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Open Lending Corporation (NASDAQ:LPRO)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
May 11, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good afternoon, and welcome to Open Lending’s first-quarter 2021 earnings conference call. As a reminder, today’s conference call is being recorded. On the call today are John Flynn, chairman and CEO; and Ross Jessup, president and COO; and Chuck Jehl, CFO. Earlier today, the company posted its first-quarter 2021 earnings release to its Investor Relations website.

In the release, you will find reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP financial measures discussed on this call. Before we begin, I’d like to remind you that this call may contain estimates and other forward-looking statements that represent the company’s view as of today, May 11, 2021. Open Lending disclaims any obligation to update these statements to reflect future events or circumstances. Please refer to today’s earnings release and our filings with the SEC for more information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements.

And now I’ll pass the call over to you, John, for your opening remarks.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, operator, and good afternoon, everyone. Thanks again for joining us for our first-quarter 2021 earnings conference call. I’d like to start today by reviewing our first-quarter highlights as well as the progress we’ve made on our growth objectives. Then Ross is going to provide an update on our OEM opportunity, along with some recent changes to our underwriting.

And finally, Chuck is going to review our Q1 financials and our outlook for full-year 2021. During the first quarter, we certified 33,318 loans, which was an increase of 19% as compared to the first quarter of 2020. We reported revenue of $44 million, which was an increase of 152%, and adjusted EBITDA of $30.3 million, which was an increase of 217% as compared to the first quarter of 2020 as well. The first quarter was a record quarter for the company, and March was especially notable as it was a record month in our company’s history from a certified loan perspective.

We certified over 14,500 loans in March, and the momentum has continued into the second quarter. We also continue to make solid progress on our growth opportunities. During the quarter, 14 contracts were executed with new customers, and we currently have over 360 active customers on our platform that have generated certified loans in the past 12 months. We announced a new partnership with Noble Credit Union, which is a $1 billion institution based in Fresno, California, and we’ve also recently signed six other large institutions, which we will announce once they go live on our platform.

We continue to show progress on the credit union front, and we believe we still have a huge runway for growth ahead of us. We continue to have productive conversations with multiple regional bank prospects, and we are currently working on two data studies for these types of institutions. Now we’ve begun making traction with companies in OakParkFinancial.com identifies payday loans bad credit direct lender in the online lending channel who funnel applications to funding sources. We are currently working on a data study with one of these institutions to look at their applications that were not funded in the last quarter, which represents approximately 270,000 applications at various credit scores.

Also during the quarter, we added seven new credit unions and banks to the refinance program and have 28 credit unions that are acting as funding sources behind these refinance channel partners. We noted an uptick in volume, and it was a greater than 75% increase in applications in March of 2021 as compared to March of last year. Penfed Credit Union has grown its third volume from approximately 700 loans in February to over 1,000 in March. In March, we co-hosted a webinar with KPMG, and we published a white paper on CECL relief that can be found on our website.

The webinar had over 100 attendees and has generated positive feedback and inbound calls from current and prospective OEM, bank and credit union partners inquiring as to how we can help. We plan to do more of these webinars on an ongoing basis to educate potential partners on our offerings. As the CECL deadline approaches for credit unions, we believe this is a great growth opportunity for us to expand our wallet share. And then lastly, we continue to make very good progress on adding additional insurance carrier partners to our platform.

We are in active discussions with various top insurance carriers as we feel there is enough volume to support a third or fourth insurance carrier without jeopardizing our relationship with the other two carriers. This is an important initiative for us, and we will continue to provide a more meaningful update on our progress as we execute this initiative. So with that, I’m going to turn it over to Ross to review our OEM business and our progress on that front as well as talk about some of the underwriting changes that we’re currently making.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Thanks, John. As we have spoken previously, the OEM captive market is substantial and a major growth opportunity for us. As of today, we currently serve two OEM captives, which we expect to continue to ramp; and we continue our ongoing discussions, building out our pipeline of other OEMs for the future. Now let me provide an update on our progress growing OEM No.

1 and 2. OEM No. 1, we experienced certification growth of approximately 164% in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the first-quarter 2020. We are very happy with this progress and growth.

OEM No. 1 is currently utilizing our platform for an expanded credit score offering, which is 560 to 679 in all four regions that they service. They launched one region in January and the remaining three regions last week for the credit score ranges 620 to 679. We anticipate this could add an additional 300 certs per month taking OEM No.

1 to approximately 1,300 certs per month once fully ramped. In addition, this week, we are launching expanded loan terms from 72 to 75 months in one of their four regions initially as a pilot. Moving on to OEM No. 2.

As you may recall, OEM No. 2 launched originally in October 2019 with their captive finance arm and paused doing business in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They came back online in October 2020, and production has ramped to near pre-COVID levels. Certified loan growth was approximately 60% in Q1 ’21 as compared to in Q4 ’20, we are now active for both new and used across the nation for OEM No.

2. Production continues to ramp up, and we are making good progress moving forward toward a full ramp of 8,000 to 10,000 certs per month by the end of 2021. We launched subvention in January in one market and were delayed for the February launch due to the Texas storms. As of early March, we are live across the nation with subvention.

We expanded terms to 75 months in early April, and the initial feedback is very positive. So for both new and used, they are ramping in line with expectations, and we are excited about the opportunities to continue to broaden our services with them as the relationship grows. OEM No. 3, as we previously disclosed, we completed a data study for OEM No.

3, and it included a 51% increase in approvals, demonstrating a strong value proposition to their business. We both are encouraged by the results, and we’ll update you as the relationship moves forward. Moving onto OEM No. 4.

As previously disclosed, we completed our data study, which included a 57% increase in approvals from applications they are denying. We are also encouraged by these results and the progression of our discussions, and we’ll update you as well on the relationships as they move forward. Let’s move onto an update on the underwriting initiatives. When COVID-19 hit last year, we tightened our underwriting standards by incorporating a 5% vehicle valuation discount, which resulted in higher loan to values, LTVs, that increased premiums and improved the quality of the credit of our book during that pandemic.

And we changed our income verification thresholds. With the macroeconomic environment improving, we felt it was the appropriate time to change these standards back to where they were pre-pandemic as we have had fewer defaults and claims than expected. We removed the 5% vehicle discount in mid-April and are removing the proof of income for 620 to 680 credit scores for direct and the refinance channels in May. We expect both of these changes will increase our certified loan volume through more attractive rate offerings.

I’ll now turn it over to Chuck to discuss our Q1 financials in more detail.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Great. Thanks, Ross. During the first quarter of 2021, we facilitated 33,318 certified loans and 14 contracts were executed with new customers. In addition, we have nearly a dozen active implementations with go-live dates in the next 60 days.

Total revenue for first-quarter 2021 increased 152% to $44 million as compared to first-quarter 2020, with profit share making up $27.7 million of total revenue, including $5.1 million from performance obligations that were satisfied in previous periods as a result of improved macroeconomic conditions and the continued overall portfolio performing better than expected due to fewer defaults and claims as compared to a $12 million reduction in performance obligations satisfied in previous periods in the first quarter of 2020. Profit share associated with new originations in the first quarter of 2021 was $22.6 million or $680 per certified loan as compared to $15.8 million or $564 per certified loan in first quarter of 2020. Program fees were $14.9 million in first quarter of 2021 as compared to $12.7 million in the previous year quarter. And claims administration fees were $1.4 million in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to $0.9 million in first quarter of 2020.

Gross profit was $40.6 million in first-quarter 2021, an increase of 172% due to higher levels of loan certified as compared to first-quarter 2020 and the ASC 606 change in estimate discussed earlier. The positive adjustment in the first quarter of 2021 related to ASC 606 resulted in a $17.1 million change quarter over quarter and represents the continued improvement of our portfolio performance from a risk perspective related to frequency and severity of defaults and prepayments over what we anticipated last year when the pandemic began. Gross margin was 92% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 86% in first quarter of 2020. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $11.2 million in the first quarter of 2021 compared to $6 million in the previous year quarter.

The increase in SG&A cost reflects an increase in employee compensation and benefits, as we build out our organization in addition to professional and consulting fees as we continue to implement the internal control, compliance, and reporting requirements of public companies. Now moving to operating income. It was $29.4 million in first quarter of 2021 compared to $8.9 million in first quarter of 2020. The increase was primarily driven by the 19% increase in certified loans as compared to first quarter of 2020 and the recognition of the $5.1 million in profit share related to historical vintages as a result of better-than-expected performance of the portfolio as a result of lower-than-anticipated defaults in claims.

Net income for first quarter of 2021 was $12.9 million compared to $8.2 million net income in first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2021 was $30.3 million as compared to $9.6 million in first quarter of 2020. There’s a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial measures that can be found at the back of our press release. Now moving to the balance sheet.

