, including months without payments, the proposal calls for forgiveness for the amount owed on student loans.

Castro also offered a loan discount for borrowers who have used federal benefit programs like SNAP for three years over a five-year period. And the plan would allow student borrowers to pay off their loans through the bankruptcy process.

His plan calls for for-profit colleges to be excluded from federal aid programs and proposes tighter oversight of institutions that have converted to nonprofit status.

Castro’s plan also addresses access to higher education for marginalized students. The proposal does not specifically mention the Pell scholarships for incarcerated students, but calls for more educational opportunities for incarcerated minors and adults. And Castro is asking that deferred action for beneficiaries of incoming children and holders of temporary protection status be eligible for federal student aid programs.

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New York doctor fights coronavirus and student debt

A nurse receives help putting on her personal protective equipment before providing care to a Covid-19 patient at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in Chula Vista, Calif., April 10, 2020.

Photo: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

These last weeks, healthcare workers have been touted as heroes in the national response to the coronavirus pandemic. Wartime analogies circulate freely: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called the Covid-19 pandemic the most difficult global crisis since World War II. In a recent press briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made calls to “support our troops”, referring to healthcare workers as “the soldiers in this fight”.

In many ways, the comparison is relevant. Doctors, nurses and support staff find themselves in a war against a virus that has infected thousands and killed hundreds of their colleagues around the world. Public expressions of support for health professionals are significant. But they are also insufficient to quell the deafening silence on Capitol Hill in response to growing calls for relief measures – foremost among them the cancellation of educational debt.

Each Covid-19 patient admitted to hospital will be cared for by a team of professionals who, theoretically, have over $ 1 million in combined student debt.

I am a doctor and, unsurprisingly, have a large student loan. You can’t become a doctor in America without paying for years of graduate school, so I started my medical career with over $ 200,000 in student debt – the mean for graduates of medical schools. In the United States, the average salary for new doctors in training is about $ 57,000 per year. After four years of residency and about $ 20,000 in loan repayments later, I’m still scratching the interest. I owe more than when I graduated.

Now, as a resident in psychiatry in the national epicenter of this crisis, I am responsible for responding to mental health emergencies, including for patients positive for Covid-19. When I am not in the hospital, I will provide outpatient coverage for colleagues called to work shifts in emergency rooms and intensive care units. Many interns in junior psychiatry have already been “redeployed” to internal medicine teams overwhelmed by the tidal wave of Covid-19 patients. We are extended far beyond our initial job description. Even so, compared to my nursing, ER and intensive care colleagues, it’s easy.

Among the indebted health workers, young doctors are not alone. Almost 70 percent of all nurses – who are the real front line in this pandemic – training graduate with $ 40,000 to $ 150,000 in debt. My sister, a family medicine nurse practitioner who oversees the clinic at her local homeless shelter, has dutifully paid the interest on nursing school loans for 10 years without making a dent in the capital. Now she reuses the same paper gown every day to examine patients with symptoms of Covid-19. The average debt of a graduate student is about $ 30,000 – on par with the average annual salary of certified drug technicians, paramedics and ambulance crew members.

Imagine: Every Covid-19 patient admitted to hospital will be cared for by a team of professionals who, theoretically, have over $ 1 million in student debt combined. So of course you can call us heroes. But we would prefer debt relief.

Critics will say that an economic crisis is not the time to talk about student debt reform. Some see in such a reform the fact of placing a excessive load on US taxpayers. Others will remind us that we signed up for these jobs and, hey, at least we have jobs. But, in the age of Covid-19, the reality facing healthcare workers is more akin to a military deployment than a day’s work. We are now talking about front lines, redeployments, isolation zones, tours of duty. For many, these are no longer the jobs we signed up for, but they require skills that we have taken on debt to acquire.

A lot has been made of shortage personal protective equipment that plagues our country during this crisis. This shortage has already cost and will continue to cost healthcare workers their health and, for many, their lives. From concierge staff to respiratory therapists to treating physicians, we are filling the gaps in a system that is not designed for a global pandemic. And when the dust settles, many will have to rebuild their health while dealing with the very real trauma of working amidst an onslaught of sick, dying and grieving patients and their families.

Covid-19 healthcare veterans deserve better than the six-month suspension of loan repayments for all borrowers as part of the recently passed stimulus. Certainly we deserve better than the public service loan forgiveness program, for which many of us do not qualify and which – having rejected 99% of all applicants in 2018 – has been called “fundamentally broken” by the very government officials hired to manage it. If healthcare workers were to do our job as badly as the Department of Education handles student loans, patients would die at an alarming rate.

And yet, with impressive reliability, healthcare workers rise to the occasion, demonstrating their commitment to the ethics of the field. I am proud to be part of this community, proud to have skills that alleviate the suffering of patients. So what is a reasonable way for our government to repay this burden?

A look at the GI Bills of WWII can be instructive. Those GI invoices included immediate financial rewards for almost all veterans. Additional benefits included low cost mortgages, dedicated loans, dedicated unemployment compensation, and tuition allowances. The benefits were provided to all active veterinarians for at least 90 days within an allocated time period.

Like all systems of wealth, knowledge and power, the American health care system has its own discourse. What is said out loud works alongside what is silent. The word “hero” carries a loaded story. It originally referred to a person – a man, often of semi-divine origin – who displayed superhuman strength. Champion Heroes chat through thick and thin, sacrificing their well-being to the pursuit. Healthcare workers have been given the Herculean task of tackling Covid-19.

But we live in the real world, where we juggle this task with the same demands as any American: child care, mortgages, health insurance, rent, student loan repayment, etc. When nurses are called in soldiers and invited to war, we should ask ourselves what is being overlooked. When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Rejects Student Loan Plans forgiveness as “crazy”, we should ask who serves their language. And when Congress speaks on behalf of business, while remaining silent on an issue affecting 42 million graduates in debt, we should hear that silence out loud.

Speak, Uncle Sam. Support the troops.

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Students demand debt relief after for-profit college collapse, while leaders admit no wrongdoing

As a young high school graduate, Joseph Schettler dreamed of working for the FBI or becoming a forensic psychologist. He took steps to make those dreams come true.

Schettler became the first person in his family to attend college, enrolling in ITT Tech’s criminal justice program in 2006 with the school’s confidence that he would surely find a job in his field. Two years later, Schettler earned an associate’s degree. But he soon realized that the time and money he had devoted to his studies had not brought him closer to a job.

When Schettler tried to transfer to a nearby public college, he accepted very little of his credits. “I had to start all over again,” said Schettler, now 30, reflecting on that time. “I felt like I was losing $ 60,000.”

Several years later, ITT went bankrupt under the weight of accusations by state attorneys general and federal regulators that the school had misled students and investors. Now two of its top executives appear to be moving away from at least some of the relatively unscrupulous allegations.

ITT Managing Director Kevin Modany agreed to pay $ 200,000 to settle a lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations the school misled investors about the impact of two failed student loan programs on company results. The company’s chief financial officer, Daniel Fitzpatrick, will pay $ 100,000. The executives’ settlement with the SEC follows an agreement ITT reached with the agency. Lawyers for Modany and Fitzpatrick did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

In the last three full years of ITT’s existence, Modany has earned over $ 1 million per year in total compensation, according to a lawsuit filed by the company’s bankruptcy trustee. Shortly after ITT filed for bankruptcy, Modany brought forward a claim, asking for more than $ 5 million in deferred compensation as part of the process. (In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, the trustee overseeing ITT’s bankruptcy asked the judge to dismiss that claim.)

John Grisham: “reckoning day” arrives for student debt

Meanwhile, Schettler wakes up before 7 a.m. six days a week in his Michigan home and heads to his job which has nothing to do with his initial dream of working in criminal justice. He also does his military service. In total, Schettler said he earns less than $ 80,000 per year. He said his time at ITT and the years that followed took its toll. “I have no motivation or ambition to go to school,” he said. “I sell cars now for a living. “

The contrast in fates between ITT alumni like Schettler and the company’s senior executives is “unbelievably grotesque,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Harvard Law School’s Predatory Lending Project. At the same time that students face unreliable bankruptcy debt that they cannot get rid of by declaring bankruptcy and being told to take their degrees off their resumes when looking for a job, “the shell of the business is dischargeable in the event of bankruptcy and the debt is gone, ”she said.

And executives “are being told they can just walk away,” added Merrill, who represents former ITT students in the bankruptcy process.

Thousands of students demand debt relief

Schettler is one of thousands of former ITT students hoping to get debt relief through the process. Earlier this year, the trustee overseeing ITT’s bankruptcy urged the judge in the case to agree to a $ 1.5 billion settlement with a class of former students. Once the deal is finalized, students would be in line with other creditors to access the money left over after ITT’s bankruptcy case is closed. It would also write off nearly $ 600 million in money that ITT said students owed the school.

But the agreement does not address the bulk of student debt, which is held by the federal government because many students have taken out federal student loans. Even with the deal, “students will not be any closer to an outcome that could reasonably be described as fair in a bankruptcy context until that debt is gone,” Merrill said.

Former ITT students may have difficulty obtaining debt relief in other ways. The Education Department is rewriting a rule that relieves federal student loan borrowers when they have been misled by their schools. The rule, known as the borrower’s defense against repayment, has been in place since the 1990s, but was rarely used until 2015, when thousands of borrowers began claiming relief in the midst of the collapse of the large for-profit university chains.

After pressure from activists, the Obama administration drafted regulations to create a process for borrowers seeking relief and a system for officials to assess their claims. Now the ministry, under DeVos, is looking to change that system, including offering only partial relief to some borrowers who say they have been misled.

Schettler, who is married with two children, knows his debt is unlikely to be completely wiped out, but he hopes for some relief. “I am here beating my head to support my family and this debt over there is not helping,” he said. As for ITT and its officials, it feels like they are “getting away with it” without enough punishment.

“They wanted to make money, they wanted to get rich and they didn’t care how people were hurting,” he said.

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There is no shortcut to debt relief – so don’t believe the hype

The office further said the company broke a second law – the Consumer Financial Protection Act – when it billed debtors without settling their debts. The agency alleged that Freedom charges fees – sometimes thousands of dollars – even when borrowers themselves negotiate settlements with their creditors.

Further, the bureau alleges that the company has kept from its customers the fact that several major banks have an ongoing policy of never working with a debt settlement company.

Freedom also asked consumers negotiating their own settlements to “expressly mislead” their creditors when asked if they were enrolled in a debt settlement program, the office alleged.

In response to the settlement, Freedom said it was working with the office to resolve issues raised in the lawsuit.

“In resolving the case, we have agreed to make some changes to our disclosures and policies to improve our program, many of which were implemented when the case was first filed,” Freedom said in a statement. communicated.

This is how debt settlement or debt relief service programs typically work: the company promises to work on your behalf, claiming they are better able to negotiate a deal to reduce your unsecured debt. , like what you might owe on a credit card.

Consumers are often told to stop communicating with their creditors. As a general rule, clients are also advised to stop any payment they might make and put the money in a bank account with the intention that the debt settlement company will offer creditors a lump sum offer lower than that. which is due.

One of the biggest problems with debt settlement programs is that they can encourage consumers who manage to keep up with their payments to default on their debts. Debtors who are already in default are told that they must also make payments to a bank account so that they too can accumulate enough money to make a lump sum offer to settle their debts cheaply.

This strategy makes sense on paper. Creditors or the collection companies they hire can spend a lot of time trying to get what is owed to them. So, they may be willing to accept a lump sum.

But for those who are desperate to get out of a financial hole, working with a debt settlement company can make matters worse. When you stop paying your creditors under a debt settlement plan, you risk triggering penalties, higher interest rates, and other fees. So, while you wait – sometimes for years – to see if debts can be paid off for less than you owe, your debt burden may increase. Ultimately, as was the case with some Freedom clients, many creditors may refuse to negotiate with debt settlement companies and take legal action against you.

Debt settlement doesn’t come cheap either.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Freedom’s fees typically range between 18 and 25 percent of the debt amount. This means that you have to weigh the fees you pay with the growth in your debt, as this could outweigh any savings you might make. Additionally, many people fail to make payments to make up a lump sum offer.

“Debt settlement and similar programs offered by companies like Freedom often do more harm than good and turn out to be a waste of money,” Andrew Pizor, lawyer for the National Consumer Law Center, said in a statement. . “Consumers should speak directly to their creditors and conduct their own debt settlement negotiations, or they should speak to a qualified consumer bankruptcy lawyer. “

Overall, the debt settlement industry has been plagued for decades by shady practices and blatant scams that benefit consumers struggling with their debt load, said Robert Lawless, Max L. Rowe at the University of Illinois College of Law.

“People have to be very careful when choosing a debt relief provider,” Lawless said.

