LiftForward Secures $250MM in Financing to Extend Small Business Loans

LiftForward, one of the leading companies in alternative small business finance, announced it has secured credit facilities totaling up to $250 million from entities managed by Varadero Capital and from GLI Finance. Based in Manhattan, LiftForward provides businesses with asset backed and working capital loans. The company will use the funds to accelerate and expand the growth of its small business financing programs through its partnerships. As part of its participation in the credit facility, the Varadero entities received rights to acquire equity in LiftForward.

LiftForward has seen a surge in loan requests over the past 6 months. According to Jeffrey Rogers, CEO of LiftForward, “Banks continue to abandon the under $1 million loan product. When you combine this supply cutoff with the expanding demand for capital from small businesses, there is significant need for our product. This transaction allows us to further meet the demand we are receiving and welcome an award-winning hedge fund manager, Varadero, to our syndicate.”

Fernando Guerrero, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Varadero Capital, LP, said, LiftForward’s initiative will help small business owners all over the country grow their business in the face of a challenging debt market for small entities. Were proud to support these efforts.”

Geoff Miller, Chief Executive of GLI Finance, said: “Since we invested in LiftForward, its business proposition has become ever more relevant as US banks continue to withdraw from SME lending. I am delighted that we can provide further support to LiftForward and, in turn, expand our exposure to the US market.”

LiftForward operates a marketplace loan platform which provides loans to small businesses and high yielding debt products to investors. Investors on the platform range from asset managers to hedge funds. Small businesses are able to borrow up to $1 million per transaction for asset purchases or working capital.

Varadero Capital, LP is an alternative investment management firm that seeks to capitalize on opportunistic, credit-based investments across specialized credit markets.

GLI Finance is a specialist provider of finance to small and medium sized enterprises and is quoted on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. GLI Finance both invests in loans to SMEs and originates finance for SMEs through a variety of finance platforms. The platforms in which GLI Finance is invested vary by geography, industry, size of lending and by type of lending.

Florida fights payday loan government regulation, pushes own law as national model

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau embarks on a rule-making process that payday lenders estimate will put 70 percent of their industry out of business, a former Florida lawmaker who was instrumental in helping the Sunshine State pass one of toughest laws protecting consumers from predatory lending is warning that the federal proposal is too heavy-handed, strips states of their rights and deprives consumers of emergency lending options.

People need access to small-dollar loans if they dont have credit, let alone good credit, and we found it was important to allow them to have that access, Kendrick Meek, a former Democratic congressman from Miami, told The Washington Times. Our payday lending law in Florida has been successful because it maintains access to small-dollar loans and also protects the citizens of Florida.

A federal rule preempting the Florida law would be a big mistake. When you see a law that is being effective, and preventing consumers from getting themselves into financial trouble, when you have something that has been proven and is working, it would be a big mistake to ignore that, he said.

Yet the CFPB seems intent on doing so.

In April, the entire Florida delegation within the US House of Representatives wrote a letter urging CFPB Director Richard Cordray to use Floridas payday lending law as a model for national regulation. In a written response, Mr. Cordray said the intent of the federal agencys actions would be to coexist with strict state laws and establish a federal floor. Mr. Cordray said he would look at the work in Florida, but he didnt commit to using the state as a model.

Mr. Meek said the agency hasnt contacted him to consult on the new rule-making process, and the CFPB has conducted no studies on what is working within states. Mr. Meek wrote a piece of payday legislation that failed during the 2000 session. A year later, with the backing of a few more lawmakers, Florida enacted its payday lending law.

The CFPB, which was created five years ago this month as a part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, in March proposed rules to curb abuses within the payday loan industry. The agency aims to end what it calls payday debt traps by limiting the interest rates lenders can charge, by prohibiting borrowers from taking out more than one loan at a time, and by requiring lenders to assess borrowers ability to pay. About 12 million Americans take out payday loans each year, according to CFPB data.

Those who have experience writing payday lending bills, such as Mr. Meek, worry that the CFPBs proposed rule would end up choking off a legal avenue to credit to those most in need.

A survey last year from the Federal Reserve found that two-thirds of Americans making less than $40,000 annually would have to sell something or borrow money to pay for a $400 emergency expense, making payday lending an attractive option.