We exited the quarter with $326.8 million in total assets, of which $127 million was unrestricted cash, $97.2 million was contract assets, both current and concurrent, and $83.9 million in net deferred tax assets. We had $286.6 million in total liabilities, of which $173.3 million was an outstanding debt and $92.4 million related to our tax receivable agreement liability. On April 6, 2021, we completed an underwritten public offering of 10,350,000 shares of our common stock at a public offering price of $34 per share. All shares were sold by existing stockholders and certain executive officers of Open Lending.

Upon closing of the offering, we entered into an agreement to repurchase from the selling stockholders an aggregate number of shares of Open Lending’s common stock equal to $20 million or 612,745 shares at the same per share price paid by the underwriters to the selling stockholders in the offering. Also, I wanted to briefly give you an update on our share count we had approximately 126.8 million shares outstanding at March 31, 2021. We posted an updated investor presentation and first-quarter 2021 earnings supplemental to our Investor Relations website, which includes a slide that lays out our current share count post the April secondary offering. Before reviewing our guidance for 2021, there are a few items I wanted to point out.

In March, we entered into a new credit agreement, which included a senior secured term loan facility of $125 million, along with a revolving loan facility of up to $50 million. The new facilities were used to refinance the company’s existing term loan agreement and will result in approximately $9 million in annual interest expense savings. In April, we paid $36.9 million to settle our long-term obligation related to the tax receivable agreement to terminate a $92.4 million liability at $0.40 on the dollar. This settles the TRA holders’ present and future right to the tax receivable agreement.

Now moving to our guidance for 2021. Based on our first-quarter results and trends into the second quarter of 2021, we are reaffirming our previously announced guidance ranges as follows: total certified loans to be between 161,000 and 206,000, total revenue to be between $184 million and $234 million, adjusted EBITDA to be between $125 million and $168 million, and adjusted operating cash flow to be between $81 million and $111 million. Now with that, we will turn it back over to the operator, and we’re happy to take some questions from the group.

Questions & Answers:

Operator

At this time, we will be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] The first question is from Peter Heckmann from D.A. Davidson. Please go ahead.

Peter HeckmannD.A. Davidson — Analyst

Hey. Good afternoon, everyone. Nice results. Wanted to ask about the underwriting standard change that’s going to take place here in May.

Can you talk about what that might represent in terms of a change in the average revenue per loan or — as well as any other thoughts for modeling purposes?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. Peter, this is Ross. The change actually will not affect the average revenue per loan but should change our capture rate, meaning, you know, that many more closed loans compared to the number that are approved. So there is — the change that would happen on — potentially on the revenue side was we do have a reduced amount of premium coming in.

But I think, you know, whenever you factor that in as well as, you know, our continual reduction of claims and prepayments compared to where we estimated, I think there’s a balance in there. So we don’t actually think our overall per cert revenue is going to change that materially. Mainly, we’re just going to be able to capture that many more.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah. It is Chuck, Pete. I would just say on that profit share, I think in that range, I call it 650 per cert, which is what we’ve kind of been discussing kind of longer term for the average there and about 1,150 per certified loan in total.

Peter HeckmannD.A. Davidson — Analyst

OK. That’s helpful. And then what was my other — just as regards the loans by OEM, did you say you continue to expect OEM No. 2 should be able to ramp to 8,000 to 10,000 loans per month? And if so, what kind of time frame are you thinking about there?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I still think we’re right — we’re tracking right in line with that toward the end of the year. And so it is 8,000 to 10,000 number.

Peter HeckmannD.A. Davidson — Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

And thanks, Pete.

Operator

The next question is from David Scharf from JMP Securities. Please go ahead.

David ScharfJMP Securities — Analyst

Great. Good afternoon. Thanks for taking my question. Hey, you know, I was just wondering, you know, we’re at the tail end of a reporting season in which, you know, obviously, consumer lenders pretty much across every asset class experienced much better credit performance than maybe initially anticipated.

And obviously, you’re no exception, and it’s reflected in the profit share. You know, as we think about just some of the puts and takes that impact the demand for your service from your lending partners. Does sort of this benign credit environment and perhaps evidence of other lenders, even OEM captives or credit unions potentially loosening some of their underwriting requirements? Does that represent any sort of headwind in which maybe their approvals internally could be supported? Or does it just sort of — trying to really understand sort of the puts and takes, if you will, whether or not there’s any evidence that some of your lending partners might relax and, therefore, not require as much incremental help from you on near-prime borrowers.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, guys. This is John. So I’ll take the first stab at that. And Ross or Chuck, if you want to jump in, then that’s fine.

we talk to all of our clients on a regular basis. And what we’re finding is every one of these, particularly credit unions have an influx of cash that they’re trying to find a home for it. They have virtually no yield on investments. They’re all trying to reach and find out how they can get more yield on these auto loans and when you’ve been to what they actually get on a perm loan, it’s next to nothing.

I mean you’ve got to be so razor-thin margins when they’re doing a 1.9 interest rate on a new car loan versus being able to generate up to 300 basis points net on a near-prime loan. I had a call yesterday with the gentleman that runs about a $900 million credit union. And he says, “Well, I need to find a home for $100 million that just float in the credit union. Can we sign up for your refinance — your channel partner or capturing those people that got stuck with a higher rate and refinance them into something here?” So I personally don’t see, you know, rate — again, some of the banks might get a little bit more competitive, but I don’t think they can ever compete with the credit unions’, a, cost of funds, the fact that they don’t pay income taxes.

I think we have such an opportunity ahead of us with all of these credit unions that I don’t see them filling up those buckets with their prime loans, but that’s my sense. Ross or Chuck, do you want to add anything?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I’ll just — I’ll add one thing to pile on that, John, is, you know, a lot of the data studies we’re doing are from time periods, you know, just over the past five, six months. So we’re still seeing that these lenders are declining applications that we can improve and help with. We also are seeing that from our capture rates that are ticking up.

So I don’t see that as a current threat that — but we certainly have our eye on it to manage.

David ScharfJMP Securities — Analyst

Got it. No, no, that’s helpful. And I mean it sounds like the credit union universe is not using the kind of current credit environment to sort of open their funnel and dip down into more near prime themselves. Just one quick follow-up.

Any update on just I believe conversions with Bancorp processors in sort of that channel because I believe you were in the process of potentially integrating with one or more in the near term?

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We — as recently as last week, we’ve had a number of really productive calls with Sagent, which I think you’ve heard us talk about is the LOS for at least three of the captives that we’re aware of, and they are the LOS for the one captive that Ross alluded to in the earnings call that is, you know, moving pretty quickly down the path of wanting to do something. So what they heard from that captive that they believe it was [Inaudible] and if something would happen, all of a sudden, they’re all reaching out. They want to get the specs in place to get this thing laid out, but they hope to be fourth quarter ones.

So we’ve got that one going. We’ve talked the other day with a very large shop, kind of a platform known as [Inaudible], which is more of an antiquated LOS, but it’s an experienced and large shop that funds $1 billion of term loans every month. We are going to reach out and figure out how to work with a number of these. But the other one that I — is coming to fruition we launched, so I think I mentioned to you the FIS platform originate within iBank.

Well, now we have one or two more banks that have come pretty close to finishing, you know, their due diligence that have mentioned that they’d be on that same platform. So a lot of good things going down in that realm.

David ScharfJMP Securities — Analyst

Got it. Terrific. Congratulations. Thank you.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, guys.

Operator

The next question is from Joseph Vafi from Canaccord. Please go ahead.

Joseph VafiCanaccord Genuity — Analyst

Hey, guys. Good afternoon. Really good results. A lot of good stuff here.

Maybe we’ll start. I think you said that the March cert number was 14,500 and if that’s right, then, you know, relative to a run rate off of the full Q1, that’s a big bump for the month. So I was wondering if you could maybe discuss a little bit any more breakout on what happened in March to bring that run rate up so much and if it’s sustainable? And then maybe I’ll have a follow-up after that. Thanks.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah. Hey, Joe, it’s Chuck. Yeah. Yeah, as we stated in our prepared comments, you know, March – you know, Q1 was a record quarter for the company at 33,300 certs, and March notable is a record month.

And as we said in the prepared comments, you know, that momentum has gone into the second quarter. So we’re very encouraged by that as we continue to ramp and grow the business. App volume is up significantly in all channels, and that’s driving the increase. Obviously with the stimulus that’s out there and the economy is performing, even though we’re coming out of a worldwide pandemic, our business is doing well.

And I think we proved it in 2020 as well as heading into ’21, this business performs through cycles and is resilient through recessions and downturns. So — but the app volume is driving, obviously, a lot of the volume and where we’re heading.

Joseph VafiCanaccord Genuity — Analyst

OK. Maybe just — maybe a little quick follow-up there, though. Any other color, like — I mean, that’s kind of a — that’s a big bump relative to the quarter. And so just was it OEM driven? Or is it more broad-based? Kind of some more color on what was the — where did those certs come from in March?

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

You bet. I mean it came from all channels. And on our website, we’ve got an updated Q1 supplemental on the KPIs, Joe. So if you think about the credit union and banks just quarter over quarter, and I can also talk to Q4 to Q1, but our credit union, banks are up 16%, and then the OEMs are up 24% over Q1 of ’20.