If you want low cost debt relief, I suggest you get help from a nonprofit credit counseling agency. To find a local agency, go to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website – nfcc.org. The agency can help you set up a debt repayment plan for a relatively low monthly fee.

There is no shortcut to debt relief. So don’t believe the hype.


Michelle Singletary can be reached at michelle.singletary
@ washpost.com.

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Biden officials plan to take action to ease student debt | Taiwan News

The Biden administration is examining whether it can take steps to ease student debt through executive action, even as it continues to call on Congress to pass legislation to help borrowers and their families.

A tweet from White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to go beyond her comments at a briefing earlier Thursday, when she said President Joe Biden was counting on Congress to act next on student loan relief. Biden said he supports up to $ 10,000 of student loan cancellations per borrower.

“The president continues to support the cancellation of student debt to provide relief to students and families,” Psaki tweeted. “Our team is examining if there are any steps he can take through executive action and would welcome the opportunity to sign a bill sent to him by Congress.”

It came hours after a group of Democrats urged Biden to use executive action to write off $ 50,000 in federal student debt for all borrowers. The group, which included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said it is boosting the economy and helping close the country’s racial wealth gap.

Biden had previously said he supported erasing student debt of up to $ 10,000 through legislation, but had shown no interest in executive action. During a briefing before posting his statement on Twitter, Psaki appeared to reject the idea of ​​using presidential powers to write off debt, saying Biden had already suspended student loan payments during the pandemic.

“He would look to Congress for the next steps,” she said.

Lawyers have fallen on either side of whether Biden himself has the power to grant loan relief, with some saying the move is unlikely to survive a legal challenge.

The Trump administration took action to block a large-scale debt cancellation in early January, issuing an Education Department note concluding that the secretary did not have the authority to provide such assistance and that it would be up to Congress. .

Schumer said he and Warren had researched the matter and concluded that “it’s one of those things the president can do on his own.” Former presidents have written off the debt, Schumer said, but not on the scale proposed.

Democrats are pressing the issue as a matter of racial justice and COVID-19 relief. They rely on statistics showing that black and Latino borrowers are more likely to take on student debt and take longer to repay their loans.

Representative Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Said the student debt crisis “has always been a matter of racial and economic justice.”

“But for too long, the narrative has excluded black and Latin communities, and the ways in which that debt has exacerbated deep-rooted racial and economic inequalities in our country,” she said.

Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Also supports the measure, which said it would help millions of Americans who suffered financial losses during the pandemic. “The last thing people should worry about is their student debt,” she said.

Calls for debt cancellation have escalated after years of rising tuition fees that have contributed to the increase in national student debt. More than 42 million Americans now hold federal student loans totaling $ 1.5 trillion, according to data from the Department of Education.

In an effort to provide relief shortly after last year’s pandemic, the Trump administration suspended federal student loan payments and set interest rates at zero percent. When he took office, Biden extended the moratorium until at least September 30.

Some Democrats say that’s not enough, and Schumer said he recently met with Biden to advocate for broader relief.

Canceling $ 50,000 in student debt would cost about $ 650 billion, Warren said. She says it would be a “big boon” to the economy by allowing more Americans to buy homes and start businesses.

Republicans have pledged to fight any attempt at blanket debt cancellation, saying it unfairly shifts the burden from borrowers to taxpayers.

In a hearing Wednesday with Biden’s candidate for Education Secretary, Senator Richard Burr, RN.C., urged the White House to reject calls for mass pardon and instead pursue legislation aimed at to simplify loan repayment options.

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Pakistani government expects about $ 300 million in debt relief from France

Just days after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan denounced French President Emmanuel Macron for his remarks against Islamist extremism and hundreds and thousands of Pakistanis marched through the streets to demand nuclear weapons from France, Islamabad expects debt relief from France worth hundreds of millions of dollars from France.

According to a report By The Express Tribune, Pakistan had qualified for the G-20 relief initiative announced in April this year for the period May-December 2020 to tackle the financial impact of the pandemic, alongside 76 poor African countries. The relief was conditional on each country making a formal request. Over the past seven months, Pakistan, which is going through a catastrophic currency crisis and whose total debt in August stood at $ 25.4 billion, has been able to secure around $ 800 million in debt freeze deals from 14 of the G-20 countries, including France.

According to official documents, Pakistan has not yet finalized the terms of debt rescheduling with Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Pakistan apparently did not reimburse these countries, on the understanding that these members would eventually sign the agreements in accordance with the G-20 agenda.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs estimated that it was eligible for a total of $ 1.8 billion in temporary debt relief for members of the G-20 countries for the period May-December 2020, which included 1, $ 47 billion in loan repayments and $ 323 million in loan interest. Among these, they were able to sign agreements to defer the repayment of loans amounting to 800 million dollars to 14 nations.

The ministry estimates that Pakistan can receive $ 613 million in temporary debt relief from Saudi Arabia, $ 309 million from China, $ 23 million from Canada, $ 183 million from France, $ 99 million from Germany, $ 6 million from Italy, $ 373 million from Japan, $ 47 million from South Korea, $ 14 million from Russia, $ 1 million from UK and $ 128 million of United States dollars.

Pakistan expects France to grant debt relief of $ 183 million and $ 104 million in two phases

As the threat of COVID-19 comes back with vengeance and begins to affect countries again, the G-20 countries have decided to extend the debt relief initiative for another six months (January-June) 2021. Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee on Friday approved approval to make another formal request to the G-20 countries for an extension of the debt relief initiative for an additional six months.

With the G-20 extending the relief, the Ministry of Economic Affairs expects Pakistan to receive relief of $ 915 million for the extended 6-month period. This includes $ 385 million from China, $ 211 million from Japan, $ 104 million from France, $ 53.6 million from Germany, $ 65 million from US $ 12 million from Saudi Arabia. , $ 7 million from Russia and $ 0.5 million from the United Arab Emirates.

So Pakistan expects debt rescheduling relief worth $ 183 million from France for the first eight-month period of Mya-December, it estimates $ 104 million relief for the extended term of six months from January to June 2021. Therefore, France’s total relief estimate is US $ 287 million for the entire 14-month period.

So far, Pakistani authorities have concluded 27 debt rescheduling agreements with around 16 countries, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The France-Pakistan relationship in free fall

The Pakistani government is openly raging against France and in particular French President Emmanuel Macron after his denunciation of radical Islam following the macabre beheading of a French teacher by an Islamist terrorist.

Macron spoke out against the extremism engendered by radical Islam and stressed the need to develop an “Enlightenment Islam”. At the same time, the French authorities launched a campaign of repression against certain mosques and expelled people they considered to be involved in extremist activities in France.

This elicited a harsh reaction from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who appeared to justify the beheading of Mr Paty during his speech at the UNGA. Imran Khan had also criticized Macron’s “leadership”.

However, Khan didn’t stop there. With the aim of appearing as the leader of the Muslim Ummah, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan intensified his attack on Western countries, in particular against France, by issuing a statement in which he made a clarion call to Muslim world leaders to take note of the “growing Islamophobia” in non-Muslim states. The Pakistani National Assembly had voted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of its ambassador to France, forgetting that for the moment, Pakistan did not have an ambassador in Paris.

The Pakistani Senate also passed a resolution against France, and calls for a boycott of French products have been made by both politicians and Pakistani citizens.

Pakistani citizens called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to throw nuclear weapons at France and impose a blanket ban on French products

Even as Imran Khan continued to criticize Emmanuel Macron, Pakistani social media users urged their Prime Minister to launch a “nuclear attack” against France. Social media platforms in Pakistan were teeming with messages asking Imran Khan to bomb France and their compatriots to boycott all French products.

France too had responded in its own way, refusing to modernize Pakistan’s Mirage fighter jets and submarines. Recently Pakistani Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari shared a questionable report on Twitter saying, “Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to Jews. The French Embassy in Pakistan called her lies that the claim she made on Twitter was nothing more than “false news and false accusations.” The French foreign ministry had asked the Pakistani authorities to withdraw the insulting remarks of the Pakistani minister against Macron. The tweet was then deleted.

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CFPB Settles With Freedom Debt Relief | Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

On July 9, 2019, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a final judgment stipulated and order in file 17-cv-06484, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau c. Freedom Debt Relief, LLC, et al. Under the stipulated judgment, Freedom Debt Relief, LLC (Freedom Debt Relief is not related to Freedom Mortgage Company) is prohibited from engaging in deceptive behavior and charging fees for non-settlement resolutions with consumers regarding the debts that the company has agreed to negotiate. Freedom Debt Relief is also required to provide certain information regarding negotiations with creditors and consumers’ right to settlement funds upon withdrawal from the debt relief program. The company is required to pay the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) $ 20 million for restitution and submit to the CFPB a comprehensive repair and compliance plan identifying affected consumers and otherwise complying with the stipulated judgment. Finally, Freedom Debt Relief is required to pay a civil fine of $ 5 million, of which $ 439,500 is to be paid to the FDIC under a different consent order.

On November 8, 2017, the CFPB filed an action against Freedom Debt Relief and Andrew Housser, co-founder and co-CEO of the company. The CFPB has filed its first amended complaint on June 1, 2018. According to the complaint, Freedom Debt Relief provided consumer debt relief through a debt settlement program in which consumers deposited funds into an FDIC-insured bank, and the company negotiated with consumers’ creditors to settle their debts. The CFPB alleged that Freedom Debt Relief failed to notify consumers that if they opt out of debt settlement programs, they will get their deposits back, less any fees incurred. Notably, Freedom Debt Relief allegedly distorted the fees charged to consumers. In addition, while the company would have known that some creditors would not negotiate consumers’ debts, it nonetheless indicated to consumers that all creditors would negotiate. Additionally, Freedom Debt Relief allegedly encouraged consumers to distort its involvement in their accounts when consumers negotiated directly with creditors.

In the first amended complaint, the CFPB pleaded five counts of alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). Specifically, the CFPB alleged breaches of the CFPA for (i) misleading consumers about creditors’ willingness to negotiate freely; (ii) mislead consumers about charges; (iii) unduly force consumers to negotiate themselves; as well as violations of the CFPA and TSR for (iv) failure to clearly and conspicuously disclose consumer rights to funds; and (v) charge a fee in the absence of a settlement. Without admitting or denying the CFPB’s allegations, other than the facts necessary to establish the tribunal’s jurisdiction, Freedom Debt Relief and Andrew Housser agreed to a final judgment stipulated on July 9, 2019.

To take with:

Settlements with the CFPB have historically tended to include injunctions against the continuation of the illegal activities of defendants and monitoring or reporting to ensure compliance. While Freedom Debt Relief’s stipulated judgment provides for a similar remedy, it also includes a hefty fine of $ 20 million for restitution, as well as a civil penalty of $ 5 million. Looking ahead, we can probably expect future settlements under the leadership of Kathy Kraninger to include similar provisions.

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Haverford’s student loan debt payment

As we begin the new year, it is a good time to consider some initiatives in higher education that deserve more attention and wider adoption. Colleges have recently introduced creative policies in areas such as financial aid, college programs, and student success. This month, I plan to highlight a few of those efforts in the hope that they will be seen as models for testing in other institutions. The first is the Haverford College student loan repayment program.

Haverford College introduced a new financial aid program, which pays the first year of loan obligations for students in its class of 2019. According to report by Inside higher education (IHE), under the new program, 12 Haverford graduates (out of a total of 318) will be the first to receive debt relief, ranging from $ 900 to $ 1,500 each. They will also be able to request two additional years of loan repayment.

Here is the institutional context of the Haverford initiative. It follows earlier college decisions to 1) waive the promise that its students would not have to take out loans to pay for their education and 2) end its unnecessarily admissions policy and admit a small number of students in part according to their abilities. to pay.

The college still promises students from families earning less than $ 60,000 a year that they won’t have to take out loans to pay for their education. Those who earn more may need to take out loans, but they should still be less than what is allowed within federal limits. According to IHE, Haverford borrowers average about $ 13,600 in loans.

The end of the no-loan policy went into effect for first-year students enrolling in 2015, expecting to graduate in 2019. In the breach came Steven M. Jaharis, a board member of Haverford administration, whose family foundation donated $ 2 million to endow a fund that would help pay off graduate debt.

Cited in IHE, Jaharis said, “Everyone on the board was disappointed when we couldn’t maintain the no-loan policy. I felt we needed to let the students know that we care about this issue and that it is a big deal.

Haverford’s reimbursement program has several requirements.

  • Recipients must be eligible for financial assistance based on need.
  • They may not have access to other loan deferral options, and they must be unemployed or on a “low income trajectory due to choice of occupation”.
  • The new endowment will cover loan payments only up to the amount a student could borrow under Haverford’s financial aid policies. In other words, repayments are capped – if students borrow more than what the college recommends, they won’t be covered for the “excess” amount.

