Money – Jaca Huesca Fri, 28 May 2021 07:33:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Money – Jaca Huesca 32 32 Government must focus on planning infrastructure projects: Louis Berger Asia Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:16:15 +0000

The Center should concentrate its resources on the planning phase of large infrastructure projects; their implementation is the responsibility of private sector actors. Speaking to Business Standard, Kshitish Nadgauda, ​​senior vice president and general manager-Asia, Louis Berger, said: “The government needs to be involved in the planning of dedicated freight corridors (and similar projects). Indeed, strategic plans must be developed by central government and planning agencies; they cannot be entrusted to any private entity. “

Louis Berger is a global infrastructure consulting company.

“There will have to be a national space strategy, which is first and foremost the economic plan against which the infrastructure plan must be developed. This can only be done by government agencies. When you start to explore the actual implementation, this is where the private sector could be involved, ”Nadgauda said.

This approach can be adopted for the Centre’s asset monetization campaign. In the 2021-2022 Union Budget Speech, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “The monetization of operating public infrastructure assets is a very important funding option for the construction of new infrastructure. “

Sitharaman said Indian Railways will monetize the assets of the dedicated freight corridors for operation and maintenance, after commissioning. The next batch of airports will be monetized for operation and management concession. It also listed highways, gas pipelines, rail infrastructure assets, among others, as part of a nationwide monetization pipeline.

“Infrastructure projects tend to be capital intensive. The costs are very high compared to the potential income that can be achieved. For example, for an underground metro project, the cost of tunneling is high. But in urban areas, this is really the preferred solution. While metro projects are carried out on elevated viaducts in many cities, it is primarily a cost driven situation, ”Nadgauda said.

“So, taking metro projects as an example, the government could step in and put in place civilian infrastructure. All the systems are working, the rolling stock can be built on a public-private partnership model. There is room for privatization, but the planning phase should be in the hands of the planning bodies, ”he added.

Commenting on implementation barriers when developing large infrastructure projects, Nadgauda said, “Land acquisition and availability is a problem, especially in urban areas. Innovative solutions must be found to optimize the required land area. Client agencies (usually government agencies or special purpose vehicles) have improved with experience. It’s a complex process, with the multiplicity of agencies and rules involved. “

“Today, in many National Highways Authority of India tenders, 90% of land acquisitions must be in place, otherwise it cannot award tenders for construction,” he said. he declared.

“If not all land, at least a high degree of certainty that the remaining 10 percent would be acquired over a period of about a year, from the start of the project. Otherwise, we run the risk of delaying projects, costs will accumulate because of requests for unused resources, ”he added.

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BoE warns banks against sudden shutdown of Covid-linked lending Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:16:07 +0000

The Bank of England has urged banks to maintain business credit once government-backed Covid-19 loan programs end this month, fearing a sharp drop in lending that could choke the economy.

In a report by the BoE’s financial policy committee released on Friday, the central bank said it was in the industry’s “collective interest” to provide loans after government-backed programs were cut to the end of March. Limiting loans would be self-destructive, he warned.

British companies have borrowed over £ 75 billion through four programs, which the Treasury launched in the first lockout a year ago to keep businesses from running out of cash. However, they are expected to be liquidated this month.

The FPC – whose members include BoE Governor Andrew Bailey and Sam Woods, chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority – said banks have supported UK households and businesses throughout the pandemic.

But he added: “As government projects come to an end, the FPC felt that the onus would fall on the financial system to play a greater role in supporting the recovery.”

Around 1.6 million businesses have used the government-guaranteed pandemic loans, more than a quarter of all small and medium-sized businesses in the UK.

In the last month alone, more than £ 2 billion has been borrowed under the four loan schemes.

From April 6, the government will operate a new recovery loan program this will secure 80 percent of a bank loan of up to £ 10million.

But business leaders have warned that businesses may be deterred from using the new system because of the use of personal guarantees and the likelihood of much higher interest rates than previous rebound bank loans.

The BoE said it expects banks to make full use of their balance sheets to continue supporting businesses throughout the recovery.

“As government-backed loan guarantee schemes are scaled back, it is in the collective interest of banks to continue supporting viable and productive businesses,” the BoE said.

