Citizens Bank replacing half of its Giant Eagle in-store branches in Pittsburgh with virtual assistant kiosks – Pittsburgh Business Times

Conversions starting in October,

Spokesman Rory Sheehan said the decision was part of a reimagination of the bank’s branch strategy across its network. Citizens has nearly 100 branches in this region.

“The site transitions are part of our ongoing effort to review customer patterns and optimize branch locations,” he said in an email Friday.

He said the kiosks will include an ATM for routine transactions and video technology that will allow customers to connect live with a banker for more complex services. The virtual assistance will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m.. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Citizens will convert 15 Giant Eagle branches to the new format in the fourth quarter and the remaining 13 in the first quarter of 2023.

The move will affect about 100 employees, who will be able to apply for open positions elsewhere in the company, Mr. Sheehan said.

Source: Citizens Bank replacing half of its Giant Eagle in-store branches in Pittsburgh with virtual assistant kiosks – Pittsburgh Business Times


Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Gets Pittsburgh City Council’s Initial Approval – CBS Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Council passed a guaranteed basic income pilot that will give 200 people $500 a month.

In Pittsburgh, it’s called ACE, or the Assured Cash Experiment.

Two hundred low-income individuals will get $500 a month for two years, including 100 African American women and another 100 individuals of any race and gender randomly selected from low-income zip codes (15204, 15208, 15210, 15214, and 15219).

Pittsburgh will use $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to fund this project.

“Guaranteed basic income has happened in other cities. Other cities have used their ARP funding to do this pilot,” Lindsay Powell, the Mayor’s deputy chief of staff, told City Council on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh joins a couple dozen cities experimenting with guaranteed cash assistance, and the early results are promising, says Michele Abbott, who will run the Pittsburgh program.

Source: Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Gets Pittsburgh City Council’s Initial Approval – CBS Pittsburgh

Sept. 7 is ‘Bitcoin Day’ in El Salvador as BTC becomes legal tender

It is Sept. 7, and El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law has officially come into effect three months after its parliament passed the historic vote. The Central American nation is now the first country to recognize Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender.

Tweeting earlier in the day, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele remarked “3 minutos para hacer historia — In 3 minutes, we make history.”

However, day one of El Salvador’s Bitcoin experiment has been somewhat marred by server capacity errors suffered by the state-issued Chivo wallet.

Addressing the situation, President Bukele remarked:

“For a few moments it won’t work @chivowallet, we have disconnected it while increasing the capacity of the image capture servers. The installation problems that some people had were for that reason. We prefer to correct it before reconnecting it.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, El Salvador has purchased 200 BTC, taking its Bitcoin holdings to 400 “coins.” The country’s parliament recently passed a $150-million Bitcoin fund to facilitate conversions from BTC to United States dollars.

Source: Sept. 7 is ‘Bitcoin Day’ in El Salvador as BTC becomes legal tender

Student loan payment pause extended to January 31 – CNNPolitics


Washington (CNN)The Biden administration is extending the pause on federal student loan payments one last time until January 31.

The pandemic relief benefit was set to expire on September 30 after an unprecedented 19-month suspension. The freeze was initially put in place by Congress and then extended by both the Trump and Biden administrations.
“As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they need to plan for restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a statement.
Borrower balances have effectively been frozen for more than a year, with no payments required on federal loans since March 2020. During this time, interest has stopped adding up — saving the average borrower about $2,000 over the first year — and collections on defaulted debt have been on hold.

Source: Student loan payment pause extended to January 31 – CNNPolitics

One of Pittsburgh’s largest banks closing three local branches

PITTSBURGH — Citizens Bank is closing 14 branches, half of which are in Pennsylvania, including three in the Pittsburgh area.

The local sites on the chopping block are at 4885 McKnight Road, Pittsburgh, near Ross Park Mall; 121 Main St., Ligonier; and 901 5th Ave., New Kensington.

Read more from our news partners at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Source: One of Pittsburgh’s largest banks closing three local branches

Chinese Companies Listing on U.S. Stock Markets Must Follow Rules | National Review

More than 200 Chinese businesses have gone public in U.S. capital markets, but many investors don’t realize that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refuses to let these companies open their books to American regulators. This refusal threatens the savings of American workers and families. The financial risk resembles an iceberg: Chinese companies such as Didi and Luckin Coffee are just the tip.

One of the safeguards Americans rely on is the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Its regulators vouch for the accuracy of the books of every firm — American and foreign — operating on a U.S. exchange.