And that’s what — on a blended basis, that’s 19% cert growth, Q1 of ’21 over ’20. I think you heard in Ross’s prepared comments about OEM 1 and 2. They’re performing and ramping as well over – you know, OEM 1 is up 164% over Q1 of ’20. And OEM 2, as they came back online in the fourth quarter, is up 60% in cert growth just compared to Q1 of ’21 back to Q4 of ’20.

So it’s across the board. The credit union, banks, and OEMs are growing, and that’s what we’ve expected from the business.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Chuck, the one thing I’d add — it’s John Flynn. You remember we had signed a bunch of accounts in 2020 that we couldn’t get launched until the first quarter of ’21 just because of COVID and the [Inaudible] itself. So I think you’re starting to see what we had talked about last year, that a lot of shops that had done had a little bit of a [Technical difficulty]. I think it brings back to the fact that Chuck has alluded to — of it across the board.

How much did launch, Chuck, 14, or somewhere around that number?

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah. That’s right. John, it’s a great point. Of the 55 new contracts signed in 2020 we had about 20 of those that came online in Q1 of ’21, so that’s driving a lot of the increase.

And of those 55, 52 of them are live in writing certs and contributing to the growth in Q1.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

I think you add to it, Joe, the fact that tax refunds were a little delayed this year. So we certainly are seeing that momentum continue into Q2, which is great.

Joseph VafiCanaccord Genuity — Analyst

That’s great. So it sounds like pretty broad-based. Maybe just one more quick one. This online lending channel that I think you mentioned.

That seems pretty intriguing to a lot of cert potential, and I know it’s early there. But kind of how do you look at that versus kind of your other core markets, which are different in some respects just to help us understand to frame the opportunity relative to kind of the overall backdrop? Great results, guys.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

John, do you want to handle the online lending?

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

I don’t know. So I think what we’re seeing from the online lending standpoint is, you know, a lot of our refinance channel partners get applications from them. You know, a lot of these guys, they don’t have a real fund source behind it. They farm it out.

I think when we even put it up, was it Ross who gave the analysis from a competitor that had two fund sources behind them that represented like one funding source was like, I don’t know, 2% of their bots and the other 30-some percent, and one of them just said they weren’t going to go forward with that. What I think is beautiful about our model is the fact, whether [Inaudible] are coming from an online funding source, whether it’s Lending Club, LendingTree, channel partners that go out and look for — through the use of soft pulls, people that got too high of an interest rate when they did the [Inaudible] and then market to those people to refinance into us, I expect it was done over 300-plus lending sources sitting behind these applications has a huge runway ahead of it. And I alluded to the fact that — in my comments about the one online lending platform that we just did a data speed before they pointed out that they have 270,000 apps a core that fall through the cracks, whether it’s because the rate was too high that they were coming back or they were requiring too much of a down payment. So we’re starting to get inbound calls from the likes of people like that are looking for us to bring our funding source to their platform.

I think it will continue to grow.

Joseph VafiCanaccord Genuity — Analyst

Great. Thanks very much, John.

Operator

The next question is from John Davis from Raymond James. Please go ahead.

John DavisRaymond James — Analyst

Hey. Good afternoon, guys. Just wanted to follow up a little bit on the certs and the strength in March. Yes.

I think any comments on April specifically? I think your guide implies pretty healthy triple-digit growth from here on out if I just use the midpoint. And I’m curious, I think the underwriting changes are new, so I assume those weren’t contemplated in the original guide. And so I guess, theoretically, if that does drive higher capture rates that could drive upside to the cert guide. But just kind of curious there if that was contemplated or that was a new decision that was made recently.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Hey, John. How are you doing? This is Chuck. Yeah, I mean, if you think about — I’ll start with the guidance and what we reaffirmed today for full-year ’21. We did come off the record quarter, the record month, but I’d also tell you, 161,000 certs to 206,000 certs is a wide range.

However, our business is running well. We’re executing against our plan, and we feel good going into the second quarter and beyond with the growth in what our business can generate. From adding the underwriting changes and the impact being that the range is that broad, we’d like to think that that’s built-in, and that’s the upside and the opportunity between the low and the high. I would point to you, on the low end of the range of that guide, it’s 70% year-over-year growth; and on the high end, it’s 120% growth.

The midpoint, you referenced is 95%. So we’re very focused on continuing to grow the business and its tremendous growth at any point in that range.

John DavisRaymond James — Analyst

OK. Great. Anything we should think about just from sequentially? I think I was saying, the balance of the three quarters you need even to get to 70% pretty close to triple-digit growth. So just as we kind of think about the cadence through 2Q through 4Q, do you expect the growth to just build? I mean, obviously, 2Q, you have, I guess, easier COVID-related comp, but just curious if there’s any call out sequentially from here.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah. I think Q3 and Q4, a little heavier growth there, and we’re modestly into Q2. But the business is, again, we feel operating and executing very well.

John DavisRaymond James — Analyst

OK. Great. And then just as a follow-up, Ross, I think you gave an update on OEM No. 3 and No.

4. Are we in a situation now where you’re just — you’ve kind of done everything you can do for OEM No. 3 and you’re waiting on them? And then where are we with OEM No. 4 as far as you’re done with the study? Or is there more follow-up? Just any more color you could give would be helpful.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. We definitely have had numerous meetings with our teams IT-wise as well as finance. And I think they have a lot that they are looking at and figuring out where we need to be scheduled in. I think both of them is really not a matter of if but when.

And certainly, the meetings that John alluded to earlier with the Sagent folks, we’ll certainly benefit one of those that are looking to try to measure out what the IT endeavors are and to get those on the table to discuss moving forward. So yes, we’re very excited about it for sure, and as well as you know some of the status of other conversations. So looking forward to being able to report more here next quarter.

John DavisRaymond James — Analyst

Thanks. Thanks, guys.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Vincent Caintic from Stephens. Please go ahead.

Vincent CainticStephens Inc. — Analyst

Hey, thanks. Good afternoon. Thanks for taking my questions. First question actually on the non-OEM side.

So you highlighted a couple of opportunities, so the seven new refi partners, seven — 14 new customer contracts, and guys are getting implemented within 60 days. With the OEMs, you’ve kind of given what you think is the upside and the monthly certification volume. I’m wondering for these non-OEM opportunities if you can talk about the potential monthly certification volume and what’s the upside from here? Thank you.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah, yeah —

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Chuck, I don’t know if you gave a number.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah, go ahead, John.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

I would just say, Vince, one of the things we found over the past year and even more prevalent in this last quarter and this quarter is signing some of the larger shops versus multiple little shops. So I think the upside is obviously there. I don’t know, Chuck, did — I don’t know if you put a number to it. I know you’ve done some graphs that show where our growth is coming from.

Did you want to speak to any of specifics or no?

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

No, I don’t — I mean, Vincent, it’s Chuck. From — obviously, the credit union — to get to the range of the guide that we’ve talked about, not only do OEM 1 and 2 execute sort of the core credit union and bank business, so — but we’re not giving guidance out on individual customers at the credit union and bank level. But we feel like that business year over year with the pent-up demand with the accounts that came on in Q1 that were signed last year, we’re going to have really nice growth in the credit union and bank business as well. I mean you can see in Q1, it was 16%.

Vincent CainticStephens Inc. — Analyst

That’s helpful. Are you able — maybe without talking about a specific customer, just kind of broadly. And I know there’s different sizes of credit unions, but does, say, a typical credit union do a couple of hundred a month versus a bank would be a couple of thousand a month? Or I’m just kind of wondering if maybe there’s a sense of size that you could help with us if there’s anything you could offer.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think the thing I’d add, yes, we’re looking at credit unions that can certainly do a couple of hundred a month for sure. We did just sign and they’re getting ready to launch a bank. And we believe once fully ramped, could do up to 1,000 a month because it’s launching through a finance channel partner. And that’s the goal they’ve given us.

But it’s not going to happen in the first 90 days. They’re launching it in certain states to get it started, and then they’ll roll it out as they get comfortable with it. But I think some of the credit union sizes that we’re talking about can certainly do 300 a month; some, 400 a month. And you heard me speak to the fact that once we have Pentagon hopefully launched on just one of our refinance channel partners, their cert growth went from 700 in February to over 1,000 in March — or March to April, I think the months were.

But you can see that kind of growth from some other shops that have the liquidity that they want to get there, especially since we launch them into a refinance channel partner.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

And Vincent, we usually tier credit union opportunities. Tier 1 is 100 more. Tier 2’s 50 or more. Then we go to 10 or more, then below that.

So we do that. And so we kind of have those tiers that we assign based on our expectations, and then we kind of juggle those around. So I wish there were more, 500 a month, but we like the Tier 3s, 2s, and 1s equally, just more of them.

Vincent CainticStephens Inc. — Analyst

OK. Great. That’s helpful. Thank you.