Reducing lending to preserve balance sheet strength “would have a negative effect on the economy and could therefore have an even more negative effect on banks’ capital ratios,” he added.

The report states that the banking system has sufficient capacity “even though the economic performance is considerably worse than what is currently expected”. UK lenders’ overall Tier 1 capital ratio stood at 16.2% at the end of December, well above the minimum requirements.

David Postings, managing director of UK Finance, the banking lobby group, said banks have provided unprecedented support to businesses throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so.

“Banks and lenders have the capital and liquidity to support the demand for financing, and many companies have excess deposits over loans,” Postings added.

“The banking and financial sector is determined to play its full role in helping to restore the UK economy to sustainable growth.”

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Kenyans at gunpoint over Ksh 257 billion loan to government Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:53 +0000

Kenyans are angry with continued government borrowing.

Two days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the disbursement of Ksh 257 billion to Kenya as a loan which the government says will be used to close the gap in the fight against COVID-19, Kenyans have none.

More than 120,000 Kenyans have since signed an online petition calling for an end to IMF lending to GoK.

To put this in context, according to the Daily Nation, between March and November 2020, Kenya borrowed 971 billion Ksh in the war against COVID-19; this means that the country borrowed 121 billion Ksh every month during the 8 month period.

On Friday, the IMF approved an additional Ksh 257 billion for the same price which then brings the debt level to around Ksh 1.2 trillion in the year.

The GoK says the debt ship can still be kept afloat and there is nothing to worry about, but Kenyans disagree, here are some of their feelings online:

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Industry must adapt, focus and change in 2021 Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:13:48 +0000

As the industry sheds the dust of a year like never before, the mortgage industry has weathered the storm with flying colors, having experienced a record year in terms of both volume and origins.

Adapting and surviving is nothing new for an industry constantly affected by change. Getting through the change and adapting to what lies ahead was the subject of the last episode of the MReport Webinar series, titled “A look at the lending landscape – from home equity to changes in refi. ” Presented by Altisource, the discussion covered a number of topics, ranging from home values, home equity loans, eClosings, refi changes to origins, and more.

Moderated by Steven greenfield, General Manager of Mortgage Real Estate Solutions for Altisource, the discussion featured contributions from industry experts, including Kevin J. DeLory, SVP Wholesale & Correspondent for Carrington Mortgage Services LLC; Jeffrey Leinan, TEU, National wholesale production for Plaza Home mortgage; Rick sharga, TEU of RealtyTrac; and Jason wright, Director of eMortgage Services for Lenders One Mortgage Cooperative.

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year for the record books, a year in which the housing market has thrived. The historically low rates have resulted in both buying and refitting, but nothing lasts forever and as Sharga noted in her opening presentation, rates are climbing again past the 3% mark, so that the spread between 30-year mortgage rates and bond yields returns to normal. patterns.

“As those rates go up, the refi volume goes down because the rate dictates the refi opportunities and they dry up,” Sharga said. “This has implications for the housing market in terms of what economists call ‘rate foreclosure’. People are reluctant to sell their property because they would pay more for the new property, and they would have a higher interest rate in terms of monthly payments. Rate and refi work in tandem. As we saw rates go over 3% a few weeks ago, we saw refi volume drop significantly. I think this is something we can expect to see over the next year at 18 months. “

As refi volume declines, buying activity remains at an all-time high, as bidding wars are waged over the shortage of high-demand housing. As Sharga pointed out, the United States is running out of two million properties just to get back to normal sales inventory levels.

“Demographics are the main reason,” Sharga said of the surge in demand. “The median age to buy a home is now in their early 30s, and the largest group of Millennials are quickly approaching that age. Low interest rates improve affordability, and in more than half of the country’s markets, paying a mortgage on a monthly basis is more economical than paying rent. “

With the refi market drying up, rates rising and stocks tight, panelists discussed what the industry can do to keep pipelines full in the event of a major mortgage reshuffle.

