It’s a sad truth of American life that the poorer you are the more you pay for banking.
For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, banks and other financial firms in 2016 generated $33 billion in fees related to overdrafts on checking accounts, this is the highest level in seven years. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has compared overdraft fees to a short-term loan with a 17,000% APR!
Mehrsa Baradaran, associate professor of law at the University of Georgia, and author of How the Other Half Banks, writes “As the banks are set up currently, the fees they charge are meant to dissuade small accounts, or accounts by people whose incomes are minimal and very uneven.”
As Baradaran writes in her book’s introduction, the banking industry has stopped serving those who are “too poor to bank”, pushing them into the arms of non-bank service providers to provide the most basic services: to cash pay checks, pay bills or transfer money. In exchange, she calculates that they fork over up to 10% of their income for these services.
In some cases, they don’t have an option: a bank may refuse to open an account for them. And banks have long been trying to “discourage” their smaller customers: fees on accounts where balances dip below a specified level even briefly can look extremely costly to a low-income household.
Financial Health for Everyone
Our vision is an audacious one: to increase the number of individuals with positive financial health and well-being. To achieve financial health, people need day-to-day financial systems that build long-term resilience and opportunity. Financial health enables family stability, education, and upward mobility, not just for individuals today but across future generations. Promoting financial health is good for the American economy. Financially healthy consumers drive new opportunities for increased engagement, loyalty, and long-term revenue streams. Lasting financial health also has a positive macroeconomic impact on communities at local, regional, and national levels.
Numerous obstacles stand in between people and financial health, including education, access, and differing perceptions of financial success. Most recently, market research on Consumer Financial Health shows 57% of American adults struggle financially. Many are dealing with an unhealthy amount of debt, irregular income, and sporadic savings habits. We invest in innovative technologies, policies, and ideas that help Americans overcome those obstacles so that they can thrive. But no single financial product can enable individuals to reach this goal alone; it requires collective creativity, collaboration, and investment from across the public and private sectors.
R. Donahue Peebles is the founder, chairman and CEO of the Peebles Corporation, he runs the largest African American-owned real estate development and ownership company in the United States. The firm has a multibillion-dollar development portfolio of luxury hotels, high-rise residential and commercial properties.
African Americans are still rare in the top tiers of real-estate development. In an 2014 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Peebles revealed that people would often underestimate him as an African-American on the rise in the industry. Since there weren’t any industry mentors for him to look up to, “I had to figure it out myself through trial and error,” Peebles told the paper.
One major problem of economic opportunity being addressed by Donahue Peebles is the lack of government contracting opportunities for Blacks and Latinos in New York City. While Blacks and Latinos make up about 54 percent of the New York City population, they only received 0.55 percent ($84.4 million) of the of the $15.3 billion in city contracts given out in fiscal year 2016, according to a report from Comptroller Scott Stringer.
In August 2017, the unemployment rate was 4.4%. This is great but the problem is that millions of people are still unemployed or underemployed.
The African-American unemployment rate is 7.7% and for African-Americans 16 to 19 years, the unemployment rate is 23.4%.
Yet we need more than just jobs alone. We need good jobs. According to the Social Security Administration 51.4 percent of all Americans make less than $30,000 per year which is only slightly higher than the poverty guideline for a family of four of $24,250. 1 in 5 people in New York City live below the poverty level.
According to a Good Jobs First report, “Shortchanging Small Business: How Big Businesses Dominate State Economic Development Incentives:”
Small businesses account for a large share of the United States’ GDP. A subset of firms that are young and high-growth generate a large share of new jobs. Locally owned firms have been found to generate greater local economic ripple effects than chain establishments or other non-locally owned companies…. the Small Business Administration, for example, attributes almost half of private nonfarm GDP and almost two-thirds of net new private-sector jobs to what it calls small businesses.
[Yet a]cross the 16 programs in 14 states examined, large companies are receiving 80 to 96 percent of the subsidy dollars, and somewhat smaller but still very disproportionate shares of the deals (indicating that deals granted large businesses are more lucrative). Overall, big businesses received 90 percent of the $3.2 billion awarded, and 70 percent of the deals.
For example, in New York City, 80 percent of $82,471,363 in deals went to large firms.
One way to address these problems is for Americans to buy more products manufactured in the United States and for New Yorkers to purchase more locally made products.