Because I don’t think — I think it’s underappreciated about the non-OEM opportunities since we don’t talk about it too much. Second question, kind of on the profit share and the expectations. So your profit share was really good this quarter, and I saw the $5 million positive profit share adjustment. Just wondering, when you think about profit share going forward, credit has been great.

What’s built into your future credit expectations like when you think about the loss curve that you had put on your slide deck in the past? And the recoveries you’ve had, has it gotten appreciably better? And I’m thinking about it in future quarters in 2020, is there potential upside in the profit share that you have? Thank you.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah. I’ll start, and then Ross can jump in. But as it relates to the $5.1 million and — change in estimate and profit share in Q1, that is attributable to the business performing better than expected, less defaults, and less claims. And as we’ve talked about on various other calls, we’ve got a very robust process that John, Ross, and I are involved in.

We’ve got a very talented risk team that evaluates this on a monthly and quarterly basis. And we believe there’s unknowns still in the future. But we believe that $650 per cert, on average, we think, is a good average to use in your modeling purposes. And as it relates to loss curves and things like that out into the future, we look at it quarterly.

We have that robust process that we follow. We sit down with the risk team and we evaluate. And if the stress that we had in the model didn’t materialize, we’ll have a positive adjustment, which is what we had in the first quarter. So —

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I mean we all know that we’re benefiting certainly from the used car index being at record levels, which are certainly helping our LTVs and rates, but it’s helping others as well. So there obviously is a risk out there once the chip shortage is made up, and new cars are back being produced and all that, what the effect of that is on used cars. And that’s one of the reasons we continue to stress the future, not knowing when that’s going to happen but having these various probabilities in place to look at that.

And so — but clearly, we know that there’s definitely a tailwind right now.

Vincent CainticStephens Inc. — Analyst

Okay. That’s very helpful. Thank you so much.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Thanks, Vincent.

Operator

The next question is from James Faucette from Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.

James FaucetteMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Yeah. Thanks for all the great color and commentary. I want to follow up on that last comment, and that actually was my key question, was any way to at least estimate how much of a benefit you are getting from the — right now from the strength of the used car market and the value of used cars specifically. And then can you outline for us a little bit how you’re — in your planning, how you’re expecting that to normalize, over what period and at what rate, and kind of how we should think about that impact?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

You bet. So I think, so I think, first of all, on the used car side, one thing to note that we still are close to 85% used versus new. So from an origination and a forecast standpoint, the effect of the decrease in new should not materially impact us because I think it will be made up from the used side of it. On the underwriting and our profit share, I’ll let Chuck continue on this.

But obviously, we have stress on what claims severities could be out in the future when you have that depreciation of value and is built into our model. And that’s something, obviously, that we true-up quarterly. Chuck, you want to?

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Yeah, James. Yes, I’ll jump back again. But yes, that’s something we — as I said to Vincent’s comment, that we look at on a quarterly basis. And we’ve got some stress on severity throughout ’21 and into ’22 in our model that we have in there.

So from a planning perspective, that’s how we assess it. But we reassess it on a quarterly basis based on new facts and circumstances.

James FaucetteMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Got it. Got it. And from a — as you kind of play that out and think about like an eventual return to and availability of new cars, etc., do you think that overlaid with the people that you’re talking to and the OEMS, etc., is that we should see a change in that used versus new car mix in a meaningful way? And anything we should take into account that way?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Well, I’ll just tell you, when you talk to the OEM, they want to talk to you about how much you can help them move metal. When you talk to the captive finance side, they want to talk to you about how to monetize some of these trade-ins and used cars that are out there. And so really, it’s a win-win deal, and both sides of it benefit. Now that we have subvention launched throughout the country for OEM No.

2, and as they continue to get used to that in the various tiers that it’s working in, I think that really bodes well for end of Q3 and Q4 when we — when chip shortage, hopefully, can get back to the level that can meet the demand, and we certainly will benefit from that, from the new side.

James FaucetteMorgan Stanley — Analyst

That’s great. Thank you so much, guys.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. Thanks, James.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Thanks, James.

Operator

The next question is from Sameer Kalucha from Deutsche Bank. Please go ahead.

Sameer KaluchaDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Hi. Thanks for taking my question. What I wanted to get a sense on was the insurers you’re working with, you mentioned you’re working with insurer three and four. Any color you can provide on the time lines when you expect them to be live?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

John, do you want to take the first part of that?

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We’re, you know– we work closely with at least four different carriers throughout the year. Our hope would be to have at least one of them up and running by third quarter. So that’s our game plan.

We’re in the process of negotiating the final contracts. The other three that [Inaudible] on that one are all very strong or strong financially. That’s just [Inaudible] of, again, us seeing the right timing so that we can commit the [Inaudible] amount of premium on each of them. So the game plan is to hopefully have one of them up and running by the third quarter here.

Sameer KaluchaDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Got it. And the quick follow-up I had on the online channel, you’ve mentioned conversations with one and a little bit color on the scale of applications. Any sense on any more you’re talking to who are at similar scale or other people you’re talking to are much lower?

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think it’s a matter of all the 250,000 to 270,000 turn-down order. But I think by the picture of the — that we’re aggregating a bunch of them, yes, that there’s a significant sort of applications that will be flowing through from that group, if you will, of online lenders. And these aren’t just people that have sites out there like, you know, Lending Clubs or LendingTrees. This is coming from the seven different refinance channel partners that we have that go out and target consumers, like I mentioned earlier, by pulling soft pulls on ZIP code people to be able to find out who within a specific area bought a car over the last six months, and they come back in what that interest rate is in their FICO score and target that consumer directly.

So it’s not necessarily just the online lenders that are out there that people can jump in and apply to. People that are actually being directly marketed to that we know can save $100, $150 a month, which really increases the close rate significantly.

Sameer KaluchaDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Got it. Great. Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Mike Grondahl from Northland Securities. Please go ahead.

Mike GrondahlNorthland Securities — Analyst

Yeah. Hey. Thanks, guys. I think you commented that you’re doing a data study for two different regional banks.

How far are you along with that? And any guess at sort of how long that sales cycle is?

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

I can tell you that one of the banks that reached to us earlier this week and said that we’ve made [Inaudible] first grouping of due diligence and that we’re now starting to talk with them about what the interface would look like and things like that. That one — and the other one that we mentioned out of the Houston area, we believe, should be live, would — probably within the next 60 days through 1 of our refinance channel partners. So we’re getting pretty good feed from these real-sized banks that I think that can generate some pretty good volume significantly quickly.

Mike GrondahlNorthland Securities — Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from John Hecht from Jefferies. Please go ahead.

John HechtJefferies — Analyst

Afternoon. Thanks for taking my questions. And many have been asked and answered. But I’m wondering, have you guys talked about tightening your LTVs in the quarter? But I’m wondering if you look out at the overall end markets, is there anything you’re seeing with respect to other banks, either loosening or tightening or taking down or up their LTVs and anything that’s going on with pricing that is worth noting?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I think in the past when we talked about tightening LTVs when we did that 5% decrease in value, that didn’t necessarily tighten our LTVs, but it basically put an application in a higher LTV classification, which generated more premium. So, you know, our LTVs, you know, are still, I believe, are higher than most lenders in the first place. And that’s — besides just buying deeper, expanding on that right side on the LTV is the other side of the value prop in there.

So I would imagine that the vehicle values themselves remaining at highs, record highs kind of takes care of that. And just through the math, it works out to be higher LTVs than a lender typically would go, assuming they use an NADA trade or Kelley wholesale on that.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think the thing I’d add to that, Ross, is just all were, in essence, I mean of going back to COVID underwriting rules, we tightened those things up as it relates to what Ross mentioned, bump them up in the LTV area really just because we weren’t sure where it was going to go. Our results pre-COVID were pretty stellar. And I think that’s not going to hurt us [Technical difficulty] with the fact that these values have stayed up. They — the way they’ve gotten to — the fact that we’re going back to some of the pre-COVID underwriting rules, I think, is really just going to help us, again, to Ross’ point earlier, get our book-to-bill ratio up significantly and an area where our performance was always good to begin with.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. One other thing to add, John, if you recall from our comments earlier, we actually are offering a little bit longer term than we have in the past, where 72 months was our cap before, and we’re going to 75. And we’re doing that not only with a couple of the OEMs but initially with a handful of other customers before we spread it to all our clientele.

John HechtJefferies — Analyst

OK. That’s all very helpful. And you launched subvention now to two OEMs. I’m wondering, does that — obviously, that gives you more breadth to take more volume with them.

Does it also allow you to go into different products like leases? Or is it still mostly lending products?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. So just to be clear, subvention is only live in OEM No. 2. We have not launched it in OEM No.

1. That’s certainly on the table to discuss. They’ve asked us to circle back once we have some experience with that. And so we’re just waiting for time and experience to circle back.

But that clearly is an opportunity that can get them well ahead of that 1,300 run rate that they have that we talked about earlier in that.

John HechtJefferies — Analyst

And so it really just increases the I guess, the opportunity set within the OEM? Or does it also bring you to different products?