The Haverford program could become a form of financial aid to emulate for other institutions, albeit with adjustments tailored to the unique circumstances encountered in specific schools. As the most obvious example of the importance of the institutional context, the average debt of Haverford graduates in 2019 was just under $ 14,000, less than half the obligation of the typical bachelor who takes out student loans.

However, the benefits of the program are manifold.

  • Loan repayments are only made for graduate students, thus providing – unlike scholarships – a strong incentive for college completion;
  • Annual reimbursement amounts can be funded from small endowments, making program subscription accessible to more donors;
  • Limiting repayments is a useful constraint for students who borrow more than they need to cover their studies;
  • The criteria are of particular benefit to students who wish to enter occupations which may not be highly remunerative but which serve an important public interest.
  • The possibility of extending loan repayments for a second and third year is part of a process of permanent contact between the alumni and the college.

It remains to be seen to what extent other institutions will adopt the Haverford model, but the idea has several clear merits as a complement, if not a substitute, for institutional support. This is another example of how even relatively small amounts of aid can make a big difference when based on financial need and available at the right time.

Then, in Part 2, the University of Rhode Island faces budget cuts by investing heavily in student success.

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Prime Minister Imran calls on world for debt relief in Covid-19 war – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan once again called on leaders of rich countries, the UN Secretary General and heads of financial institutions to give debt relief to developing countries like Pakistan so that they can better fight against Covid-19.

In a video message to the international community broadcast on Sunday by TV channels, the Prime Minister highlighted the difficulties faced by developing countries, especially those who are heavily indebted, in dealing with the situation and said that the biggest challenge for the nations of the developing world was to save their people from pandemic death and hunger due to the prolonged lockdowns triggered by the disease.

Referring to the enormous aid announced by the American, German and Japanese governments in their countries to deal with the situation, the Prime Minister said that the maximum “we can afford is $ 8 billion”.

PM says Pakistan has no money to spend on already overburdened health services

“This is the problem with most of the countries in the developing world suffering from very high debt-to-GDP ratios, so the problem in these heavily indebted countries is that they are now facing a lack of fiscal space.” Mr. Khan said, adding: “We don’t have the money to spend on already overburdened health services, and second, to prevent people from starving to death.

“Therefore, I call on world leaders, the UN Secretary General (Antonio Guterres) and heads of financial institutions, to launch an initiative, an initiative that will provide debt relief to developing countries to fight against the coronavirus, ”he said.

Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities at the end of December last year stood at around Rs 41 trillion, or nearly 94% of the country’s GDP.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Khan compared the difference in approaches of developed and developing countries in tackling the pandemic.

“As the global response to the crisis unfolds, we are seeing two different responses,” he said, adding that developed countries have adopted a policy to focus first on containing the crisis. virus through blockages, and then on the management of the economic impact.

“In the developing world, in addition to containing the virus and dealing with the economic crisis, our biggest concern now is saving people from starving to death. The dilemma on the one hand is to save people from Covid-19 and on the other to prevent them from starving to death due to prolonged lockdowns, ”the prime minister said.

On top of that, Khan pointed out, there was a huge difference in the resources available to developing countries and the developed world, stating that the United States had already proposed a $ 2.2 billion relief plan. dollars for its citizens, Germany with a 1tr euro emergency plan and Japan with 1tr.

“To give an example of Pakistan with a population of over 220 million, so far the maximum stimulus we could afford is $ 8 billion, and that’s the problem with most countries. developing, ”he said.

The Prime Minister has already created a Coronavirus Relief Fund account and called on people to make generous donations to help the government fight the pandemic and provide rations and relief to people living under the biting lockdown for almost a month.

Last month, in an interview with a foreign news agency, the Prime Minister expressed fears that Covid-19 could devastate the economies of developing countries.

He had urged the richest countries in the world to cancel the debt of the poorest countries and called for the lifting of sanctions against Iran.

“My concern is poverty and hunger,” Khan remarked, declaring that “the world community needs to think of some kind of debt cancellation for countries like us, which are very vulnerable because of the the less it will help us deal with pandemic.

“It’s not just Pakistan. I imagine the same situation in India, in the subcontinent or in African countries, “he said.

Posted in Dawn, April 13, 2020

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Doctors in debt: these doctors gladly reached an agreement with California

Dr Michael Gabriel Galvez, a pediatric hand surgeon who mainly treats low-income people the patients in a central california hospital, jokes with families he went to “30th year”.

But it hasn’t been cheap. The debt he has accumulated over 18 years of graduate school and medical training, including Stanford Medical School, scholarships, and residency, is approximately $ 250,000. (And that doesn’t include credit card debt.)

Almost all of her student loan debt is set to be written off over the next five years thanks to CalHealthCares, a new public program intended to avoid an impending shortage of health professionals, especially those willing to treat beneficiaries of Medi-Cal, the state version of Medicaid for low-income people.

“We know it’s a big deal that students are taking large sums of money in the form of loans,” said Dr Galvez, 36. “Even for doctors, it’s a big burden they have to take on.

Across the country, escalating costs for medical schools have pushed young physicians away from lower-paying specialties, such as pediatrics and psychiatry, as well as medical professionals. rural jobs or less wealthy regions.

The shortage of primary care physicians is particularly acute in California, which is experiencing a growing number of Aging of the population and the country largest Medicaid population – and one of the lowest state reimbursement rates for physicians in the country. California is expected to have a deficit of 4,700 primary care clinicians by 2025, according to a University of California, San Francisco 2017 Report.

The new program aims to change this by using revenue from Proposition 56, which imposed a tax on tobacco products, to help doctors reimburse their ready. It will disburse a total of $ 340 million. To be eligible, physicians, who receive up to $ 300,000 each in debt relief, must agree to spend one-third of their time with Medi-Cal patients over the next five years. As part of the first round of financing, announced this month, 247 physicians will receive $ 58.6 million and 40 dentists will receive $ 10.5 million in debt relief.

NOTat the start, 1,300 suppliers applied for the prices, accordionng at the Department of Health Services. Program administrators said they assessed applicants based on their personal statements, work history and specialization, among other factors. Applications for the next round of awards will be accepted in January.

Dr Rishi Manchanda, who was part a commission who put forward a 10-year, $ 3 billion plan to address the shortage of doctors in California, called the reimbursement program a “big step in the right direction” that would immediately dispatch clinicians to serve these populations. But more needs to be done, he said, to strengthen the pipeline of physicians practicing in the state.

Among the commission’s recommendations: increase enrollment in state medical schools, increase physician reimbursement rates, give nurse practitioners greater authority in the physician’s office, and move towards “Value-based” payment systems, which reward providers based on their performance.

Some of these measures would require action by lawmakers, who also face criticism that gave the alert on the cost of the Medi-Cal program, which has grown significantly under the Affordable Care Act. Today, more than 13 million Californians – nearly a third of the state – depend on it for their health care, more than half of all children, the commission report notes.

>> Read more from The Upshot: It’s easy to forget, but a student loan cancellation program already exists

The loan repayment plan is notable because it provides more generous funding to more doctors than similar programs, said Janet M. Coffman, professor of health policy at the University of California at San Francisco. Doctors will be required to regularly submit documents prove that they meet the requirements of the program.

American Medical Association president Dr. Patrice A. Harris said in a statement that loan cancellation programs help increase diversity in the medical profession by removing financial barriers.

Dr Galvez, who grew up in the Bay Area without health insurance, relied on his parents to help support his wife and two children through surgical scholarships.

“This has been a constant struggle just to get by, ”he said.

We have spoken to other doctors about the impact of California’s debt repayment program.

Dr Molly Dorfman, 39
Pediatric intensive care specialist
Total debt: $ 320,000

Dr Dorfman, 39, said at one point she was paying $ 4,500 per month on a single loan, or 30% of his take-home pay.

She cares for the most critically ill patients and directs their transport to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, the only independent pediatric hospital between Los Angeles and San Francisco that primarily treats Medi-Cal patients.

Most loan cancellation programs focus on primary care, she said, making it harder for sub-specialists like her to find help.

“As a single woman, I had no way of taking a purely academic job and owning a house,” she said.

The grant lifted “an emotional burden,” she said, adding, “I can focus on my patients.”

Dr Camila Susana Cribb Fabersunne, 31 years old
Pediatrician
Total debt: $ 76,000

“I have always viewed medicine as my tool for social justice,” said Dr. Cribb Fabersunne, who grew up in an impoverished farming community.

“Forgiveness allows me to not have to weigh the impact between following my work of heart and life and the impact on my family,” she said.

Her husband, who will be an intern resident for the next four years, also plans to serve the Medicaid community, she said. The couple recently had their first child.

Dr. Jasmin Marie-Hatcher Brown, 30
Pediatrician
Total debt: $ 256,556

For years, the decisions Dr. Brown and her husband, a dentist, made about where to live and what to buy revolved around their student loans.

Debt cancellation is “something out of a dream,” she said. “Now we are able to give back to charities,” she added, as did the scholarship foundation that supported her throughout her academic and medical studies.

This week, Dr. Brown began working at an outpatient pediatric clinic in Coachella.

Dr Marc Anthony Bernardo, 33 years old
Dentiste
Total debt: Over $ 500,000

Dr. Bernardo graduated from dental school in May. He is the son of two dentists and works three days a week in his family’s private practice in Southern California. He also does mobile dentistry with bedridden and special needs patients twice a week.

He recently married a doctor, who himself has a lot of debt. The couple had considered leaving the state for a place where the cost of living and reimbursement rates are higher. But now, thanks to the debt cancellation, they will be able to stay in California for the foreseeable future and start thinking about buying a house and starting a family.

“I am just beyond gratitude,” he said.

Dr David Benavidez, 40 years old
Child psychiatrist Total debt: $ 340,000

Dr Benavidez, who grew up in poverty and moved constantly, wanted working with communities marginalized because of their own experiences. But the economics were hard to justify with loan repayments due each month.

After years of accumulating debt as he enrolled in college and medical school, he finally sat down this year to sort out his finances. At the time, he was working with low-income patients on a scholarship in Alabama. The exercise was disheartening.

“Burnout is very real,” he said. “And part of the problem is you come to that crossroads where this idea of ​​wanting to be helpful now meets with appropriate compensation.”

He stumbled across CalHealthCares online and applied. Without such a program, he said, he would not have considered Go back to california, where he had moved when he was 16. He was put off by high taxes and the cost of living.

He started working this week at a community clinic linked to the University of California at San Francisco.

“It’s life changing,” he said.

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Weighing the pros and cons of student loan debt relief – Orange County Register

More than 37 million current and past American students, and 8 million of their parents, now owe $ 1.5 trillion in student loans, the highest amount in history.

The average debt of almost $ 40,000 per student has a serious impact on the lives of these students and recent graduates. For those who do not qualify for the civil service loan cancellation program (because their loan is from a private lender or because they do not work in the public service), payment of interest and principal of this debt affects the type of job they take after college.

Lecturers (and many guidance counselors) encourage students to follow their passion – but that’s not possible if a student’s passion doesn’t pay off well; and once made, a career path decision is not always a way to go back. Decisions to marry and start a family are also often delayed, until the college graduate can see positive numbers on their personal record.

Politically, this concern is powerful. Most Democratic presidential candidates advocate some form of forgiveness of college student loans. The 45 million American voters who repay student loans make up a large one-question voting block. It’s hard to see how a Democratic presidential candidate can win the nomination without the support of such a large interest group.

We’ve seen this in presidential politics before: most powerfully when farmers pressured to reduce the real value of their debts by abandoning the gold standard and thus inflating the dollar. On this platform for debt relief, Democrats appointed William Jennings Bryan as President in 1896, 1900, and 1908.

How much would the current version of debt relief cost? The federal government currently charges 5 percent on student debt. If a homeowner took out a 5% mortgage to pay off $ 150,000 over 30 years, he would pay $ 9,660 per year. So, suppose the government would add $ 97 billion a year to carry $ 1.5 trillion in new debt. If the government took over all student debt, but still required students to pay something – say 1% – the annual budget impact would be $ 86 billion. If the government never really expected to pay back the amount, but only the annual interest, then at 5% it would come down to “only” $ 75 billion per year, and if the student paid 1% for 30 years, the remaining 4% annual interest that the government would forgo would amount to $ 60 billion each year.

A much bigger prospect is for the government to make university free for each of the 20 million students (using a low estimate of average tuition fees, including public and private universities). This would add $ 440 billion to our annual deficit. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, offers zero tuition fees for students from families earning less than $ 125,000. He estimates the cost at $ 47 billion per year. Accepting his figure and the estimate of the loan cancellation at 1%, the package amounts to just over $ 100 billion per year. As huge as that number is; it is within reach of a debate on priorities in a budget that already spends $ 4.4 trillion.