Firms under the thumb of the CCP, though, have a penchant for lying to the PCAOB or snubbing its oversight altogether. That leaves Americans looking to invest flying blind.

At a time when the PCAOB estimates that the Chinese firms registered with it have a global market capitalization of roughly $2.3 trillion, China has made it impossible “for the PCAOB to obtain timely access to relevant documents and testimony necessary to carry out [its] mission.”

As a result, Chinese businesses are freer to commit fraud than their American, Asian, and European competitors. Luckin Coffee, for instance, made up a nonexistent $310 million in sales in less than a year. When such fraud comes to light, these businesses’ stock values can drop quickly — dragging Americans’ savings down with them.

Congress has taken decisive bipartisan action to force companies that flout the PCAOB off U.S. markets, but the CCP probably won’t accept such accountability graciously. In fact, President Xi Jinping’s regime is becoming more belligerent by the day. It’s up to President Biden to protect American investors as the CCP vies for global leadership.

Source: Chinese Companies Listing on U.S. Stock Markets Must Follow Rules | National Review

SpaceX owns Bitcoin, Elon Musk and Nic Carter believe BTC is becoming greener

Coin Metrics’ Nic Carter is “glad” that Elon Musk has been reevaluating the facts regarding BTC mining but thinks that in any case “the environmental costs are offset by its enormous utility.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed for the first time that his firm SpaceX owns Bitcoin (BTC).

The company is yet to officially announce how much Bitcoin it has purchased, however Musk’s other company Tesla purchased $1.5B of the cryptocurrency earlier this year which sparked a major Bitcoin price rally.

That rally came to an abrupt end after Tesla stopped taking Bitcoin payments due to environmental concerns, but speaking at “The ₿ Word” — a virtual Bitcoin (BTC) event — the erratic tech billionaire suggested Tesla was on the verge of accepting the cryptocurrency again following promising signs the percentage of renewable energy used for mining was increasing.

The changing narrative of Bitcoin going “green” may help reignite a rally, with Coin Metrics co-founder Nic Carter telling CNBC a few hours ago that BTC’s fundamentals are getting better in terms of sustainability.

Musk appeared alongside Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and moderator Steve Lee from Square Crypto. Musk did not reveal any additional details about SpaceX’s purchase apart from saying:

“I do own Bitcoin, Tesla owns Bitcoin, SpaceX owns Bitcoin, and I do personally own a bit of Ethereum and Dogecoin of course.”

Source: SpaceX owns Bitcoin, Elon Musk and Nic Carter believe BTC is becoming greener

House GOP demands answers about Biden family ‘cash-grab’

A dozen Republican members of Congress demanded Wednesday that the White House turn over information related to the business interests of President Biden’s family in order to “understand the extent of the Biden family’s use of its connection to the President to enrich itself.”

The letter to White House Counsel Dana Remus from the members of the House Oversight Committee seeks information on trips then-Vice President Biden took with son Hunter to China in 2013 and Mexico in 2016. It also asks for a list of “all past and ongoing foreign business interests and past and ongoing foreign relations for members of the Biden family,” as well as all “documents and communications regarding Hunter Biden’s artwork.

Source: House GOP demands answers about Biden family ‘cash-grab’

Social Security recipients may get biggest cost-of-living bump in almost 40 years

Annual benefit hike could top 6% due to fast-rising inflation. But retirees would have to wait until 2022 to see it.

The 69 million Americans who collect Social Security are on track to get the biggest cost-of-living hike since 1983, with one advocacy group for senior citizens projecting a 6.1% increase to benefits due to surging inflation.

The bad news: Recipients will have to wait for that bump because the Social Security Administration adjusts its payments only once a year, starting with December benefits that are paid in January. That means seniors and other Social Security beneficiaries wouldn’t receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) until January 2022.

In the meantime, prices for everything from gas to groceries are rising at a time when Social Security recipients got what was among the meagerest of COLA adjustments in recent years — a 1.3% increase for 2021. As the pandemic eases, a rapid reopening of the economy is fueling pent-up spending for goods and services that in many cases remain in short supply, prompting inflation to jump 5.4% in June compared with a year earlier.

Source: Social Security recipients may get biggest cost-of-living bump in almost 40 years

Biden administration cancels $1.5 billion of student loan debt

The Department of Education canceled an additional $55.6 million in student loan debt for 1,800 student who were victims of a for-profit college fraud, bringing the total amount of canceled student loan debt by the Biden administration to $1.5 billion.

“Today’s announcement continues the U.S. Department of Education’s commitment to standing up for students whose colleges took advantage of them,” Miguel Cardona, the secretary of education, said in the department’s statement released Friday.