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Well, I think it just allows us more wallet share per OEM. But I think the leasing side is something that is — something that we will explore. It’s not on the radar this year. But it’s a gigantic market.

If we can figure out how to underwrite and provide that credit risk for the credit side, but not take on residual risk, that’s what we’re kind of trying to go through the process evaluating now.

John HechtJefferies — Analyst

Great. Thank you, guys, very much.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Thank you.

Operator

This concludes today’s conference call and the question-and-answer session. I’d like to turn the call back over to John Flynn for any closing remarks.

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thank you very much, operator And again, thanks to everybody that stayed on the line, asked questions. Again, we’re very excited about where the company’s come to and where it’s going. As you know, we’re kind of an open book.

So any questions you have, feel free to reach out whenever, and we’re happy to jump on the phone. So thanks again for all of your important questions.

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Yes, thank you.

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 59 minutes

Call participants:

John FlynnChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Ross JessupPresident and Chief Operating Officer

Chuck JehlChief Financial Officer

Peter HeckmannD.A. Davidson — Analyst

David ScharfJMP Securities — Analyst

Joseph VafiCanaccord Genuity — Analyst

John DavisRaymond James — Analyst

Vincent CainticStephens Inc. — Analyst

James FaucetteMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Sameer KaluchaDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Mike GrondahlNorthland Securities — Analyst

John HechtJefferies — Analyst

More LPRO analysis

All earnings call transcripts

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Obama’s attack on the right of conscience http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/obamas-attack-on-the-right-of-conscience/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/obamas-attack-on-the-right-of-conscience/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:49 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/obamas-attack-on-the-right-of-conscience/

Over ten years ago, I attached an amendment to a spending bill to protect the conscientious rights of those who choose not to offer, perform, or assist in performing abortions. The effort was essential to ensure that health organizations across the country were not forced to violate their beliefs.

Every year since, Congress has renewed the Weldon Amendment, as it is known. But on June 21, the Department of Health and Human Services violated that measure by refusing to block federal funding for California because of its mandate that all state health insurance plans cover procedures for ‘abortion. This blatant disregard for the rule of law is unacceptable.

This week the House is about to vote on a bill to prevent the Obama administration from violating my amendment. Congress must pass this legislation. It is vital to protect the rights of conscience of those who oppose abortion procedures.

In 2005, the National Abortions Rights Action League launched a project to make abortion services mandatory in all hospitals in the state of Maryland. It bothered me. As a doctor, I had learned over the years that there are many medical students, doctors, and nurses who didn’t want to know more about or get involved with abortions. Some were pro-life advocates whose objections were rooted in their faith. But many were not; they just didn’t want to be involved in a procedure that didn’t heal, but killed. The Weldon Amendment was designed to protect medical workers acting out of conscience and personal preferences, just as if they had a religious basis for their objection.

Two years ago, however, California required all state insurance plans to cover abortion, a direct violation of my amendment. California should have withdrawn its mandate at the risk of losing significant sums of federal health care funding. For two years, however, the state refused to repeal the law, leaving the Obama administration with only one choice: withdraw the funding.

Therefore, I was shocked on June 21 when HHS, after spending over 18 months studying the matter, said California was not in violation. In arriving at this conclusion, HHS misinterpreted the wording of my amendment and my statements.

When I drafted my amendment I foresaw that a day might come when the wrong governor or the wrong president would work with abortion advocacy groups to impose abortion ethics on those who reject or prefer it. do not get involved. This is why I have deliberately used the term “health care entity” as opposed to “providers” or “physicians”. I further made this clear in my statement on the ground when I said it was “intended to protect the decisions of doctors, nurses, clinics, hospitals, medical centers and even insurance providers.” illness of being forced by the government to provide, refer or pay for abortions. “

Last Friday, Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) Convened a forum on Capitol Hill with a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss this issue. They unanimously admitted that the administration had violated the law. In addition to legal experts who argued the administration was wrong on the facts, pro-life nurses described their experiences of being forced into late abortion procedures or risking losing their jobs. Pastors of anti-abortion churches in California have explained their fears of having to purchase health insurance for church workers that covered abortion procedures.

The language of the Weldon Amendment is simply a continuation of Hyde’s policy, which prohibits the use of federal funding for abortion. As I explained in my statement, “The right of conscience is fundamental to our American freedoms. We must ensure this freedom by protecting all health care providers from having to perform, refer or pay for elective abortions. “

The administration argues that the provision does not extend to health insurance companies that have no moral objection to the practice of abortions, but rather oppose on behalf of their religious clients. In other words, they take the reference to the protection of conscience and interpret it as a religious or moral test for the health care entity.

This is far from being the truth. There is no reasonable way to read my statement as a religious or moral test. Just as the Hyde Amendment stopped all federal funding for elective abortion, my Amendment similarly stops any discrimination against entities that do not provide, pay, provide coverage, or recommend abortion. . The administration’s interpretation of the Weldon Amendment clearly disregards the intent and language of the law.

It is a pivotal moment for those who support religious freedom and the rights of conscience for all individuals. Congress must pass legislation to protect the rights of those who, for reasons of personal preference or religious belief, choose not to get involved in providing abortions. It is time to codify my amendment and ensure that all health care providers have the right to act if any state or government insists that they participate in any way in the practice of abortion.

The House is ready to vote on a Bill from Representatives John Fleming (R-La.) And Diane Black (R-Tenn.) That will achieve this goal. The Senate must also take on this cause.

When a government violates the conscience rights of its law-abiding citizens, it is entering very dangerous territory. Some might even call it tyranny. Congress must act now before the summer recess to ensure that no health entity is forced to violate its beliefs. Every medical worker should have the right to choose protected by our legal system.

David Weldon was a member of the 15th Congressional District of Florida House of Representatives from 1995 to 2009.


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NHRC advises government. on women’s rights during the pandemic http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/nhrc-advises-government-on-womens-rights-during-the-pandemic/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/nhrc-advises-government-on-womens-rights-during-the-pandemic/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:49 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/nhrc-advises-government-on-womens-rights-during-the-pandemic/

Recommendations include the creation of a task force on gender-based violence, free contraception, moratoriums on loans taken by women workers

The establishment of a working group on gender-based violence to coordinate and monitor support and prevention services, the provision of free contraceptives and the granting of moratoriums on all loans taken out by women workers were among the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its opinion to the government on Wednesday on protecting women’s rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released Thursday, the NHRC said it had formed an expert committee to study the impact of the pandemic on human rights, which had led to opinions on various issues, including womens rights. The NHRC statement says the Center and state governments have been urged to implement the recommendations and report on actions taken.

Citing the National Commission for Women finding that cases of domestic violence had increased two and a half times from February to May, the NHRC recommended a “coordinated, interdepartmental health system response” to gender-based violence and a task force to ensure implementation of related laws.

The opinion, which was sent to various central ministries, including the ministries of women’s and children’s development, health and family and home affairs, as well as all states and territories of the Union , included recommendations on sexual and reproductive rights.

“Arrange for free contraceptives and other essentials for safe childbirth and abortion in public health facilities,” the advisory said.

The NHRC recommended extending the moratorium on loan repayments, including for self-help groups and MUDRA loans.

“A moratorium can be granted on all loans taken out by workers, including sex workers, from banks and other financial institutions. In the event of harassment on the part of lenders, the authorities concerned can be duly informed and take appropriate action, ”states the opinion.

The NHRC opinion said state governments can provide assistance to sex workers and they should be recognized as informal workers in order to access social protection measures.

Regarding accredited social health activists (ASHAs), anganwadi and sanitation workers, the opinion said pay should meet minimum wage standards and overtime should be compensated.

For women from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minority Communities, the advisory said essential health services, whether or not related to COVID-19, should be uninterrupted. The notice said the government should notify sanitary napkins and iron and folic acid supplements as essential items and ensure continued supply through the Rajiv Gandhi Adolescent Empowerment Program and Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram. . The notice also stated that all pregnant inmates should be released and that for those inside prisons, better toilets and gender-sensitive health services should be provided.


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Stand firm against killing the unborn child | Featured columnists http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/stand-firm-against-killing-the-unborn-child-featured-columnists/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/stand-firm-against-killing-the-unborn-child-featured-columnists/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:49 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/stand-firm-against-killing-the-unborn-child-featured-columnists/

I will never forget the times (first – 42 years ago) I spent in the delivery room with my wife when my children were born.

My wife’s doctor was kind enough to allow me to film the birth of my children. Nowhere was the world as contentious as it is today.

There is something very special about being able to watch yourself being born and that is what my oldest son can do today, some 42 years later.

Watching your child born is something very special.

Seeing this first breath being taken out of the womb, hear this cry of life and know that together you and your wife, with the help of God, have created something extremely precious and it takes your breath away .

This is, among many others, one of the main reasons why the word abortion is so loathsome and, in my opinion, criminal to me.