Its important when we look at access to loans that are $500 and below, that we look at it in a way as a tool for individuals to be able to take care of their financial responsibilities legally, Mr. Meek said. There is a part of our society willing to provide loans illegally that will create more crime and corruption, not only in local communities but nationally. We dont want to find ourselves in a situation promoting that.

Floridas payday lending law was enacted in 2001 after more than five years of state elected officials investigating the industry, talking with consumers who took out loans, payday businesses owners, and consumer advocates. In the end, they were able to negotiate one of the toughest payday lending laws on the books without stifling the industry or a consumers access to credit.

Floridas law prohibits rollovers that is a customer taking out a another payday loan to cover the original loan and limits a borrower to a single advance of no more than $500. Payday lenders that operate in Florida cannot charge interest fees that exceed 10 percent of the original loan, and the terms of the loans can range from seven to 31 days. A statewide database, monitoring the industry and those who take out loans, also has been established.

Under Floridas law, if borrowers cant repay a loan, the bill provides for a 60-day grace period, provided they agree to take part in credit counseling and set up a repayment schedule.

This [law] represents a compromise, because nobody really likes it, Billy Webster, chief executive officer of Advance America, the Spartanburg, South Carolina, industry giant that operates more than 100 payday loan sites in Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel at the time. The consumer groups didnt get everything they wanted, and neither did we. But this will help weed out the bad operators.

State Sen. Lee Constantine, the legislations lead author, said the rate of payday loan defaults has fallen from about 40 percent before the reforms to less than 5 percent.

Story Continues rarr;

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Central Florida businesses filing for bankruptcy last week

Central Florida individuals and businesses that have filed for liquidation under Chapter 7 of the US Bankruptcy Code include:

Master 1 Investments Inc., 1978 Windermere Road, Windermere. Filed: July 10. Estimated assets: $0 to $50,000. Estimated liabilities: $0 to $50,000. Major creditors: Not available. Creditors meeting: Aug. 20.

Small business loans resume after Congress lifts guarantee cap

WASHINGTON US President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed legislation renewing federal loan guarantees for small businesses that were exhausted last week and also raising the overall cap on the program.

The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously approved the Small Business Administration loan program in a bill the Senate had already passed.

The measure sets the new limit for the SBAs 7(a) loan guarantee program at $23.5 billion through Sept. 30, up from the previous cap of $18.75 billion.

Banks make the loans to qualifying small businesses, and the agency guarantees them, allowing lower interest rates and companies with short credit histories to obtain capital.

Stronger-than-expected demand for SBA-backed loans, fueled by an improving economy, meant that the program was exhausted sooner than expected. In a development first reported by Reuters, the agency was forced to suspend the funding of new loans as the cap was reached under a crush of $1.7 billion in applications last week alone.

But the Senate took lightning-fast action to raise the SBA lending limit in less than a day, marking a stark contrast with Congress protracted battle over another federal loan guarantee agency, the US Export-Import Bank.

Although both agencies guarantee private business loans and are financially self-sustaining through fees and interest, conservatives in Congress have targeted Ex-Im for extinction as a nest of crony capitalism that provides welfare to giant, politically connected corporations including Boeing Co (BA.N), General Electric Co (GE.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N).

The Obama administration and many Democrats and Republicans in Congress support the bank, saying it helps American companies, large and small, compete against foreign rivals whose governments provide loan guarantees or other supports.

The legislation signed into law on Tuesday also waives some fees for US military veterans applying for certain SBA loans.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and David Lawder; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

July 22, 2015: NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams

New Jerseys outlawed payday loans. So how is it possible that state worker pension funds were used to purchase a payday lender? Consumer activists are calling it a bad investment.

A scramble for South Jersey services to support the pilgrims progress so millions can safely cross the Delaware to see Pope Francis.

And a homecoming fit for a soccer super star. Soccer World Cup team captain Carli Lloyd brings it home.

Follow @MaryAliceNJTV

U.S. small business loans resume after Congress lifts guarantee cap

WASHINGTON, July 28 US President Barack Obamaon Tuesday signed legislation renewing federal loan guaranteesfor small businesses that were exhausted last week and alsoraising the overall cap on the program.

The House of Representatives on Monday unanimously approvedthe Small Business Administration loan program in a bill theSenate had already passed.