The latest loan cancellation is for students who attended Westwood College, Marinello Schools of Beauty and the Court Reporting Institute. This is the first time the department approved loan forgiveness to students who attended schools other than Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institute and American Career Institute since 2017.

More:64 Democrats call on Biden to extend student loan payment pause

Source: Biden administration cancels $1.5 billion of student loan debt

Wells Fargo closing all personal lines of credit | TheHill

Wells Fargo has begun informing customers that it will no longer be offering personal credit lines, with all existing lines being shut down in the coming weeks.

In a six-page letter to customers obtained by CNBC, Wells Fargo said it had “recently reviewed its product offerings and decided to discontinue offering new Personal and Portfolio line of credit accounts and close all existing accounts,” instead setting its focus on credit cards and personal loans.

The revolving credit lines had been a popular consumer lending product, allowing customers to consolidate higher-interest credit card debt, avoid overdraft fees on checking accounts, as well as other actions.

The credit lines usually allowed customers to borrow anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000, according to CNBC. In a FAQ portion of the letter, the bank explained that the account closures “may have an impact on your credit score,” adding that they could not be reviewed or reversed. “We apologize for the inconvenience this Line of Credit closure will cause,” the bank said, according to CNBC. “The account closure is final.”

In a statement sent to CNBC after its initial report was published, a Wells Fargo spokesman said, “We realize change can be inconvenient, especially when customer credit may be impacted,” adding that the bank was “committed to helping each customer find a credit solution that fits their needs.”

According to the news outlet, Wells Fargo said customers will be given a notice 60 days before their account is shut down, with remaining balances requiring minimum payments at a fixed rate. The Hill has reached out to Wells Fargo for additional information.

Source: Wells Fargo closing all personal lines of credit | TheHill

The false promise of modern monetary theory | TheHill

MMT advocates claim they have the secret recipe to avoid the pitfalls of currency debasement and mountains of debt.

For those unaccustomed with MMT, in essence it states that the U.S. government can print and spend money limitlessly. Deficits don’t matter. Neither does the national debt.

MMT has several high-profile adherents, from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Source: The false promise of modern monetary theory | TheHill

Stock Market Today: Dow, S&P Live Updates for Jun. 24, 2021 – Bloomberg

Asian stocks were broadly steady Thursday after U.S. shares moved in narrow ranges as traders digested commentary from Federal Reserve officials on the outlook for stimulus. Treasuries held a retreat.

Stocks were little changed in Japan, climbed in Hong Kong and edged lower in China, where the central bank increased its injection of short-term cash into the financial system. U.S. futures advanced, following a modest drop in the S&P 500 despite gains among firms that benefit from economic reopening. A rally in Tesla Inc. helped the Nasdaq Composite eke out another record. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield remained below 1.50%.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who’s penciled in a rate hike next year, said the economy will likely meet the Fed’s threshold for tapering asset purchases sooner than people think. His Atlanta counterpart Raphael Bostic said the central bank could decide to slow such purchases in the next few months. Neither are currently voting members of the Fed’s rate setting committee.

The dollar was little changed, while the yen held a slump, in part as the rebound from the pandemic dents the allure of haven currencies. Traders were monitoring for any impact from news that the U.S. is poised to bar some solar products made in the Xinjiang region over alleged human rights abuses.

Source: Stock Market Today: Dow, S&P Live Updates for Jun. 24, 2021 – Bloomberg

G-7 Officials Agree To Make Big Tech Pay Fair Taxes : NPR

LONDON (AP) — The Group of Seven wealthy democracies agreed Saturday to support a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15% in order to deter multinational companies from avoiding taxes by stashing profits in low-rate countries.

G-7 finance ministers meeting in London also endorsed proposals to make the world’s biggest companies — including U.S. based tech giants — pay tax in countries where they have lots of sales but no physical headquarters.

Britain’s Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, the meeting’s host, said the deal would “reform the global tax system to make it fit for the global digital age and crucially to make sure that it’s fair, so that the right companies pay the right tax in the right places.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who attended the London meetings, said the agreement “provides tremendous momentum” towards reaching a global deal that “would end the race-to-the-bottom in corporate taxation, and ensure fairness for the middle class and working people in the U.S. and around the world.”

The meeting of finance ministers came ahead of an annual summit of G-7 leaders scheduled for June 11-13 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. The U.K. is hosting both sets of meetings because it holds the group’s rotating presidency.

Source: G-7 Officials Agree To Make Big Tech Pay Fair Taxes : NPR

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