With the exception of rare extreme reasons which may include the potential death of the mother during childbirth, there are few justifiable reasons for the abortion of a live fetus / child.

The reasoning for allowing such disgusting behavior in society stems from a distorted form of human reasoning that you believe that a child with a heartbeat and the ability to move around in a mother’s womb is something. less than human.

Therefore, she has the right to kill him.

Certainly, there are people in political and legal positions who will argue on this point, but then, they wouldn’t be here if their mothers had been able to abort them years before, so their argument wouldn’t even exist – as they weren’t. neither would.

The governor of Guam has spent our taxes and even went so far as to put someone, Jayne Flores, with the responsibility of finding an abortion doctor in Guam to kill more babies. Today, the United States Civil Liberties Union has even stepped into the fray to help kill more babies.

All this while Guam lacks a medical examiner to help our community face the responsibility of addressing the reasons why so many more may have died from natural and other, more criminal reasons.

The latest was the horrific beheading of a man in a wheelchair in Santa Rita whose head was reportedly found in Dededo.

Was this man dead before he was beheaded or after? Only a certified forensic pathologist can make this much needed decision. This in turn will lead to the course of the criminal case in which the accused perpetrator was allegedly involved.

How many more homicides have still not been solved due to the lack of a certified forensic pathologist? How many assassins are left at large for lack of ME for Guam?

How much time and effort is put into making our island a certified medical examiner rather than rummaging around and working with strangers to facilitate the killing of babies?

I strongly support those members of the Legislature who will not bow to the horrific behavior of killing babies in the name of women’s rights.

Children, who have not yet been born, also have rights which include the right to life, liberty and the continuation of the life that awaits them.

Senators, hold on!

Residents, remain vigilant and hold your public officials accountable for their behavior. My belief is that God certainly will.

Esta.


Lee P. Webber is a former president and editor of media organizations in Guam and Hawaii, former director of operations for USA Today International / Asia, and a longtime business and civic leader in Guam.


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Rishi Sunak News: UNAWARE Victims of Bounce Back Loan Scam | UK | New http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/rishi-sunak-news-unaware-victims-of-bounce-back-loan-scam-uk-new/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/rishi-sunak-news-unaware-victims-of-bounce-back-loan-scam-uk-new/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:49 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/rishi-sunak-news-unaware-victims-of-bounce-back-loan-scam-uk-new/

Bouncing Loans: Rishi Sunak Discusses New Program

The National Audit Office (NAO) recently revealed that taxpayers could lose up to £ 26bn due to fraud, organized crime or the failure of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s rebound loan program. Since BBL’s inception in April, fraudsters have been able to steal victims’ personal data by using phishing emails or buying them from criminal forums. Fraudsters can then set up a bogus business on their behalf.

After opening a business bank account, they then apply for a bounce loan from the same bank.

Victims may not even know they’ve been scammed unless they attempt to take out another loan and find out they have a Cifas brand, which shows potential lenders that they are vulnerable. fraudulent attempts to contract credit on their behalf.

Jeremy Asher, who leads MSB’s private prosecution team, outlined the steps that lead fraudsters to gain access to the BBL system.

He told Express.co.uk: “The long-term ramifications of scams are worrying.

“It’s amazing, it has all been like a national disaster.

“We are the victims. Are we going to pay this for years with our taxes?”

Rishi Sunak unveiled government Bounce Back loans in April (Image: GETTY)

He added that the “main motivating factor” of the government was speed in launching the program.

Mr Asher said: “She was aware that Germany and Switzerland already had their own bounce loan programs in place, both of which offered guarantees in that companies were not allowed to self-certify. ; were not allowed to use the loans to repay existing loans, and could only use the loans in certain circumstances to pay dividends.

“Compare these guarantees with the UK government’s system, in which none of these guarantees were imposed, as the government wanted to release funds to businesses within 48 hours of the request, when the usual time it would take for banks to process these requests takes between four and 12 weeks.

“Banks and intelligence agencies weren’t ready for the program to launch – it took them about a month to upgrade, by which time huge sums of money were already on loan.

READ MORE: UK taxpayers face £ 26bn bill due to fraud

The government's goal of the BBL program was to help people who needed support as quickly as possible

The government’s goal of the BBL program was to help people who needed support as quickly as possible (Image: GETTY)

“Gradually, the banking guarantee system, including fraud reference agencies such as CIFAS, lender due diligence and post accreditation audits, began to take effect.

Mr Asher added that it is unlikely that it will be known how many companies are in default until May 2021.

He said: “The reporting system (portal) used by banks does not highlight the risk of fraud.

“The British Bank provided training to banks on best practices, but there was insufficient time to avoid duplication of requests.

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The coronavirus pandemic has hurt many small businesses financially

The coronavirus pandemic has hurt many small businesses financially (Image: EXPRESS)

“The self-certification process meant there was no credit check when banks went to lend to existing customers. Non-viable businesses were able to access the loans.”

Mr Asher also explained that Cifas markers stay there for six years without detection unless people try to apply for a credit or loan and realize they now have a mark.

He told Express.co.uk: “People are categorized as scammers and they just don’t know it!”

A spokeswoman for the Cifas fraud prevention service said there are ways for people to find out if they have this mark on their credit score.

The spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Anyone who wants to know what details are held about them in the National Fraud Database and which organization has placed them there, can request access to the topic. via the Cifas website.

Cifas markers stay there for six years without detection unless people try to apply for credit

Cifas markers stay there for six years without detection unless people try to apply for credit (Image: GETTY)

“They are then advised to contact the organization that registered the marker and follow their complaints procedure.”

A government spokesperson said the aim of the BBL program was to help people who needed support as quickly as possible.

He told Express.co.uk: “As the NAO rightly points out in this report, our loan programs have provided a lifeline to thousands of businesses across the UK – helping them to survive the epidemic and protect millions of jobs.

“We have targeted this support to help those who need it most as quickly as possible and we make no apologies.

“We have sought to minimize fraud – with lenders implementing a range of protections, including anti-money laundering and customer checks, as well as transaction monitoring checks.

“Any fraudulent claim may be subject to criminal prosecution for which penalties include imprisonment or a fine or both.”


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SpaceX abandons Mars Starship rocket test flight at the last second http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/spacex-abandons-mars-starship-rocket-test-flight-at-the-last-second/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/spacex-abandons-mars-starship-rocket-test-flight-at-the-last-second/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:49 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/spacex-abandons-mars-starship-rocket-test-flight-at-the-last-second/

SpaceX’s futuristic spacecraft’s first high-altitude test flight was halted at the last second in Texas on Tuesday.

SpaceX almost launched a prototype of the rocket that company chief Elon Musk is designing to transport people to Mars. The goal was to shoot Starship at an elevation of eight miles (12.5 kilometers) the highest to date, then return it to a vertical landing.

But an automatic engine shutdown occurred with only 1.3 seconds remaining in the countdown. SpaceX announced on its webcast that it was done for the day, and there was no word on when it might try again.

SpaceX has already completed five Starship test flights, but these older, simpler models did not exceed 150 meters. engines.

SpaceX has taken over Boca Chica in the far southeast of Texas, near the Mexican border, to build and test its spacecraft. The company intends to use Starships the top tier atop the Super Heavy boosters to send huge satellites into orbit around Earth and send people and goods to the Moon and Mars.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Education Loan Financing (ELFI) Student Loan Refinancing Review http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/education-loan-financing-elfi-student-loan-refinancing-review/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/education-loan-financing-elfi-student-loan-refinancing-review/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:48 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/education-loan-financing-elfi-student-loan-refinancing-review/

Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles that our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links to products from our affiliate partners.

To help their children finance their college education, many parents take on debt in the form of high interest Parent PLUS loans issued by the federal government.

Parent PLUS loans are a type of student loan taken out on behalf of a parent who assumes full responsibility for the payment of the loan (s).

One way to pay off a Parent PLUS loan faster than the standard 10-year repayment term is to refinancing by a private lender. If you qualify, refinancing can help you get a lower interest rate so that you can reduce debt faster while saving money on long-term interest.

Another benefit for parents looking to put the financial responsibility on their adult children: refinancing is the only way to transfer Parent PLUS loans on behalf of your child. While you can refinance Parent PLUS loans in your name, you can also choose to have your child pay off the loan by refinancing it in their name.

There is a big caveat: Parent PLUS loans are a type of federal loan that is eligible for the current federal student loan payment and interest freeze. We do not recommend that you consider refinancing your Parent PLUS loans before the forbearance ends on September 30, 2021.

Unfortunately, not all private lenders allow refinancing of Parent PLUS loans – Financing student loans Refinancing student loans Is. Borrowers can refinance their Parent PLUS loans and even combine them with their private student loans. For this reason, To select ranked Education Loan Finance (ELFI) on our list of the best student loan refinancing companies.

Read on for more details on ELFI student loan refinancing, including APR, benefits, fees, loan amounts, and length of terms. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best student loan refinancing companies.)

Student Loan Refinancing Review

Financing student loans Refinancing student loans

Information on Education Loan Finance has been independently collected by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by Education Loan Finance prior to posting.