William Jennings Bryan advocated debt relief to avoid crucifying farmers on a “golden cross”. As a targeted electoral policy, student loans are the “cross of debt” or our time.

But is student debt relief the best use of our tax dollars?

Bachelor degrees do not have the same value. From an adulthood perspective, many college graduates a few years later wish they had majored in a different field than the one they had chosen in their late teens.

From an equity perspective, university graduates are more affluent than the average in American society. They voluntarily chose to take on the debt. If America has $ 100 billion more to spend each year on higher education, giving it directly to community colleges to retrain unemployed high-tech Americans would show more economic sense and compassion; although he might not win the election so easily.

Tom Campbell has been a teacher for 36 years. He currently teaches economics and law at Chapman University and was also a professor at Stanford and Berkeley. He has also served as a California State Senator, United States Congressman, and California Chief Financial Officer. He left the Republican Party in 2016 and is now a registered independent.

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ANALYSIS: Are the IMF and the World Bank responsible for Africa’s external debt burden?

As the continent weighs in the economic havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been increasing regional calls for debt relief, more recently through African Union President Cyril Ramaphosa on Africa Day on May 25, 2020.

Why many African countries flare up in debt? They can blame international lenders according to Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao, former AU Ambassador to the United States.

“[The] IMF, World Bank, all the other institutions. They make African countries jump through hoops. Loans that we will never be able to pay, ”she told an American broadcaster. Voice of America in a broad interview in April 2020.

“The United States, when they borrow money, get it at 1.5, 1.9[%] interest rate. Africans, when they get the same amount of money, they pay 9, 10%. People who don’t need a break, they have a break, those who need a break, they don’t have a break ”.

Chihombori-Quao stepped down in October 2019. The AU took the unusual step of deny it had pushed her away because she was too frank.

But does Africa borrow internationally at rates five times higher than other countries? We have examined this claim.

Loan terms based on country income status

Africa Check contacted Chihombori-Quao to get evidence of her claim and ask what other institutions she was talking about. We will update this report with his response.

We asked Dr Charles Adjasi, professor of development finance to Stellenbosch University School of Business in South Africa, on how African countries are borrowing International Monetary Fund and the world Bank.

A country that accesses a typical World Bank loan “will access it based on its income status and the corresponding interest rate,” Adjasi said.

Income status indicates whether the country borrows from two of the banks five units. These are:

Most African countries are only eligible for loans from the IDA, the World Bank told Africa Check. These are low-income countries and “get very concessional financing in the form of loans without subsidies and without interest rates that charge only 0.75% service fees”.

Since April 2020, 68 countries were only eligible for IBRD loans and 14 of these were in Africa. 59 other countries qualified only for IDA loans, including 33 Africans. Of 17 “mixed” countries, which could borrow from both units, six belonged to the region.

Interest rates below 9-10%

The loans currently given by the World Bank and the IMF do not have an interest rate of 9 to 10%, Adjasi told Africa Check. They are anchored to the “Libor”, the London Interbank Offered Rate, a benchmark lending rate largely used in the international bank.

Adjasi told Africa Check that loans from international lenders generally attract an interest rate of Libor plus “+/- 0.5%”.

“The Libor is about 0.4 to 0.9%”, which would give a rate of 0.9 to 1.4%. “So 9 to 10% is definitely too high for the interest rates. This is even higher than lending rates in some developing countries and defeats the purpose of IBRD, IDA or IMF facilities, ”he said.

An IMF spokesperson told Africa Check that it was impossible to know which loans the former ambassador was describing because her comments were in “very general terms”.

However, “the bulk of our loans to low-income countries are set at 0% or on concessional terms”.

The United States cannot borrow from the World Bank

Chihombori-Quao referred to the United States borrowing money at lower rates. But the world Bank and IMF The websites show that the country currently has no loans from either lender. The World Bank spokesman said developed economies like the United States were not eligible to borrow.

Adjasi told Africa Check that a high-income country like the United States is not eligible and technically cannot borrow from the World Bank. However, it can borrow in international capital markets.

Higher interest rates in the 1980s

Until the end of fiscal 2018, IBRD loans to eligible members did not vary based on individual country circumstances, the World Bank said. Members were “subject to the same pricing, regardless of their region of origin and depending on the market conditions prevailing at the time of issuance of the loans.”

The bank said it currently offers a flexible loan, the IBRD flexible loan, which takes into account the financing or debt repayment needs of a country.

Have African countries in the past taken out loans at interest rates of up to 10%?

According to historical data on IBRD loans, a number of countries, including Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe has always taken out loans with interest rates of up to 12%, especially in the 1980s.

A rate query on the IMF website shows that adjusted royalty rates, which are drawn on outstanding loans, were 9% or more around 1990.

These rates were in line with prevailing interest rates, as Libor was a factor in interest rates, Adjasi told Africa Check.

“So from this perspective, it’s clear that facilities during times of high Libor will attract higher rates for everyone, including African countries.”

“Graduate”, “reverse graduate” countries between IDA and IBRD

A number of African countries which had progressed or “graduates” from IDA to IBRD are now back in IDA, a process called “reverse graduation”. These are Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. Egypt returned to IDA in 1991, but switched to IBRD again in 1999.

The bank has in the past given a number of reasons why IBRD countries returned to IDA status. These include “sharp swings in commodity prices coupled with exuberant excessive borrowing during the boom years” and “an abundance of commercial bank lending in the 1980s”.

The bank notes that “with hindsight”, there was also “an overly optimistic view of the macroeconomic prospects of many developing countries” leading them to become “over-indebted”.

It is possible that African countries that have reverted to IDA status may still owe IBRD loans, although some that have not paid have benefited from debt relief, Adjasi said.

“The main challenge here is that an unsustainable debt profile, or high debt burden, can revert a middle-income country to low-income status. “

The conclusion that African countries have been singled out has not been substantiated as the IBRD and IDA awards affect all eligible countries, Adjasi said.

“So in the case where the rates are 9-10%, that will apply to everyone. We also have no evidence to suggest that [higher income] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries receive facilities at lower interest rates.

Countries have “loan portfolios,” says development studies expert

Dr Morten Jerven is professor of development studies to Norwegian University of Life Sciences and wrote books on economic development statistics in Africa.

It is not easy to directly judge whether the assertion of the envoy is correct or not, he told Africa Check.

“The quote is imprecise because it does not claim that IMF and World Bank loans are specifically 9-10%,” Jerven said, echoing the World Bank and IMF.

“Countries have a loan portfolio. It is very possible that one country has one IMF loan at a concessional rate and another at a higher than market rate, ”Jerven said. The same country could also “borrow in private markets, such as Treasury bonds, where rates could be higher again.”

Was a former emissary barking the wrong tree?

Dr. Misheck Mutize, who teaches finance at the University of Cape Town Business School, told Africa Check that it was “unlikely that African countries would be taxed more in a discriminatory manner.” The “claims and statements of the former ambassador have a political context and dimension”.

As loans from multilateral institutions were low and on concessional terms, their interest rates were not the problem, Mutize said. His search for interests including credit ratings, financial markets and African economic policy.

Rather, it was “the conditions that accompany multilateral loans”. He said it could include austerity measures and structural adjustment programs, which include cutting public spending, cutting social assistance and cutting the public wage bill. He also noted the increase in commercial loan rates to contain inflation and currency devaluation.

As loans must be repaid in foreign currencies, their cost increases when local currencies lose value, Mutize said. “This is another huge cost source, and the net cost of devalued currency could be much higher than free market interest rates,” he said. To escape lending requirements, African countries have started borrowing in the Eurobond market, where interest rates differ from country to country due to credit ratings.

“African countries pay more because they have bad credit scores or a high risk of default,” Mutize said.

All these factors therefore make Africa’s indebtedness more complicated than the interest claims made by Chihombori-Quao.

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Are millennials responsible for their own student debt?

As a father of 25 and 17 year old sons, I love Millennials and Gen Z. But it is increasingly difficult to feel sympathy for children born between 1981 and 2012 (to give Where to take).

It is not all – or perhaps even above all – their fault. Much of the problem stems from the way the media covers the plight of young Americans, particularly the allegedly catastrophic amount of student debt they incurred just to get a college degree which is now, we are told, a almost insignificant paper which no longer “automatically” guarantees admission into the “middle class”. A recent story in The Wall Street Journal illustrates this approach. It’s titled “Playing catch-up in the game of life: millennials approach the Middle Ages in crisis” and promises “New data shows they are worse off financially than any previous living generation and may never get over it.” Most of the time, it highlights individuals and couples who have tons of student debt and as a result cannot buy a house, have children, or even get married.

In fact, it is far from clear that the raw economy is driving, say, the reduction in fertility rates, which have been declining for decades all over the world and are linked to the increase in fertility. female autonomy. And despite all the talk about generational poverty, it’s not immediately clear that all is darkness. According to a 2018 Pew study, millennial households are now “correspond to the highest household income for their age group. Add in higher rates of higher education, and the future actually looks bright. And it seems the millennials Maybe better in different ways that Gen X was at the same stage of life.

Either way, there is so much wrong with the student debt narrative that it’s hard to know where to start. First, more people, including more low income people, go to college like never before, and graduates have much higher lifetime incomes and much lower unemployment rates than people with just a high school diploma, associate’s degree, or a few years of university. Like economist Scott Winship wrote, “If we count growing student debt on the debt side of the ledger, shouldn’t we count the value of the debt-financed asset (human capital) on the asset side?” And despite the total student debt of $ 1.5 trillion, the average and median amounts owed by students are barely mind-boggling.

According to data from Lending Tree, for example, around 70% of the class of 2018 took out loans; their the median monthly payment was $ 222. The average loan amount (which will be higher than the median) for graduates with debt was around $ 30,000. According to Pew:

The median borrower with unpaid student loan debt for their own education owed $ 17,000 in 2016. The amount owed varies widely, however. A quarter of borrowers with unpaid debt reported owing $ 7,000 or less, while another quarter owed $ 43,000 or more.

Most borrowers therefore act responsibly. College graduates earn about 80% more than high school graduates, so going into debt isn’t stupid. And even though the university has become more expensive, the salary premium remains high enough that the number of years it takes to recoup the price of the university has not increased for decades, according to work done by the New York Federal Reserve:

It is extremely difficult to get straight answers on many aspects of education debt. Often it is not clear whether the debt for a given year includes loans for graduate studies, including law school or medical school, which are not only much more expensive but also much more profitable and optional. Ninety percent of law school graduates borrow, for example, and the average debt load is $ 127,000 for students in private schools and $ 88,000 for those in public schools. Three quarters of medical students take out loans of around $ 200,000 on average, but the typical doctor earns between $ 150,000 and $ 312,000 per year, so the debt is not particularly difficult to pay off. Should we feel bad for lawyers and doctors?

Obviously, it’s best to graduate from college with little or no debt. But media accounts inevitably revolve around people with mind-boggling debts that are nobody’s fault other than their own. Worse yet, reports rarely contain detailed information that would give the reader a better idea of ​​an individual’s life choices. Yes, relatively cheap loans undoubtedly induce some people to go to college who would not if they had to pay higher interest rates (if student loans were dischargeable as part of a procedure). bankruptcy, interest rates – even those offered by the federal government, which pays about 90 percent student loan dollars – would be much higher). But at the end of the day, the borrower must take responsibility for their actions. I say this as someone who paid for their undergraduate and graduate education and sweated blood every time I signed up for a student loan. Youth is a time of great madness, yes, but you know exactly how much you’re going to pay back for exactly how long.

In The Wall Street Journal story we meet a 32 year old woman living in Chicago who “is a single tenant and earns $ 75,000 per year [working for the city]. She also owes $ 102,000 in student loans and $ 10,000 in credit card debt. His salary is actually quite good, especially for someone his age. Median household income for Chicago is about $ 53,000 and the median per capita income is $ 33,000. She has thrice average student debt, but we have no way of knowing where it went in college or if there’s a college degree in there.

Earning $ 75,000 per year comes down to $ 6,250 per month. Suppose she pays 33% of total taxes, which brings her monthly take-home pay to around $ 4,200. Assuming she pays 7% of her loans, she has to pay about $ 1,200 per month, which leaves her $ 3,000 to cover rent, food and everything else. It’s not great, but it is doable. In real dollars, that’s about $ 20,000 more than I took home in the mid-90s when I started trading. Raison and lived in Los Angeles with a spouse who was not working and a 1 year old son. Does she have roommates? Why did she spend so much on college? Reading this story reminded me of last year Time cover story on teachers who should have done two or three extra jobs because they are “not paid for the work [they] to do. Much of household finances are tied to spending levels, which are never really discussed.