The measure sets the new limit for the SBAs 7(a) loanguarantee program at $23.5 billion through Sept. 30, up from theprevious cap of $18.75 billion.

Banks make

Payday lender Cash Genie faces 20 million pound compensation bill

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Payday lender Cash Genie has agreed to put aside 20 million pounds ($31 million) to compensate more than 92,000 customers for unfair practices, Britains Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

The watchdog said Cash Genie, part of Ariste Holding Limited, had agreed to provide 10 million pounds in redress after having voluntarily written off 10.3 million pounds of fees and interest.

We have been encouraged that Cash Genie has been working with us proactively and openly to put things right for its customers after these issues were reported, FCA acting director of retail supervision, Linda Woodall, said in a statement.

Payday lenders, which provide short-term loans to tide people over until pay day, have come under scrutiny for charging borrowers sky-high interest rates and exorbitant fees.

The watchdog has cracked down on way the lenders were regulated and introduced new rules this year to cap interest rates and fees on new payday loans.

Wonga, Britains biggest payday lender, is trying to overhaul its business after running into trouble with the regulator over its interest rates and other practices.

Cash Genie had told the FCA voluntarily it had engaged in unfair practices and agreed a year ago to an independent review.

The regulator said the company charged interest and fees which were unfair, such as charging 50 pounds to transfer customers to a sister debt collection firm when no additional costs were incurred.

It also charged fees which it was not entitled to under its own customer contracts. Loans were also rolled over or refinanced without checking with the customer first.

Although standards in the consumer credit sector are improving, it is disappointing that examples of poor practice in the payday market keep surfacing, Woodall said.

The regulator, under Chief Executive Martin Wheatley, has got tough on the financial services industry since the financial crisis, imposing millions of pounds in fines on firms for misconduct.

But Wheatley is to leave his job in September after Britains finance ministry did not extend his contract which was due to expire next March.

This has prompted questions in the industry whether the watchdog is now seen by the government as too hard line.

A finance ministry spokesman on Monday highlighted the action against Cash Genie as an example of the regulators efforts to protect consumers.

That is why we created a tough regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and gave it strong powers to take action wherever its rules are breached … That action announced today is exactly whey we created the FCA, the spokesman said in a statement.

The watchdog said customers do not need to take any action as Cash Genie will contact them by Sept. 18.

Cash Genie said on its website it was undertaking a redress programme and stopped all lending in Sept. 2014.

(Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman)

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10 Types of Unsecured Loans to Choose From

1. Credit Cards

A credit card is essentially an unsecured loan since youre borrowing money from the credit card company to make a purchase with the intention of paying them back at a later date. Checkout our Tools Page to do a little credit card shopping.

2. Payday Loan

Payday loans have recently become a popular type of unsecured loan. A payday loan is a loan from a non-financial business where borrowers obtain enough money to cover their expenses until they receive their next paycheck. Payday loans are convenient, but they usually come with a high transaction fee and incredibly high interest rates. Some call it usury. Some businesses charge as much as 400% for interest!

3. Line of Credit

A line of credit is an unsecured loan offered by a financial institution. While a line of credit can be a secured loan if you have collateral you want to use against it, it is often used as an unsecured loan. Approved customers have a cap on the amount they can borrow (which is determined by their credit). You generally have to have an account at the financial institution youre using for the loan. A home equity line of credit is an example.

4. Cash Advance

If you own a credit card, youve probably seen the line on your monthly bill about the interest rate for a cash advance. Ever notice how much higher it is than your normal interest rate? Cash advances come in two forms: advances based on your income or advances based on your credit limit. As with most unsecured loans, cash advances have a higher interest rate and require a faster turnaround time for repayment. Most cash advances are expected to be paid back on your next payday or during your next credit card billing cycle.

5. Signature Loans

Signature loans are so named because the only thing securing the loan is your signature. You simply need to promise that youll repay the person or business lending you money. Signature loans are often available at banks and credit unions and are awarded in installments. The borrower usually repays the loan with set monthly payments until the total amount has been repair. Signature loans tend to have a lower interest rate than many other forms of unsecured loans. This makes them an attractive option for first-time borrowers.

6. Student Loans

Student loans also fall under the unsecured loan category. Depending what organization you borrow through, interest rates, repayment plans, and grace periods vary greatly. However, most student loans dont require previous credit history for the borrower.