  • Cost

    No origination fees to refinance

  • Eligible loans

    Federal, Private, Graduate and Undergraduate Loans, Parent PLUS Loans

  • Types of loans

  • Variable rates (APR)

    From 2.39% (rates include a discount on automatic payment)

  • Fixed rates (APR)

    From 2.79% (rates include a discount on automatic payment)

  • Loan conditions

    From 5 to 20 years for the refinancing of student loans; 5, 7 or 10 years for the refinancing of the parent loan

  • Loan amounts

  • Minimum credit score

  • Minimum income

  • Authorize a co-signer

Financing student loans Refinancing student loans APR

ELFI offers variable and fixed APRs. Variable interest rates fluctuate over the life of the loan, while fixed rates stay the same throughout the life of the loan.

ELFI’s variable rates start at 2.39%. Fixed rates start at 2.79%. Variable and fixed APRs automatically include a 0.25% discount on the automatic payment.

Benefits

Since not all refinance lenders allow borrowers to refinance their Parent PLUS loans, being able to do so through ELFI is a big advantage. In addition, borrowers can combine their Parent PLUS loans with any other private student loan they co-signed, so that all the debt is consolidated into one loan. This simplifies your monthly payments – ideally at a much lower interest rate.

ELFI website says customers report saving an average of $ 272 per month and could realize an average of $ 13,940 in total savings.

There are also a few bonuses available for borrowers including $ 25 to their PayPal account when they refinance using their PayPal ID and a $ 400 referral bonus program. And borrowers are assigned a personal loan advisor to guide them through the refinance process.

ELFI offers payment protections for borrowers, such as deferment where they align their repayment start date with the expiration of the grace period on federal student loans they refinance, as well as financial hardship or forbearance. medical treatment for up to 12 months.

Fresh

ELFI does not charge borrowers any set-up fees to take out a refinancing loan, nor any loan application / guarantee fees.

There are no prepayment penalties, but a late charge which is 5% of the overdue amount or $ 50 (whichever is less). Returned check or insufficient funds charge is $ 30.

Loan amounts

There is a minimum loan amount of $ 15,000 and no maximum.

Term of office

Borrowers have the flexibility, with loan terms ranging from 5 to 20 years for refinancing student loans and 5, 7 or 10 years for refinancing Parent PLUS loans.

At the end of the line

Financing student loans Refinancing student loans is the best option for those with Parent PLUS loans who could benefit from refinancing, either to get a lower interest rate or to transfer the loan on behalf of their child. If you have co-signed private student loans, you can combine and refinance all of the debt into one new loan.

For those without a Parent PLUS loan looking to refinance their private loans, consider Select’s other top-rated refinance lenders:

At this time, we do not recommend refinancing federal loans while Covid’s forbearance period is in effect until September 30, 2021.

Our methodology

To determine which student loan refinancing companies are best for borrowers, To select analyzed and compared the financing of private student loans by national banks, credit unions and online lenders. We reduced our ranking by only considering those that offer low student loan refinance rates and prequalification tools that don’t hurt your credit.

Although the companies we have chosen in this article consistently rank among the most competitive interest rates for refinancing, we also compared each company on the following characteristics:

  • Wide availability: All of the companies on our list refinance federal and private student loans, and each offers your choice of variable and fixed interest rates.
  • Flexible loan terms: Each company offers a variety of financing options that you can customize based on your monthly budget and the time you need to pay off your student loan.
  • No creation or registration fees: None of the companies on our list charge borrowers an upfront “origination fee” for refinancing your loan.
  • No prepayment penalty: The companies on our list do not charge borrowers for prepayment of loans.
  • Simplified application process: We made sure companies offered a quick online application process.
  • Co-signer options: Each company on our list allows a co-signer if the direct borrower is not eligible for refinancing on their own.
  • Autopay discounts: All of the companies listed already calculate automatic payment discounts in their advertised rates.
  • Protection of private student loans: Although you lose federal student loan benefits when you refinance, every company on our list offers some kind of financial hardship protection for borrowers.
  • Loan sizes: The above companies refinance loans in a range of sizes, from $ 5,000 to $ 500,000. Each company advertises their respective loan amounts, and completing a pre-approval process can give you an idea of ​​your interest rate and monthly payment.
  • Credit / eligibility conditions: We took into consideration the minimum credit scores and income levels required if this information was available.
  • Customer service: Each company on our list provides customer service that is available by phone, email, or secure online messaging. We have also opted for lenders with an online resource center or advice center to help educate you on the student loan refinancing process.

After reviewing the features above, we’ve sorted our recommendations by best for overall refinancing needs, having a co-signer, applying with a fair credit score, refinancing parent loans, and medical school loans.

Note that the rates and fee structures for refinancing private student loans are not guaranteed forever; they are subject to change without notice and they often fluctuate with the Fed rate. Choosing a fixed rate APR when refinancing will ensure that your interest rate and monthly payment will remain consistent throughout the life of the loan.

Your refinance rate depends on your credit score, income, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), savings, payment history, and overall financial health. To refinance your student loan (s), lenders will conduct a serious credit check and request a complete application, which may require proof of income, identity verification, proof of address and more. again.

Editorial note: The opinions, analyzes, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.


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What is considered a good credit score http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/what-is-considered-a-good-credit-score/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/what-is-considered-a-good-credit-score/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:48 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/what-is-considered-a-good-credit-score/

What you need to know about credit scoring

Credit scores are used to predict the likelihood that you will repay the funds on time, so make sure you have a good credit score so that lenders feel much more comfortable lending you money.

Anything you do can and will affect your credit score in both negative and positive ways. If you plan to buy a house for the first time, it is essential to know that your credit score can have a significant impact on the interest rate that the lender gives you.

When get mortgage approval, your scores could mean the difference of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. It will therefore be essential to understand what can affect this as well as what you can do to achieve a good credit rating.

In this article, I’m going to go over the basics of a credit score so that you can better understand what a good credit score looks like.

If you don’t have time, here’s a quick answer:

  • The FICO says that a credit score considered good is 670 and above. Anything below is bad and will likely prevent you from getting the loan you need.
  • Vantage scores are quite similar, although they consider anything above 661 a good credit score, and anything below a bad credit score.

To get the best rates and terms on a mortgage, you’ll want to strive for a score above 720. Exceeding that number is where lenders will really reward you.

The Basics of a Good Credit Score

Your credit score is not a random number assigned to you. It’s a number assigned to you based on what you do with your finances. This is something that I will discuss in more detail later.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB states that scores are based on your own credit reports, which companies like FICO and VantageScore use alongside complex formulas to help give a person a credit score.

What is FICO

FICO has been credited with creating the first standardized scoring model to give people their financial credit scores.

Although it has been around for over 30 years, Fair Isaac Corporation has a very similar scoring model to its launch all those years ago; they claim to be used in 90% of loan decisions in the United States.

A good FICO credit score

When it comes to judging your score, FICO considers anything between 670 and 739 to be a good credit score because those numbers are slightly higher than the average for people in the United States.

Of course, all that is above credit score range is rated as very good or outstanding, and anything below is rated as fair or poor and will mean you will be hard pressed to find a lender who will risk giving you the funds you need.

What is VantageScore

VantageScore hasn’t been in the game for as long as FICO. It has only been around since 2006, but has since become a direct competitor of Fair Isaac Corporation.

It is independently managed but was founded by the 3 major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. This is remarkable since these bureaus are the ones that provide the credit reports that we mentioned earlier.

While VantageScore is not as widely used as its competitor, the 3 bureaus behind the scoring model indicate that you will get much more accurate and consistent scores because it uses data from all the bureaus and not just one of them. between them.

A good VantageScore credit score

When it comes to the VantageScore system, a score between 661 and 780 is considered good with anything below that being mediocre making it difficult for you to get the loan you need.

And of course anything above that range of numbers is considered exceptional, and you should find it a snap to get the mortgage you are looking for as long as you have the income to back it up.

Factors That Can Affect Your Credit Score

We’ve talked about the different scoring models, who are behind them and what the right score ranges look like for each, but what exactly affects your credit score?

Knowledge will be key whether you are looking to secure a mortgage on your dream home or take out a loan for a renovation of your current property.

Here are some factors that will be combined to calculate your credit score:

  • PAYMENT HISTORY: This is based on the size of the payments you have made during your history and whether you paid them on time or not.
  • PREVIOUS LOANS: The number of loans you have made and their exact amount will affect your credit score; depending on the combination, these items can make you more or less likely to get the loan you are looking for, even if you have paid it back on time.
  • DEBT YOU CURRENTLY HAVE: How much money do you have left to pay on your current debts and what they might be / for what.
  • CREDIT AGE: how long your accounts have been open. Although sometimes it doesn’t factor in all of your stories and only showcases the past 5-10 years or so, or not even that. It all depends on what shows up in your credit history.
  • CREDIT UTILIZATION: A ratio of how much credit you use to the amount you currently have.
  • CREDIT APPLICATIONS YOU HAVE ASKED FOR: How many times in recent history have you applied for new credit – the effect this has on your score is usually quite minor. However, many new applications could still give lenders a bad impression.