We also meet a couple in their thirties who “run a financial advice website, reducing their combined student debt by $ 377,000.” What? One of them is a lawyer, so let’s assume that up to $ 127,000 in debt was spent on getting a law degree from a private school. there is still a quarter of a million dollars of student debt to be taken into account. The story does not provide any mitigating circumstances and, to be honest, I can’t imagine any that would explain such a situation other than through some really silly choices. Should we as a society be prepared to forgive such mistakes through universal debt relief programs offered by politicians such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) And Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)? It seems like an insult and an outrage to everyone, parents and students, who scrimped and saved up and went to schools they could afford.

In a Associated press article About Robert F. Smith, the billionaire who just announced he would pay off all student debt for the 2019 class of Morehouse College, we meet a 22-year-old finance student with an inexplicably and shocking amount of student debt – $ 200,000, an amount that would take him 25 years to pay “at half of his monthly salary, according to his calculations.” When Smith made his promise at the start of Morehouse, the student cried.

“I don’t have to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I was shocked. My heart sank. We all cried. Instantly it was like a burden had been lifted off. . “

I’m sure not the only one wondering how the hell someone – a finance student, of all people – ended up $ 200,000 in hock by graduation. Morehouse’s full list price is nearly $ 50,000 per year, but the the average net price is $ 32,000 once grants and scholarships are factored in. Even if he gave loans over the four years, it should be $ 128,000, not $ 200,000. Specifically, who would do such a thing? The average net price nearby State of Georgia costs $ 15,000. Borrowing $ 200,000 for a bachelor’s degree is simply inexplicable.

I have written many times about how young Americans are indeed fucked by my own generation, the Baby Boomers. Old age rights are a brutal form of war of generations which systematically steal from the relatively young and poor to give to the objectively old and rich. The 2008 financial crisis begged the young people again, who also grew up in a century with below average economic growth (thanks, persistent deficit spending and massive national debt).

Seniors in America have a lot to explain, and we need to reform all kinds of policies that slow economic growth and direct all kinds of unearned wealth to people who don’t need it. But young Americans – at least those who manage to wreck their finances royally on graduation day – must also be held accountable.


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Zimbabwe: Responsibility for the Debt Management Strategy

The new waiver makes progress towards debt management which analysts say is a step in the right direction towards improving transparency and accountability.

Public debt remains a controversial issue in the country due to its negative effects on economic growth as well as its impact on the delivery of social services.

In addition, ordinary citizens bear the burden in terms of high taxes and other austerity measures designed to ensure unsustainable debt service.

Between 2014 and 2019, the country’s debt was mainly driven by arrears. External arrears fell from US $ 109 million in 1999 to US $ 6.4 billion in 2019.

However, the deputy director of the public debt management office of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Joseph Medzano, said that the current administration of President Mnangagwa is working to introduce transparency, including the publication of the first Debt Bulletin of 2018, which was released in March of this year. .

“We are making a consistent policy of issuing a debt bulletin and we started with the 2018 one when the current administration took over.

“We recognize the shortcomings in this regard, but we will soon have another one for 2019 when we prepare the national budget. We have also restructured the RBZ debt and halted ZAMCO debt acquisitions,” he said. said yesterday in Bulawayo at a three-day annual multi-stakeholder meeting in Zimbabwe. Debt conference organized by the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) and the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD).

Mr. Medzano added that the engagement efforts were also a way to settle the debt, with some token payments having been made to the International Monetary Fund.

During the period 2010 and 2019, Zimbabwe took out $ 3,202 billion in loans. The fuel and power sectors accounted for US $ 1,697 billion, of which US $ 250 million was a guarantee issued by the government in 2018 to finance the office differential between the purchase price of commodities by consumers. importers and sellers.

Compensation for former commercial farmers is now expected to increase external debt by US $ 3.5 billion.

Afrodad’s senior policy analyst Tirivanhu Mutazu said the release of the 2018 debt bulletin, for example, was laudable in promoting transparency and accountability.

“The efforts to increase domestic resource mobilization are also a step in the right direction in debt management,” he said.

He argued, however, that securing natural resources was in bad taste as it would affect future generations who would be deprived of the resources.

Other stakeholders at the conference agreed that there was still room to improve the transparency and accountability of the country’s debt.

Mr. Mutazu added that over the years, the government has adopted a series of debt resolution strategies, including re-engaging the international community and negotiating a comprehensive package of arrears clearance and debt relief. .

These strategies include the Zimbabwe Fast Track Arrears, Debt and Development (ZAADS) Strategy of 2012 and the Lima Strategy of 2015.

“There is also a parliamentary committee on the foreign affairs portfolio, which complements the government’s re-engagement efforts,” he said.

The conference takes place under the theme “Strengthening transparency and accountability in public debt management for sustainable development”.

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Will the G20 step up debt relief for the poorest countries? | Business and Economy

The G20 is set to discuss going beyond the initial debt relief efforts agreed to in April as the pandemic continues to ravage poor economies.

The Group of 20 major economies this weekend may have to consider expanding aid to the world’s poorest countries, three months after agreeing to provide temporary debt relief amid the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the nations.

G-20 central bankers and finance ministers will hold a virtual meeting on Saturday to discuss and coordinate phased efforts to spur a global economic recovery. Looking beyond debt relief efforts would be part of it.

The Covid-19 pandemic is now spreading faster in the Americas and Africa compared to the previous meeting in April, when the bulk of infections were in Asia and Europe. The rate of infections is rising in many countries, with the cost of debt outweighing health and social spending.

Unprecedented stimulus measures from the world’s largest central banks have helped most emerging markets regain access to international capital markets, but some smaller economies that typically do not benefit from large-scale borrowing will still need help.

“The focus on debt is important, but we shouldn’t focus on it to the exclusion of everything else,” said Anna Gelpern, professor of law at Georgetown University, at a conference July 9. “The goal must be essential funding. needs in response to a public health shock. How to get there is a second-rate question.

Since the April G-20 agreement that aims to waive around $ 12 billion in bilateral debt payments from countries particularly vulnerable to the pandemic, 41 of 73 eligible countries have asked for help. The Paris Club waived $ 1.3 billion in repayments and the International Monetary Fund made $ 100 billion in emergency funding available for low-income and emerging countries.

Middle income countries

However, charities, including Oxfam, have said that the aid given to the world’s poorest countries so far is “woefully insufficient”. Saturday’s talks could focus on extending the debt break beyond 2020 and adding middle-income countries, said Eric LeCompte of Jubilee USA Network, a non-profit group that advocates for the debt relief for small economies.

France’s main priorities for the meeting will be to extend the moratorium on the debt service of the poorest countries until 2021 and to encourage international negotiations for digital and minimum taxation, the finance minister said. Bruno Le Maire. Discussion of a new allocation of special drawing rights to the IMF will likely remain on the table, according to a finance ministry official.

A proposal to increase these reserve assets, which would increase the IMF’s lending power, was blocked by the United States at the lender’s meeting in April. However, the governor of China’s central bank on Thursday called on the IMF to use a new issuance of SDRs to help developing countries.

In a letter to G-20 finance ministers released on Friday, a group of economists including former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, urged the meeting to extend the debt moratorium and consider new SDR allocations. Summers is a Bloomberg News contributor.

“It will take more than a six-month suspension of debt service on existing bilateral debts to help the poorest countries finance the necessary fiscal and health response,” said Brad Setser, senior researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations and former economist in the US Treasury Department. “We also need more financial flows. “

Private creditors have so far backed away from efforts to stop payments on Eurobonds as countries feared triggering default clauses.

Another sticking point is China, which has been slow to join the debt suspension initiative. The participation of the world’s second largest economy is essential for the debt cancellation campaign to work, World Bank President David Malpass said last week.

“The persistent lack of clarity on which Chinese creditors will participate, coupled with the resistance of private sector creditors to voluntary participation suggest that the actual relief will be far less than originally expected,” Alicia Garcia Herrero, Chief Economist for Asia-Pacific at Natixis SA, says in a note.

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Funding for adaptation at the confluence of the climate crisis, Covid-19 and over-indebtedness

Covid-19 has hit every country in the world, rich and poor alike, but low income countries (LICs) are the hardest hit, and half of them are at high risk or are already in debt. Although in April this year, G20 finance ministers approved a Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to provide temporary relief to LICs to help manage the impact of the pandemic, the adoption to date seems limited. The DSSI covers only part of the total debt of LICs. Private sector lenders have largely refused to come forward, undermining government efforts.

On the other hand, climatic disasters are increasing both in frequency and severity. The first line victims are the LICs, with very little adaptability. So far, the mitigation ambition of the main emitters is very low compared to the temperature targets set in the Paris Agreement. The Climate Action Tracker’s “thermometer” predicts a temperature rise of up to 4.1 degrees Celsius by 2100, unless dramatic climate action is taken. Even if this happens, the IPCC 1.5 degree Celsius report made it clear that massive climate damage to lives and livelihoods in LICs is to be expected. This makes the need for adaptation investments immediate and urgent.

However, adaptation funding is extremely poor, despite the commitments made by donors. As the private sector is not very interested in adaptation in LICs due to the ineffectiveness of market instruments and adaptation actions being mostly public goods, international public finance is the best possible source. adaptation. These countries received preferential treatment for support in the Paris Agreement. It should be remembered that the provision of climate finance is a legal obligation for developed countries, under both the Convention and the Paris Agreement, and Article 7.4 has recognized that adaptation is a global responsibility. Faced with this, adaptation financing representing less than 10 billion dollars per year is below, by order of magnitude, the needs of 140 to 300 billion dollars per year by 2030. Despite the promises of a balanced allocation, adaptation finance is less than 20 percent of total climate finance. LIC citizens receive an average of US $ 3 per person per year, or less than a cent per day, according to Oxfam.

The Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) advocated for investments in adaptation and resilience, finding that benefit-cost ratios of interventions ranged from 2: 1 to 10: 1. However, the private sector’s contribution to adaptation still represents only a meager 3% of their total climate finance, and goes mainly to mitigation. Clearly, there are barriers to investing in climate resilience, including a lack of awareness of its benefits and capacity constraints. The GCA underscored the need to rapidly scale up adaptation finance through international and national sources.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, repaying the external public debt of developing countries will cost between $ 2.6 billion and $ 3.4 trillion in 2020 and 2021 alone. ‘amounts to over six billion dollars a year. However, Bangladesh only receives support in the hundreds of millions, compared to domestic investments of more than $ 3 billion per year in adaptation. Clearly, without adequate liquidity support and major debt relief, the global economy, especially LICs, cannot return to pre-pandemic growth levels without risking severe climatic distress and social unrest. In light of these concerns, the G20 called on the IMF “to explore additional tools that could meet the needs of its members as the crisis unfolds, drawing on relevant experiences from previous crises.”

Faced with the persistent poverty of adaptation finance, it is necessary to seek alternative sources. One of those instruments worth considering is a “climate debt swap” option. The global community has had experience with “debt-for-nature swaps” (DNS) since the late 1980s and 1990s in developing countries, where debt relief was linked to investments in reforestation, biodiversity and the protection of indigenous peoples. In Bangladesh, we have the experience of the Arannyak Foundation, established in 2003 under the US Tropical Forest Conservation Act, where part of the debt owed to the United States was converted into local currency for investments in nature conservation. Overall, this instrument could not have much impact on debt reduction due to its very small scale. For example, the share of DNS-derived debt relief by some creditors is tiny, barely 0.3% of total climate finance in 2012. Since then, it has not increased much.

While there is global agreement that adaptation finance is new and additional and largely based on grants for LICs, the question of whether debt for adaptation trade (DAS) can be considered as such is controversial. These debates aside, in this time of global financial crisis, DAS may be an option for the global climate community to explore.

It is argued that, when properly designed and implemented, DAS can be a win-win option for both creditors and debtors. However, it depends on many conditions on both sides. Making DAS a viable and sustainable option requires relatively large amounts of public debt to have an impact on debt reduction. In view of its acceptance, the management modalities, including budget support or via the creation of a dedicated fund, could be decided later.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London, in a recent study, argues that climate and nature debt swaps offer a way to restructure debt while promoting pro-poor growth and debt sustainability. IIED proposes to establish a global expert group to better understand these exchanges.

Another potential source is also being explored to boost adaptation finance. In 2019, the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) launched the Climate Resilience Principles, which inspired the issuance of the first bond dedicated to climate resilience by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in September 2019, highlighting an opportunity for the creation of a new market for such instruments. But given the experience of the private Green Climate Fund facility and the World Bank’s International Development Association, successful blended finance models are still rare. Debt instruments such as green bonds, including climate resilience bonds, may not be universally applicable or viable in all markets. However, faced with a very limited budgetary space, they can in certain cases offer an essential lever for private financing in the short and medium term for the objectives of resilience.