7. Peer to Peer Loans

Peer to peer loans are an unsecure way of borrowing money as the borrower and lender have to rely on individual people rather than businesses. Websites such as Lending Club or Prosper allow the borrower to post a loan request on the website where potential lenders can choose whether or not to grant them the money. Like other unsecured loans, peer to peer loans are also provided in fixed rate installments and come with a high interest rate.

8. Small Business Loans

Small businesses usually have very few assets or collateral to use when applying for a loan. Many financial institutions or loan companies will offer unsecured loans for small businesses. These are usually granted for borrowers who have proven business experience, a good credit score, and collateral. Basically, banks like giving loans to people who dont need them.

Depending on who you borrow from, the repayment terms can be flexible. But be aware that a lot of companies are wary about granting unsecured small business loans in the event that the business folds. These loans are granted with the understanding that the business is responsible for paying back the loan. Startups can get funding but its rare.

9. Business Loan with a Personal Guarantee

Some lenders will grant business loans with a personal guarantee, and while these loans are similar to general business loans, the individual is the responsible party instead of the business. The business is the official borrower. However, if something happens such as the business being unsuccessful or the business having to close  an individual is then responsible for paying back the lender.

10. Term Loans

Term loans are offered by financial institutions for a specific amount that is agreed upon by the lender and borrower. This amount has a very specific repayment schedule and can be paid out in month to month, bimonthly, or biweekly installments. They also have a floating interest rate.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to get unsecured loans. Choose a few of the above options and apply. Ill bet you can snag at least one of them. Good luck and think long and hard whether or not to accept.

China central bank issues guidelines on internet finance development

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinas central bank on Saturday issued guidelines promoting the development of internet finance, saying it would support qualified financial institutions to set up platforms for online banking, insurance and securities businesses.

It added it would encourage high-performing and qualified internet finance firms to list.

A senior central bank researcher said last month that regulators should set up clear rules allowing banks to set up online finance subsidiaries to fend off rising competition from technology giants that have expanded into their territory.

In recent years, China has seen rapid development in internet finance, but some problems and hidden risks have also cropped up, an official with the Peoples Bank of China, the central bank, said in a statement.

Fund security, operating risks, an imperfect credit system and consumer protections were among the issues, said the official.

The central bank called on the government to support internet firms in setting up platforms for expenditures and loans, crowdfunding, the sale of financial products and other financing platforms.

It called for broadening channels of financing and supporting private investment funds to back the internet finance industry.

The bank also recommended tax breaks for qualifying small enterprises including start-ups, saying that provincial level governments should increase their support for those companies.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said in April its finance affiliate sped up a drive to be a fully-fledged online financing network by launching an e-commerce tracking stock index. It launched an internet bank targeting small and medium enterprises last month.

(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Michael Perry)

50 Cent Claims He’s Not Broke In Spite of Filing for Bankruptcy

21 Jul 2015 11:44 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: 50 Cent (Image Source: TBS / Conan Screenshot)

It of course created many humorous headlines, the thought that a musician who goes by the name of 50 Cent could be broke, but he is hitting the talk show circuit, including Conan OBriens show, to clear this up.

He insists hes not broke, despite filing for bankruptcy.

The real reason 50 Cent is hitting the talk shows is to discuss his new movie, Southpaw, that he appears in with Jake Gyllenhaal. But its hard for them to not discuss the money issue after he filed for bankruptcy protection three days after a jury decided he needed to pay $5 million to Lastonia Leviston after narrating a sex tape of her and posting it online, He was supposed to make information available to the court to deliberate punitive damages but filed for Chapter 11 instead.

Conan asked about the bankruptcy application, and the rapper explained, I get a bullseye painted on [my] back. When youre successful and publicly noted, you become the ideal person for people to have lawsuits for.

Once the talk show host noted that 50 Cent had brought his cell phone with him to the interview, he joked that he was checking his Instagram. This was all Conan needed to then show an Instagram photo of the rapper standing in front of a Smart car that was posted after he filed for bankruptcy.

All he had to say was, Yeah, yeah, yeah, I need protection.

When 50 Cent appeared on The Talk earlier, Sharon Osbourne had asked if he was okay.

He replied, Im fine. Ive just been going through a little legal issues. I got some trained professionals to help me with it. Itll get past it.