How to build a good credit score

So, you know a few key aspects that will affect your overall credit score. How do you make sure these affect you in the best possible way? How do you build a good credit score?

Here are some of the ways the CFPB indicates when people ask how they should get a better credit score:

  • ALWAYS PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME: It’s a no-brainer; but if you really want to have a positive effect on your own credit score, you need to make sure you pay your bills on time – set them up as automatic payments or at least set yourself a reminder on your phone so you never forget .
  • BE CAREFUL OF YOUR CREDIT HISTORY: Make sure you have good credit habits over a long period of time, as this will make you more likely to get the loan you want from a lender.
  • AVOID YOUR CREDIT LIMIT: Make sure you don’t use up all of your credit at once. Staying below 30% seems like the right ratio if you are looking to achieve and maintain a good credit rating.
  • ASK ONLY FOR WHAT YOU NEED: It may be obvious, but you should only apply for the credit you need, so don’t apply for credit cards or loans that you don’t have a business.
  • CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORTS: Errors can happen, so checking your credit reports can often keep you up to date, and if you find any errors you can resolve them ASAP, so they don’t affect you later in the day. life when you actually want to get a big loan.

Use a credit improvement company

If your credit scores take a bit of work, but you don’t know how to increase your scores fast, a company like Credit Karma could really be of use to you. Credit Karma is a great tool that helps you make the best credit decisions. Their site is free. By signing up for an account, you will be given the information you need to make the right credit decisions instead of drawing hip.

Over time, by following the advice of Credit Karma, you will see your credit rating improve. Eventually, they’ll get to the point where you’ll be really proud of yourself. In fact, you might be calling a real estate agent to start looking for homes.

As you work on your credit earlier in life, you will be struggling whether you have to pay off your mortgage or not rather than worrying about your financial stability.

Final thoughts

Getting a good credit score is an important achievement in life. Many are not fortunate enough to have excellent credit scores. By understanding the value of a high credit score, you can put yourself in a better position to get many of the things most people crave for, like a nice house and a nice car.

Hope you enjoyed these tips on a good credit score and how you can get one.


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CornerStone Education Loan Services Overview http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/cornerstone-education-loan-services-overview/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/cornerstone-education-loan-services-overview/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:48 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/cornerstone-education-loan-services-overview/

CornerStone Education Loan Services was once a major loan manager for the US Department of Education. But in 2020, the company suddenly canceled its contract with the Education Ministry, leaving 1 million borrowers in limbo. If you had a CornerStone loan, here’s what you can expect when transferring.

What happened to CornerStone Education Loan Services?

The Ministry of Education is not directly involved in the management and reimbursement of federal student loans. Instead, it contracts with loan service companies like Navient, Nelnet and Big lakes, among others. When you graduate, your loan is assigned to one of these managers who helps you manage your loans until you have paid them off.

CornerStone was one of the few companies approved to handle federal student loans. It is managed by the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA), although it has managed loans across the country. CornerStone was originally contracted to service federal loans until 2022, but ended its contract in October 2020 due to financial losses. Its website no longer exists and all loans have been transferred to FedLoan Servicing.

What will happen to my CornerStone Education Loan Services?

If you were one of the 1 million borrowers with a CornerStone loan, your loan was transferred to FedLoan Servicing, another federal student loan manager. FedLoan – operated by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency – is currently under contract with the Department of Education until December 2021. This means you might encounter another loan transfer soon.

Even if you are transferred to another loan manager, it does not cost you anything and all your loan details will remain the same. You will still be able to track your loan information, manage repayment, and potentially reap additional benefits. For example, your new service agent may have an automatic payment discount option available, which saves you money on interest each month if you set it up.

You will know that your loan is transferred when you receive an email from your new service agent regarding the transfer. You will receive a welcome letter detailing the actions to be taken, such as registering online and setting up payment information. If you do not know which company is your loan manager, you can consult the Federal Student Aid website or look at your credit reports.

Can I change my loan officer?

You generally cannot change the loan manager assigned to you, with a few exceptions. If you are applying for a Direct consolidation loan in order to combine all of your existing federal loans, for example, you can select a manager to manage your new loan.

You can also change loan officers when you refinance your student loans. Refinancing transfers all of your federal loans to a private loan, giving you new loan terms and a new interest rate. Refinancing is done through private lenders, so once you refinance you lose all of your federal protections like income-based repayment and forbearance. Once completed, you cannot go back. But it gives you a new student loan manager.

That said, consolidation and refinancing aren’t the best options for everyone, so switching may not be an option. If you have any complaints about your service agent, you can file them with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or your attorney general’s office.

The bottom line

If you had loans managed by CornerStone Education Loan Services in the past, you have already received a new loan manager at this point, and your payments will continue as normal. You can also talk to your new loan manager about your repayment options, income-oriented repayment plans, forbearance, or utility loan forgiveness. If you have any questions about the transfer, you can always call your new repairer directly for more information.

Learn more:


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Antun Welcomes Small Business Program | Queenswide http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/antun-welcomes-small-business-program-queenswide/ http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/antun-welcomes-small-business-program-queenswide/#respond Fri, 14 May 2021 02:43:48 +0000 http://afarin-rahmanifar.com/antun-welcomes-small-business-program-queenswide/

Antun’s of Queens Village, an event space, hosted small business owners last week for a restaurant and hospitality recommendation program hosted by Ree Brinn and the National Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

“We make sure these businesses thrive, and if we don’t work together, it won’t happen,” said Brinn, a sales manager. “It’s no longer about competition, it’s about coming together.”

The purpose of the event was to help address the challenges small business owners face as a result of the pandemic, according to Leonard Mancuso, president of the Queens Chapter of the National Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

“We are not in a position to do things as usual,” Mancuso said. “I want to see if we are able to help by creating these events to increase their income.”

The US Mortgage Corporation was one of the companies present at the event.

“We are asking companies to be part of their new employee benefit programs,” said Tim Kennedy of US Mortgage. “We are offering all employees a rebate of $ 1,595 on closing costs.”

This will help business owners and their employees looking for new homes to save money on the purchase, as as a direct lender, US Mortgage does not come with any of the fees that are typically found in banks. .

“When the loan closes, we’ll donate up to $ 300 to a charity of their choice,” Kennedy said of the company’s affinity program.

According to Kennedy, a mortgage lender, US Mortgage has programs in New York that offer down payment assistance, home improvement assistance, FHA loans, home improvement loans, and conventional loans.

Clifton Stanley Diaz, president of the Autonomous Community of Rochdale Village, Inc., was also on the referral initiative.

“When you have these programs, people have someone they can turn to for information and resources,” Diaz said. “For example, in Rochdale we have a newspaper that is limited to Rochdale, but the good thing is that we went out.

By broadening their horizons through the Hospitality Forum, Rochdale Village representatives were able to reach more people outside of their usual remit.

Albin Castillo, the founder and emcee of Cazz NY Events, shared his journey of working through the pandemic with other small business owners.

“I had to pivot,” said Castillo, a 25-year-old seasoned entrepreneur. “To be successful, I partnered with a printing company and we made birthday and graduation signs. Then we started making balloons and decorations. It kept us afloat.

During the summer, Castillo hosted Zoom weddings and now with the city reopening, he’s back to doing 100-person weddings.

“For Zoom weddings, I had an in-ear microphone and worked with a team,” Castillo said. “They told me to look at the camera that way.”

Unfortunately, as Castillo restructured his business to adapt to the conditions of the pandemic, he lost several of his full-time employees. However, with the business picking up now, the entrepreneur has hired stay-at-home moms and veterans. Currently, he is working on hiring a fourth veteran.

“How can I restart if my full-time employees are gone?” Castillo asked, as his business faced a downturn. “So I said, ‘I need someone who has life experience and a great work ethic.’ Veterans are just amazing and well suited.

Moms also have great organizational experience, added Castillo, who has taken two under his wing.

Mickey King, Antun’s co-owner, was happy to host the event.

“It just seems like a good idea for local business owners to get together and talk at a time when it has literally been the hardest part to own a business,” King said. “The only good thing about coming out of the pandemic is that I was able to share, not only our frustrations, but also other ideas on how to overcome this and work together.”

Getting in touch with other entrepreneurs helped him feel less alone during such a difficult time and he felt a sense of community at the networking event.

With business closed until recently for event spaces like the one in Antun, it was nice to have the forum for his father, Joseph King, the former owner, to come by.

“It was good,” King said. “I think it was great for him and for us. It was great to talk to people again. It’s so much a part of our life.

Dining and event spaces like King’s will open up to 500 people by June 15. Now they can only use 150.

“The best part about it is the exchange of ideas from different industries,” Mancuso said. “Everyone was thrilled to have a new voice to listen to their concerns. We look for upcoming events in advance. “


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