These questions will likely be raised at the next annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF on October 12-18. Obviously, the Bangladesh delegation to these meetings should be aware of these issues to share their thoughtful interventions, in alliance with like-minded nations.

Mizan R Khan is Deputy Director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at the Independent University of Bangladesh and Program Director at LDC Universities Consortium on Climate Change (LUCCC).

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The G20 should call on private lenders to suspend debt repayments during a pandemic; China provides $ 2.1 billion in debt relief to poor countries; Religious leaders provide recommendations to the G20

Devex: Religious leaders present recommendations to G-20
“An international group of religious leaders and advocates this week presented a series of recommendations to Saudi Arabia, which chairs the G-20, ahead of the group’s high-level summit with world leaders which begins on November 20. The G20 Interfaith Forum brings together religious leaders and religious institutions from around the world to provide recommendations to heads of state on a multitude of development topics. Initially formed to tackle global economic problems, the G-20 has been pressed to address broader international challenges such as climate change and gender equality… ”(Welsh, 19/11).

The Guardian: “People are suffering”: G20 calls on private lenders to suspend debt repayment
“… Governments in the developing world are struggling to adjust to widespread financial losses from Covid-19, made worse by debt repayment to private creditors. The grouping of the biggest economies, the G20, is meeting in Saudi Arabia this weekend, and will urge private lending institutions to halt debt repayment, ideally to allow more spending to fight the pandemic … ”(Michaelson , 20/11).

Reuters: China says it has given $ 2.1 billion in debt relief to poor countries
China has provided debt relief to developing countries of a combined value of $ 2.1 billion under the G20, the highest among the group in terms of the amount deferred, the G20 said on Friday. Minister of Finance of the country, Liu Kun… ”(20/11).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 to December 2020. All summaries are archived and available through search.

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World Bank chief calls for greater private sector buy-in for G-20 debt relief

The Group of 20 major economies’ debt relief initiative for the world’s poorest countries has progressed well, but further debt relief and greater involvement of private sector creditors is needed, the chairman of the government said on Monday. the World Bank, David Malpass.

Malpass told Reuters in an interview that 35 of the 73 eligible countries are participating in the G-20 debt relief initiative, which will freeze official bilateral debt service payments until the end of the year. , and others have expressed interest.

The G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) will free up $ 12 billion in funds that countries can use to deal with health and economic strains caused by the coronavirus, according to a new database from the World Bank.

Malpass said the pandemic had clearly caused a “very serious and lasting setback” to the global economy that was particularly hitting the poorest countries.

Debt relief agreed by G-20 members and the Paris Club of official creditors in April was helping poorer countries, but more measures would be needed to prevent the economic crisis from worsening poverty rates, did he declare.

He did not endorse calls by African countries and others for an extension of debt relief until 2022 and cancellation of some debts, but said more measures would be needed.

“We need to look for ways to further reduce the debt of the poorest countries, and then look at the larger situation facing developing countries,” he said.

He also urged the private sector to increase its participation.

“It doesn’t really make sense that commercial creditors continue to collect, demand and legally enforce payments from (…) the poorest countries that have been hit by both the pandemic and the recessions. deepest economic growth since World War II, “he said. .

Some countries have been reluctant to seek such relief for fear that it could harm their credit rating and access to international capital markets.

Greater transparency about debt levels and creditors could pave the way for increased investments to promote future growth, he said.

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Emerging economies call for more ambitious debt relief programs

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Government ministers from poor and indebted countries will this week appeal to their creditors for a much more ambitious debt relief effort as they grapple with the health and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

They will advocate for greater support from foreign governments and multilateral lenders as delegates gather for the annual IMF and World Bank meetings.

Financial assistance to cash-strapped governments has so far fallen far short of what is needed – and what advanced economies have been willing to do for themselves – critics say.

As Covid spread across the world this spring, the group of major G20 countries struck a deal allowing 73 of the world’s poorest countries to postpone this year’s official bilateral debt repayments for three years. But the broader options have failed as China and the United States have been reluctant to engage in broader collective action.

So far, 43 countries have requested debt suspensions under the initiative, delaying about $ 5.3 billion in payments this year, less than half of the $ 11.5 billion available, according to the Bank. global.

Critics say the debt service suspension has been hampered by confusion and disagreement over who should participate and on what terms. Private sector creditors, including commercial banks and bondholders, are not involved and have continued to receive repayments. China, which has become an important source of loans to poor countries in recent years, has only partially contributed.

Only three of the 43 countries concerned have asked private creditors for comparable debt relief and no agreement has yet been reached according to the IMF.

The G20 is expected to announce an extension of the moratorium on repayments as early as this week. But finance ministers in countries in need of debt relief told the Financial Times much more needs to be done.

“The ability of Western central banks to react [to the pandemic] to an unimaginable extent and the limits of our response capacity are quite shocking, ”said Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance of Ghana.

Ghana has criticized Western countries for allegedly overlooking the growing crisis in Africa while finding billions of dollars to boost their own economies.

Adama Coulibaly, Minister of Economy and Finance of Côte d’Ivoire, said: “We hope that the [debt service suspension] will be extended for one year so that the initiative can have a real impact.

But Ukur Yatani, Kenya’s finance minister, told the FT that his country would stay away from the initiative. “Delaying our repayments for three years without giving us a break would place a heavy burden on us. We have heavy repayments at this time, ”he said.

Instead, Yatani said his hopes were based on an IMF program Kenya has started negotiating.

Richard Kozul-Wright, director of development strategies at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said that “anything that provides resources that can be used to fight the pandemic in the most vulnerable countries must be fine. welcomed ”. But, he warned, “overall, given the financial constraints these countries face, [the debt service suspension] just looks like a drop in the ocean ”.

Vera Songwe, head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, is coordinating an appeal from African finance ministers for $ 100 billion a year for the next three years to support the stricken economies on the continent.

This is a fraction of the fiscal and monetary stimulus already provided to the United States and Europe compared to Africa’s combined annual economic output of around $ 2.6 billion, he said. she declared.

Although Ms. Songwe would like the initiative to be expanded to benefit more countries, she said a loan guarantee mechanism to reduce borrowing costs for poor countries – which are already prohibitive for many low-income countries. credit rating – would be more powerful.

The “ideal private sector contribution to this crisis” would be for investors to agree “to make less income so that countries can access the resources they need at a lower cost,” she said.

The question is how to finance such an installation. The IMF could launch more of its so-called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) – a form of proxy reserve asset – but that possibility has been vetoed by the United States.

Ms. Songwe called on G20 central banks to support the idea.

Ghana supports the idea of ​​using the SDRs to help amortize the finances of emerging economies and has been frustrated by what it sees as US opposition to the proposal.

“Not only should we create new SDRs to help us, but a lot of western countries do not use them, which means they could be transferred to us to prevent our liquidity problems from turning into insolvency problems. “said Mr. Ofori-Atta.

Unless this week’s lobbying generates new momentum, however, finance ministers in many developing economies will have to think about how to cope in the coming months as the costs of Covid rise.

“It is unthinkable that in a global pandemic, the world’s poorest countries will have to choose between paying down debt service and keeping their savings afloat,” said Gayle Smith, president of One Campaign against Poverty.

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The IMF Executive Board approves a disbursement of $ 43.4 million to Djibouti under the rapid credit facility and debt relief under the Containment and Development Trust Fund. disaster relief to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic

IMF Executive Board approves US $ 43.4 million disbursement to Djibouti under the Rapid Credit Facility and Debt Relief under the Containment Trust Fund and disaster relief to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic

May 8, 2020

  • The IMF Executive Board approved a $ 43.4 million loan to Djibouti to support the authorities’ response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as debt relief under the CCRT, which will generate additional resources of $ 2.3 million over the next five months. , and potentially up to US $ 8.2 million over the next 23 months.
  • IMF support will provide additional resources for essential health and other emergency spending, including social safety nets. It will also help catalyze additional donor support.
  • The authorities are committed to using the additional IMF resources in a transparent manner and to ensuring that spending is well targeted and cost effective.

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today approved a rapid credit facility (RCF) disbursement equivalent to SDR 31.8 million (approximately $ 43.4 million, 100% of Djibouti’s quota) to help Djibouti cope with the urgent balance of payments. needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also approved grants under the IMF Containment and Disaster Relief Trust Fund (CCRT) to cover Djibouti’s debt service due to the IMF today as of October 13, 2020, i.e. ‘equivalent of SDR 1.692 million or $ 2.3 million. Additional relief covering the period from October 14, 2020 to April 13, 2022 will be granted subject to the availability of CCRT resources, potentially bringing the total debt service relief to the equivalent of SDR 6.03 million; approximately $ 8.2 million.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly weakened Djibouti’s short-term macroeconomic outlook. The country is facing a significant negative external demand shock due to the global recession. Nationally, virus prevention and containment measures further affect demand and supply. Production is expected to contract by 1% in 2020 and the decline in services exports and foreign direct investment has created an urgent need for balance of payments financing in the order of 164 million dollars. The pandemic has also created urgent spending needs, including in the health sector, and is expected to negatively affect government revenues.

Following the discussion by the Board of Directors. Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Director General and Acting President, made the following statement:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe impact on Djibouti, creating an urgent balance of payments and budgetary financing needs. Authorities acted quickly to contain and mitigate the spread and impact of the virus. Their prevention and containment measures and their decisions to increase health and other emergency spending to protect households and businesses affected by the crisis will help limit the economic and social consequences.

“The crisis and the political response will lead to a widening of the budget deficit this year. IMF emergency financing under the Rapid Credit Facility and debt service relief under the Containment and Disaster Relief Trust Fund will provide much-needed liquidity to support the authorities’ response to the crisis. crisis and could catalyze further assistance from the international community, preferably in the form of grants. The authorities are committed to using the additional resources in a transparent manner and to ensuring that spending is well targeted and cost effective.

“Once the crisis subsides, temporary measures should be lifted, with policies refocusing on promoting a strong and inclusive recovery and maintaining medium-term debt sustainability. Addressing and preventing the recurrence of external arrears, speeding up key project operations and reducing public sector borrowing will be essential. Reducing tax expenditures will also be important in creating space for poverty reduction spending. Efforts to strengthen bank balance sheets, improve the business environment, and improve governance and the efficiency of state-owned enterprises will be key to fostering strong and inclusive growth.

More information:

IMF Lending Tracker (request for emergency financing approved by the IMF Executive Board)

https://www.imf.org/en/Topics/imf-and-covid19/COVID-Lending-Tracker

IMF Executive Board Calendar

https://www.imf.org/external/NP/SEC/bc/eng/index.aspx

IMF Communications Department
MEDIA RELATIONS

PRESS OFFICER: Wafa Amr

Telephone: +1 202 623-7100E-mail: [email protected]

@ IMFSpeaker


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A good start to debt relief but incomplete by Paola Subacchi

After initially responding to the pandemic-induced economic crisis with an initiative to postpone paying developing country debt, the G20 has now returned to the table to come up with a more plausible solution. But the new common framework for sovereign debt restructuring should only be the first step in a longer process.

LONDON – A global collapse in economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the risk of debt distress in many countries, pushing the poorest to the brink. In response, various international organizations have unveiled a number of initiatives to prevent circumstances requiring between an adequate response to the public health crisis and the servicing of existing debts.

More specifically, the G20 has established a Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which allows the world’s poorest countries to suspend official bilateral debt service payments until next year. And this month, the leaders of the G20 adopted a new common framework to meet the needs of sovereign debt restructuring on a case-by-case basis.

For poorer countries struggling with the pandemic, debt not only limits their fiscal space to respond to the crisis, but also hinders future development. Faced with the sudden costs of the COVID-19 crisis, many countries that are already struggling to service existing debt have needed new financing, only to find it too difficult or too expensive to borrow more . And even if they do, the additional debt burden will weigh on them for years, limiting their prospects for growth and development.

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The Holy See at the UN calls for debt relief for poor countries

Bishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, underlines the importance of developing economic and financial policies that truly serve the common good of all.

By the editor of Vatican News

“Every decision and policy on economic or financial matters has an impact on the lives of individuals, families and the well-being of society as a whole.” With this premise, the Holy See encourages debt restructuring, and ultimately debt cancellation of the most vulnerable countries, to cope with the growing economic imbalances and other crises they face as a result of the pandemic. of Covid-19.