If we all buy just 5% more US made products we will create a MILLION new jobs.
America’s problem is not that it does not work like China. It is that it no longer works like America. ~ Richard McGregor
We at Pistis are addressing this by developing a search engine that will have products ads with place of manufacturing information. This is to provide the data so that we can all buy 5% more US made products and create a MILLION new jobs.
Today on Google, when someone searches for anything related to a product name, Google automatically populates most of the above-the-fold space on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) with Product Listing Ads (PLAs).
What big-brand Pay-Per-Click (PPC) managers are finding out is that their PLAs are doing extremely well but this is at the expense of their regular text ads such as AdWords.
Product ads such as PLAs are proving to be very effective and we propose to create a search engine that will have products ads with place of manufacturing information. This information will be like the Kogod Made In America Auto Index assembled by Frank DuBois at American University’s Kogod School of Bussiness.
We are also exploring the following four concepts:
- Blockchain technology
- Machine learning
The Fight For The $400 Billion Business Of Immigrants Sending Money Home
A new class of startups is using bitcoin and the blockchain to drastically lower fees as they try to grab a share of the remittance market from old competitors like Western Union.
For a long time, economists tended to overlook these dollars, but recently they’ve come to appreciate their importance. Remittances, which totaled $429 billion in 2016, are worth three times as much as all the foreign aid doled out by governments worldwide, and it’s likely the money is more effective dollar-for-dollar.
Currently, it’s expensive to send money overseas, which is especially damaging for the immigrants sending small savings home to the developing world. The World Bank says transaction fees average 7.45% globally, and, in many remittance corridors, they’re a lot higher than that. Sending money to Africa from the U.S. or Europe sometimes costs an extra 15%, and within Africa, the fees can be stupendous. To transfer 33,000 Angola Kwanza (about $200) from Luanda to Namibia costs about $50, according to the World Bank’s price database.
Read more: https://www.fastcompany.com/3067778/the-blockchain-is-going-to-save-immigrants-millions-in-remittance-fees
Is Blockchain Technology the Next Big Thing?
Blockchain protocol has the potential to revolutionise finance by increasing transparency and simplifying processes.
Blockchain can basically ease finance. In cross-border payments, it could be used to replace the traditional SWIFT network and cut transaction fees significantly. It offers a convenient way to send money cheaply and efficiently, to facilitate remittance flows.
5 AI applications in Banking to look out for in next 5 years
- AML Pattern Detection
- Chat bots
- Algorithmic trading
- Fraud detection
- Customer recommendations
Read more: https://www.analyticsvidhya.com/blog/2017/04/5-ai-applications-in-banking-to-look-out-for-in-next-5-years/
The Engine for Key Security Platforms at Barclays
Barclays utilizes Elasticsearch in key data analytics initiatives to enable cyber security and cyber defense. The initiatives are aimed both at key security teams working to enable security, as well as C-level executives.
Read more: https://www.elastic.co/elasticon/conf/2017/sf/engine-for-key-security-platforms-at-barclays
How Adopting Elastic at Bankwest was a Catalyst for Cultural Change
Digital disruption is driving sweeping change across many established industries and finance is no exception. In order to increase business agility and foster experimentation, Bankwest’s technology strategy is focused on breaking down existing monolithic systems into smaller distributed components organized around business capability, from which a requirement for centralized logging emerged. Elastic looked like a natural fit, and whilst we had confidence it would meet our requirements, what we didn’t anticipate was how it would become a catalyst for wider cultural change.
Read more: https://www.elastic.co/elasticon/tour/2016/sydney/how-adopting-elastic-at-bankwest-was-a-catalyst-for-cultural-change
SWISS LIFE FRANCE’S 360 CUSTOMER VISION POWERED BY ELASTICSEARCH
The Elastic Stack helps Swiss Life France achieve its Vision 360 project, part of its digital foundation architecture
Swiss Life is a major player in insurance and wealth management. On the French market, its position as a private insurer is renowned. Swiss Life offers comprehensive advice to individuals and corporations, plus a broad range of products and services such as life insurance, private banking, financial management, health and disability, and property and casualty insurance. Swiss Life France supports its customers throughout their lives, building a lasting relationship thanks to personalized advice and provides them with tailored solutions to help them face a longer self-determined life.