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Mgr Gabriele Caccia, launched this appeal on Thursday during the 75e Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

He said in a statement that due to the demands placed on the poorest countries by the debt service and the economic impact of the pandemic, many of them are forced to “divert scarce national resources from basic programs. education, health and infrastructure towards debt payment. . “

Archbishop Caccia reminded the UN, specifically addressing the Commission on Macroeconomic Policy, that his work should reflect on “ethical implications for achieving economic prosperity for all in order to enable every person to prosper and countries to live in peace and stability “. As such, decisions and policies on economic or financial matters which have an impact on the lives of individuals, families and the well-being of society as a whole “must be viewed in a much broader perspective than the only immediate financial gain or success ”.

Covid-19 and the economy

Bishop Caccia stressed that financial inclusion and sustainable development have been affected by the Covid-19 health crisis due to its devastating impact on employment, production and international and national trade. No one, he notes – from states to families and individuals – has escaped the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.

However, some felt the impact more than others. Developing countries, he said, are being hit by “a triple economic shock of collapsing export demand, falling commodity prices and unprecedented capital flight”, in addition to managing the pandemic with often inadequate health systems.

Recover together

To face these difficulties, Bishop Caccia proposes to work together to ensure that the economic “recovery packages” and “regeneration packages” serve the common good. In particular, it highlights two areas that require special attention in turnaround efforts.

The first, according to the Archbishop, are micro, small and medium enterprises. He points out that to revive the economy, funding would have to reach a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises that “are the backbone of economies” in developed and developing countries.

The second sector concerns workers in “informal” employment. He explained that we have a “special responsibility” to those people – men and women – who are made redundant in fields like construction, catering, hospitality, domestic services and retail, among others, and in as such, find it difficult to provide for themselves and their families. Many of them, he notes, turn to charities and religious institutions for help. Others, especially migrants and those without proper documentation, cannot apply for benefits.

Debt restructuring / cancellation

Bishop Caccia said that there is ample evidence that developing countries, faced with the obligation to divert scarce resources towards debt repayment, risk undermining “integrated development, weakening health systems and education, as well as reducing the capacity of states to create the conditions for the realization of basic human rights.

The Archbishop therefore urged the international community to address the economic imbalances between nations by restructuring and ultimately debt “in recognition of the severe impacts of medical, social and economic crises” facing the most vulnerable countries due to of the current crisis. pandemic.

He also called on the international community to fight illicit financial flows (IFFs) which, by diverting resources from public spending and reducing the capital available for private investment, “deprive countries of the resources they desperately need to provide. public services, finance poverty reduction programs. and improve infrastructure.

In conclusion, Bishop Caccia encouraged the UN to “find ways to highlight the broader and ethical implications of economic activity in the years to come” and stressed the need to transform the economy for it to be ” truly at the service of the human person “.

Pope Francis

The Pope has repeatedly stressed the need for a new economic model, especially as countries restart after the Covid-19 pandemic. He has often said that “the only way out of the current crisis is together”.

During his Urbi and orbi for Easter, he specifically addressed the topic of debt relief. “In light of the current circumstances,” Pope Francis said, “that international sanctions be relaxed, as they prevent the countries on which they have been imposed from providing adequate support to their citizens, and that all nations be brought into line. position to meet the greatest needs of the moment by reducing, if not canceling, the debt weighing on the balance sheets of the poorest nations. “

In his last encyclical Fratelli tutti, he spoke about debt relief in the context of the fundamental right of peoples to survive and grow. This right, he said, is sometimes “severely restricted by the pressure created by the external debt”. This debt stifles and severely limits development, he continued. “While respecting the principle that any legitimately acquired debt must be repaid, the way in which many poor countries fulfill this obligation must not end up jeopardizing their very existence and their growth.”

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Montgomery Churches and Synagogue Participate in National Debt Relief Charity

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WSFA) – That’s a mind-boggling number. About 45 percent of all bankruptcies in Montgomery County alone are related to massive medical debts.

But two Montgomery churches and a synagogue are doing their part to help ease the burden on those struggling with debt.

Kreg Sherbine is a member of the First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in East Montgomery, a church related to RIP Medical Debt Charity based in New York State.

“We are called to take care of those in need,” Sherbine said.

And those in need in Montgomery County include about 1,200 people whose medical debts have been significantly reduced or written off entirely. They represented a combined total of $ 1.2 million in medical debt.

“In a lot of cases, people hit their deductible but couldn’t pay the rest,” Sherbine said. “You also have those who are uninsured.”

It all started 10 years ago with RIP Medical Debt Charity. Two men linked to the debt collection industry apparently changed their minds and took a different path.

“Their goal is to buy as much medical debt as possible and forgive those least likely to pay it,” Sherbine said.

A decade later, RIP Medical paid off $ 1 billion in medical debt in the country; $ 3 million statewide, every part of which comes from donations.

“They buy the debt from collection agencies and forgive it,” Sherbine said, adding that he knows the stories of relief followed by joy.

Sherbine remembered a story told to her by someone who had their debts canceled. The person was upset and said they had to read it twice to believe it.

A reduced or forgiven hospital bill is good medicine for heart and soul.

If you would like to donate or learn more about how RIP Medical Debt Charity works, log on to ripmedicaldebt.org

Sherbine says the other Montgomery church involved is the Community Congregational United Church of Christ on South Court Street. And there is also the Agudath Israel Etz Ahayem Synagogue on Cloverdale Road.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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Somalia Debt Relief, Government Efforts to Combat COVID-19, and Further Boko Haram Attacks

Debt relief in Somalia and other African countries

On Wednesday, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) jointly announced that Somalia is now eligible for debt relief as part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. The success of the HIPC program reduce Somalia’s external debt from the current $ 5.2 billion to $ 557 million in about three years. Somalia will also be eligible to receive new international financing for the first time in 30 years, including access to IMF emergency aid grants to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Thursday the European Union announced $ 47 million grant to help Somalia clear its debt arrears. A number of Somalia’s bilateral creditors will also meet on March 31 to discuss debt relief, Somali Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh hoping 75 to 80% debt relief and a multi-year repayment program. Find out more about debt relief and economic adjustments in conflict-affected states, see the October 2019 event where the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative hosted Minister Beileh to discuss his country’s efforts for debt relief.

In related news, the IMF and World Bank jointly called on bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments of 76 poorest countries in the world to enable them to channel additional resources to fight the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in coordination with other African leaders, called on the G-20 to provide $ 150 billion for the continent’s response to the coronavirus. Abiy’s proposal calls for additional funding for African health systems, partial debt relief and support for struggling businesses, among others.

African governments respond to the spread of COVID-19

Like the rest of the world, Africa continues to face the devastating effects of the spread of COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at the time of this writing, the disease is confirmed in 39 countries in the WHO Africa region with over 2,500 cases.

In response, governments have adopted a wide variety of strategies to contain the disease and mitigate its impact on their economies. South Africa, where the the highest number of cases have been confirmed (over 1,100 to date), implemented a 21 days of national confinement from midnight on March 26. In particular, the WHO has adopted a WhatsApp platform by the South African nonprofit Praekelt.org to provide free automated responses with symptom information, travel tips and number updates to its users. The platform had already in use by the country’s health department.

Sunday March 22, Maurice forbids all entry—Including that of foreigners and Mauritian nationals and citizens — in the country for 14 days. That same day, Tunisia announced a 14-day lockdown period, with the exception of persons carrying out certain essential activities. The next day, Uganda has banned all inbound flights. Later in the week it prohibits all public transport. Monday also, Ethiopia closes land borders. Nigeria banned all interstate travel.

From Friday March 27, Kenya implemented a curfew between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Senegal, Ivory Coast and Sudan announced similar curfews. Also in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto announced a 80 percent voluntary pay cut. Kenyatta’s ministers also take cuts between 20 and 30 percent; Kenya’s parliament will also take 30 percent over the next three months. The The Kenyan government has also offered tax relief for the general population: 100% for those earning less than $ 240 per month, and an income tax cut of 5% for everyone else. Interestingly, an aversion to fish imports from China caused the The booming Kenyan fishing sub-sector.

In the positive news, Senegal announced that researchers at its Institut Pasteur have started validation trials on a $ 1, home COVID-19 diagnostic test which can produce results in as little as 10 minutes. In Cameroon, one of the rebel groups, the Southern Cameroons Defense Forces (Socadef), has temporarily called for a ceasefire in its efforts to break away from largely French-speaking Cameroon and create an English-speaking state, although others groups continue to fight.

On Thursday, the African Development Bank also sold $ 3 billion in three years “Fighting COVID-19 Social Obligations”. In the meantime, the African Import-Export Bank announced the creation of a $ 3 billion credit facility to help African countries fight the effects of the pandemic.

You can find more Brookings comments on the COVID-19 pandemic here.

Nigeria and Chad affected by terrorist attacks by Boko Haram

Two attacks from jihadist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State in the province of West Africa (ISWAP) – a Boko Haram splinter group – killed more than 140 soldiers this week in Chad and Nigeria. In Chad, 92 soldiers were killed by Boko Haram on Sunday March 22 in the Boma peninsula near Lake Chad. The attack was the Boko Haram’s deadliest attack on the Chadian military forces. In Nigeria, 50 soldiers were killed by ISWAP in an ambush in eastern Borno state on March 23. The attack occurred after an attempted offensive against ISWAP by the Nigerian military which started this weekend.

Boko Haram was active in northeast Nigeria since 2009, and over the past decade, with ISWAP, has also spread to neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. According to the United Nations, approximately 36,000 people were killed and nearly 2 million displaced in northeastern Nigeria since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency. Despite regional efforts to defeat jihadist groups, the attacks have multiplied in recent months.

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VA Debt Management Center to resume sending notification letters in January 2021

The VA Debt Management Center (DMC) is sending a letter to veterans with benefit debts this month, advising them that due process notification letters will resume after January 1, 2021.

The November letter reads as follows:

Dear veteran / beneficiary,

We hope this letter finds you well. You are receiving this letter because you may have unpaid VA benefit debts, and we want you to be aware of the actions VA will take after January 1, 2021 and your options.

To alleviate financial hardship during the pandemic, the VA Debt Management Center (DMC) has suspended issuance of debt notification letters and suspended collection actions on debts established after April 3, 2020 until January 1, 2021. DMC has also offered suspensions or extended repayment plans for the debts. established before April 3, 2020.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN 2021

If your debt was established after April 3, 2020, DMC will issue your debt notification letter (s) from January 2021. If you have a debt established before April 3, When collections have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your suspension will end on January 1, 2021 and the DMC will resume withholding from your VA benefits to pay the debt upon your benefit payment on February 1, 2021. If you do not receive VA benefits, your payment will be due to DMC by February 1, 2021.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

If you anticipate payment difficulties, you don’t have to wait until after January 1, 2021 to seek help. Please see the information found on our website: https://www.va.gov/debtman; or contact the DMC for assistance with https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/ask/ or call us at 1-800-827-0648.

We can work with you to determine your debt relief options, which may include:

  • Establish a repayment plan.
  • Request a waiver.
  • Debt challenge.
  • Submit an offer in compromise.
  • Request a temporary suspension of tests.

WHO TO CONTACT

  • For any questions about your VA benefit debt, including information on how to enter into voluntary repayment agreements or request a waiver, dispute, or offer in compromise, submit your request online at https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/ask/ or call 1-800-827-0648 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.
  • If you have a question about your VA benefits or the status of a claim, please call:
    • Educational Benefits – VA Education Contact Center at 1-888-442-4551.
    • Other VA Benefits – VA Regional Office at 1-800-827-1000.
  • For any questions about your VA health care debt, call the Health Resource Center at 1-866-400-1238.
  • If your debt has been submitted to the US Treasury Department, the debt will remain under their jurisdiction. The treasury can be reached at the following address:
    • Cross Service Program at 1-888-826-3127.
    • Treasury Compensation Program at 1-800-304-3107.

We are here to support you during this COVID-19 pandemic. Please follow national and local guidelines to stay healthy and safe.


The VA Debt Management Center (DMC) provides veterans and recipients with compassionate advice on their VA benefit debts. DMC manages the debt collection process and provides assistance with debt resolution options, such as payment plans and waivers.

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SL-PAK will work on Debt Relief, Connectivity: Khan

  • PAK PM Says Developed Countries Must Support Poor In Poor Countries
  • Khan supports stronger business relationship, note via PAK, SL can achieve connectivity with Central Asia
  • SL-PAK signs five memoranda of understanding, cooperation in multiple areas, including tourism
  • Invite MR to visit PAK

Prime Ministers Mahinda Rajapaksa and Imran Khan at the signing of the MoU at Temple Trees yesterday – Photo by Ruwan Walpola

Sri Lanka (SL) and Pakistan (PAK) have agreed to work jointly on negotiating debt relief, PAK Prime Minister Imran Khan said yesterday, calling on international organizations to help poor countries to meet the economic challenges made worse by the pandemic.

Khan, who arrived in SL last afternoon for a two-day visit, was greeted by his SL counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. The two prime ministers held bilateral talks at Temple Trees and issued a joint statement to the media after their meeting. Khan also invited Rajapaksa to visit PAK.

“We discussed how developed countries can help the developing world. The developed world must not be an island, it must realize that this is a problem that has affected everyone, but in particular, it has affected poor countries more and the poor in poor countries much more. So we discussed how we can work together so that poor countries get debt relief, ”Khan told reporters.

He pointed out that although PAK offered the largest stimulus package in its history of $ 8 billion, it was tiny compared to the US plan of almost $ 3 trillion.

“So that’s the gap. The coronavirus has exposed this huge disparity in the world and that’s why I think global organizations like the UN should step in and deal with countries that have been really beaten because of COVID-19. ”

Pointing out that SL and PAK were part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Khan encouraged stronger trade between the two countries, as this would give SL connectivity to Central Asia through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC ).

“This visit aims to strengthen our bilateral relations; it is to strengthen our commercial ties. Pakistan is part of the BRI of China and that means connectivity so I have asked my delegation here to find ways to improve trade and connectivity, and through CPEC, connectivity to Asia. Central for Sri Lanka. Our trade ties also mean that our countries will come closer. “

SL and PAK also signed five memoranda of understanding yesterday. The memoranda of understanding were aimed at improving bilateral economic and social cooperation.

“Mr. Prime Minister, you are no stranger to the people of Sri Lanka. There are millions in this country who have admired you, your leadership on the cricket pitch as captain of the Pakistan national team. Your country continues to be a valuable bilateral partner and Sri Lanka regards Pakistan as a close and genuine friend. Our people hold Pakistan in the highest regard. Pakistan is a country that has supported Sri Lanka in times of great need, ”Rajapaksa said during the joint statement.

“During our bilateral discussions, Prime Minister Khan and I agreed to work closely together to strengthen our bilateral cooperation in the economic sector and several other areas, including trade, investment, science and technology , defense and education.

“We also agreed to seek opportunities under the Sri Lanka-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Our talks also covered important regional and international issues as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also agreed to continue our engagement in the tourism and aviation sectors. Sri Lanka is grateful to Pakistan for opening travel lanes to visit ancient Buddhist heritage sites in Pakistan, ”he added.

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DSM NY Launches Student Debt Relief Collection

November 17, DJ4Animals will launch a capsule collection of varsity-style clothing at Dover Street Market in New York title, State University Fund for Free Education. The pieces refer to the designer’s personal experience with student debt. and aim to raise awareness of the prohibitive tuition fee increases and the socio-economic implications of having – or not having – a university degree. This is the first collection under the core organization of DJ4Animals, SUFE Fund, which provides students with financial mentoring and resources with the aim of making higher education accessible and affordable for all.

With reworked pieces bearing the designer’s signature ‘FREE EDUCATION’, the collection examines what happens when graduates metaphorically shed their ‘college skin’ and financial concerns become pervasive. With SUFE, seeks to change this narrative so that students can use their studies to thrive and embrace positive change rather than just survive.

The next drop will offer SUFE Printed t-shirts for $ 70 USD, ten limited edition Promissory Note hoodies for $ 395 and a special Dover Street Market promissory note stitched hoodie for $ 625. Visit the physical location or DSM NY online shop November 17 to buy.

Dover Street Market also joins the fight against food insecurity in partnership with Sky High Farms, using Awake NY, Denim Tears and more to create exclusive garments.


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How a YouTuber paid off $ 10,000 in credit card debt in 6 months

  • 24-year-old college student and YouTuber Tiffany Ferguson paid off $ 10,000 in credit card debt in six months.
  • With an income of approximately $ 75,000 in 2019 – which equates to approximately $ 50,000 after taxes and business expenses – Ferguson said she used four strategies to quickly get rid of her five-figure debt.
  • From around 18 to 20, she had a balance of up to $ 1,000 a month, but it skyrocketed after six months of study abroad and a few unexpected dental surgeries.
  • She said she used EveryDollar, Google Sheets and QuickBooks to reduce her debt and shared her budget template, budget spreadsheet and a screenshot of her EveryDollar app with Business Insider.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Tiffany Ferguson paid off $ 10,000 in credit card debt in six months. And she wants to help others do the same.

The 24-year-old is a YouTuber and a college student, and she racked up debt for about three years, ranging from 18 to 20.

With almost always a balance of up to $ 1,000, the debt was incurred primarily when it needed to make ends meet between paychecks all the way to college. This balance plus six months of study abroad in France and a few unscheduled dental surgeries quickly amounted to $ 10,000.

“Overall, I was a young adult, college student, just trying to survive, without the financial support of anyone else,” Ferguson told Business Insider.

“I certainly had irresponsible spending habits, but I think my biggest problem was not being able to work enough or earn enough money to meet my bills, let alone start paying off my debts. sure a lot of people would say I shouldn’t have studied abroad or paid to straighten my teeth. “

Ferguson had never made more than around $ 25,000 a year until 2019, when YouTube became his full-time job.

At the end of 2019, his total income for the year was around $ 75,000, which fell to $ 71,000 after business expenses and around $ 50,000 after taxes. From there, she made the decision to pay off her entire $ 10,000 credit card debt (she also managed to spend about $ 8,800 in total on her student loans).

With average expenses of around $ 3,000 per month, his income has fallen to around $ 36,000 for the year, meaning that in total, nearly $ 20,000 of his after-tax income of $ 50,000 is went to debt repayment and about $ 30,000 to other bills and expenses.

Ferguson said one of her biggest challenges in 2019, the first year she was earning more than she used to, was spending extra money on her debt.

A debt repayment journey, reported on YouTube

“At the start of the year,” she said, “I decided to publicly announce my debt repayment journey on YouTube, in part to hold myself accountable. Once I was ready and committed, my actual strategies included tracking all of my expenses, creating spreadsheets, and making additional payments to my debt whenever possible. “

“I use the EveryDollar app to track and categorize my spending,” Tiffany said. “Once I categorize the expenses in EveryDollar, I enter the totals into my annual budget sheet from Google Sheets.” She said she customized the apps to have corresponding categories so she could transfer the same expenses between them.

She entered her monthly income, taxes saved or paid, savings, etc. “The annual budget sheet makes it easier to get a complete overview of my inflows versus my outflows for the year. “

By budgeting each month, she was able to see how much interest she was being charged on her credit card balance. It was over $ 100 for seven of the first eight months, but since she reduced it, it was $ 50 or less from September through December.

Tiffany also said she uses QuickBooks to track her business expenses, income, and tax payments.

Tiffany’s Youtube video detailing her milestones has over 280,000 views to date, and she has shared her exact budgets with Business Insider.

Read on to see the budget sheets Tiffany used to pay off her credit card debt.

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Saint-Louis churches buy back $ 12.9 million in medical debt, then give it away | Metro

Reverend James Ross, pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church in St. Louis, said he sees the need when a nurse shows up to help those in the pantry queue.

“For some people, it’s the only access to medical care they have, and it’s a shame in the richest country in the world,” Ross said. “So at Pilgrim we were delighted to contribute to that. … We know that this matters to the 11,000 families involved, and yet we know that there is much more to be done because while it helps, it does not transform the system.

Rick Stevens, president of Christian Hospital, told the event that a family of three must earn less than $ 4,500 to be eligible for Medicaid in Missouri. He said he supports the expansion of Medicaid and calls on voters to do so in November.

“It can be done,” he said, mentioning similar efforts in Montana and Kansas.

U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay, D-University City, also at the announcement, later said that the policy entrenched since the passage in 2010 of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, is the main obstacle.

He said medical debt was crushing families and limiting the future in Missouri. He said he was alarmed by the closure of hospitals in rural areas. More and more people are traveling hundreds of kilometers, often to Saint-Louis, to obtain adequate health care.

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China helps Africa pay off debt amid Covid-19 pandemic

Through Jonisayi Maromo October 15, 2020

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Pretoria – The People’s Republic of China has put in place a series of interventions to amortize African countries struggling to honor their debts with Chinese institutions in an attempt to ease the pressure on repayments, the Chinese ambassador said in South Africa, Chen Xiaodong.

“China attaches great importance to Africa’s debt sustainability and the economic and social profitability of projects. By putting ourselves in Africa’s shoes, we have worked to help Africa prevent debt risks and ease the pressure on repayments, ”Chen said.

He was speaking at a dialogue webinar hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs and the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program.

“China is committed to ensuring effective and high-quality development in Africa in a way that respects the will of the African people and meets their real needs. Covid-19 is exerting increased economic pressure on African countries. “

China is taking the situation “seriously and has made active efforts” to meet Africa’s needs.

“Based on the implementation of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and within the framework of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, China declared to cancel the debt of the African countries concerned in the form of interest-free government loans that are due. by the end of 2020, ”Chen said.

“China also calls on multilateral financial institutions and private creditors to increase their support for African countries severely affected by the pandemic, including debt restructuring and a further extension of the debt relief period. “

He said the Export and Import Bank of China, as the official bilateral creditor, has so far signed debt suspension agreements with 11 African countries.

The South African Institute of International Affairs and the China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Program, an initiative of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, are jointly organizing a series of dialogues on promoting Africa-China cooperation.

On Tuesday, Chen said the China-Africa friendship and cooperation emerged stronger from the challenges and difficulties.

“However, some forces with ulterior motives have continued to fabricate the so-called ‘debt trap fallacy’, ‘strategic asset plunder fallacy’ and ‘neocolonial fallacy’ to exert pressure on African countries. and prevent their cooperation with China in 5G and other areas, ”Chen said.

“They are trying to drive a wedge between China and Africa and force Africa to take sides. All of their actions are attributed to the Cold War mentality and the zero-sum gaming mentality. “

He pointed out that China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 11 consecutive years. He said bilateral trade between China and Africa reached $ 208.7 billion (Rand 3.4 trillion) last year, 20 times more than in 2000.

African News Agency (ANA)

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Zambia “technically” in default after non-payment of its debt

Zambia said on Wednesday it had deliberately refused to pay $ 42.5 million for its external debt, as it is about to be officially declared the first African economy to default during the coronavirus pandemic.

The copper-rich country did not make an interest payment on a Eurobond, a dollar-denominated bond placed with international investors, which was due to be paid on Friday.

Failure to meet his obligations could see him officially declared in default in the coming days.

But central bank governor Christopher Mvunga said the non-payment was an intentional move.

“It’s not that we can’t pay, just that if we pay one creditor, we have to pay all creditors,” Mvunga told reporters in Lusaka, adding that it was a “conscious decision” not to to pay.

“One of the conditions is that all creditors should be treated equally or fairly. I can’t pay one creditor and I don’t pay the other. It’s not fair, so default itself in this context, “he said.

The government asked in September for a six-month deferral of interest payments on three commercial Eurobonds worth $ 3 billion.

But it missed the $ 42.5 million interest payment owed on a bond on Oct. 14, prompting rating agency S&P to declare the country in default.

Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday it had lowered the default rating of the country’s foreign currency issuers to “RD” from “C” following the non-payment.

The grace period that ended on Friday was for the payment of a $ 750 million Eurobond that was due to expire in 2022.

An official declaration of default is inevitable, analysts say.

“Technically they are in default, but officially this has to be declared (by a special panel) made up of credit analysts from major investment banks,” said Robert Besseling, executive director of EXX Africa, a firm of Johannesburg-based political and economic risk consultant. .

It should happen in a few days, he said.

– Failure to report within days –

Lusaka-based independent economist Mambo Hamaundu, “It’s no longer a secret that there is a flaw.”

Zambia’s external debt has soared to nearly $ 12 billion this year.

Analysts suspect that after the default, the government will resort to printing money to buy more government bonds. This would drive up inflation and trigger a fall in the value of the kwacha.

“And you (will have) in your hands a Zimbabwean scenario that Zambia is already heading a lot towards,” Besseling warned.

Zambia is also a major debtor to China, which officially owes around $ 3 billion, although analysts estimate the actual figure could be between $ 6 billion and $ 9 billion.

Finance Minister Bwalya Ngandu told lawmakers on Wednesday he was hiring all creditors to try to negotiate a debt repayment rescheduling.

“We believe this provides a window of opportunity to reach a mutually acceptable solution despite their decision to deny the request for debt suspension,” the minister said.

The G20 last week declared a framework to restructure the debt of 38 countries in sub-Saharan Africa ravaged by the coronavirus. Zambia has requested suspension of its debt as part of the deal.

In the meantime, the international charity ActionAid “hopes that bondholders will agree to relieve the debt of countries like Zambia,” said Zambian director Nalucha Nganga.

But the “best option will be debt cancellation,” she told AFP.

str-sn / rl

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