“I think it’s important that designers do a number of different things, like expanding their reach and product options,” said Leinan. “When we talk about reach, maybe it’s not your traditional refis falling from the tree, but maybe its reverse mortgages. Now we have to adapt. The only thing that is constant in our business is change, so now we have to adapt to keep going. There may be a big drop this year, but that doesn’t mean the initiators can’t do the same things they did last year, they just need to adapt, focus, and change. . “

One of these changes is the expansion of product offerings. Offerings like reverse mortgages, jumbo loans, and non-QM loans have overtaken the traditional 30-year fixed rate in 2020, but panelists see diversification as a way to excel in 2021 and beyond .

“Look at the changes GSEs are making to investment properties and second homes,” DeLory said. “There’s going to be a need for that with the non-QM. There is a need for this product if it is done the right way. We need to offer our partners and brokers something different to stand out. We pulled a lot of them a year ago when the non-QMs were here. Hopefully we can get them back into the game of buying their next home. There are good, responsible loans that can be made in this space and with rates rising, now is a great time for non-QMs. “

Sharga added, “The reverse mortgage category will grow as baby boomers age, and it’s an underserved market right now populated with businesses borrowers have never heard of. This is an interesting aspect to pursue for some companies. “

The pandemic may have brought the concept of social distancing to the world, but in turn, the advent of this new concept has forced the industry to adapt to change the ways it maintains the ‘status quo’.

“If 2020 teaches us anything, our work environment will change forever,” said Wright. “I don’t think we’ll ever get back to the way things were. There is a large percentage of people who will continue to work remotely on a permanent or part-time basis. I think we’ve learned that people can be just as efficient in their working day from home instead of going back and forth to their desks. “

The adoption of new technologies has also fueled the growth of eClosings, as face-to-face meetings and even property tours have become a thing of the past.

“It’s all about ease of use right now, and we want to make it as easy as possible for the borrower,” DeLory said. “I would have liked to have offered more eClosings, unfortunately for us at Carrington, most of our business is government loans that require wet signatures on a lot of documents. We are working to evolve with a hybrid model where most documents are signed online. “

Wright added, “I think the past year was the catalyst that many lenders needed to get started in eClosings on the right foot. The number of eClosings has increased since this time of last year and continues to grow. Some of the obstacles that were in the path are knocked down and removed. It wasn’t that long ago that we were in a position where investors and warehouse lenders wouldn’t even buy a hybrid eClosing, but we’ve got past that now.

When it comes to foreclosures, the government took control of what could have been a problem spiraling out of control. Since many industries affected by the pandemic have sent countless Americans to unemployment insurance, keeping a roof over your head has been a major concern over the past year. Originally slated for late March 31, President Joe Biden announced a extension of the moratorium on foreclosures for federally guaranteed mortgages until the end of June.

“The military is going to be overwhelmed,” Sharga said. “There are currently about 2.5 Americans in forbearance plans. That’s 2.5 million Americans that servers have to work with. There will be a huge increase in call volume and server activity even if they are successful in back-end executions. “

Click here to display a record of the MReport webinar: “A look at the lending landscape – from home equity to changes in refi”.

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Rich countries accused of inflating funding figures for climate change adaptation Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:13:48 +0000

Japan called loans for roads and bridges financing ‘climate adaptation’, while World Bank counted support for Nepal to rebuild after earthquake

Rich countries have overstated the funding they have provided to help the world’s poorest countries cope with the impacts of climate change such as floods and drought, according to an analysis by the charity Care International.

A careful reading of 112 projects representing 13% of global adaptation finance in 2013-2017 found all 25 donor countries collectively overestimated the amount of climate adaptation assistance by 42%.

As part of the UN climate process, the developed world has pledged to mobilize $ 100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020, with a balance between mitigation projects (carbon reduction) and ‘adaptation. During the last count in 2018, they delivered $ 16.8 billion in adaptation finance, according to the OECD – but if the overestimation levels persist, the actual amount could be less than $ 10 billion, Care said.

“This really shows that rich countries are not as concerned about meeting their climate commitments as they should be,” John Nordbo, report co-author and senior climate advocate at Care Denmark, told Climate Home News.

“We got rich by polluting the atmosphere and creating the climate problem. We try to deceive [developing countries] telling them that we are providing them with more money than in reality. It’s a shame, ”he said.

The report released Thursday named Japan as one of the biggest offenders, with an over-declaration of $ 1.3 billion. “He called projects that have nothing to do with climate change adaptation to finance adaptation, like loans for road and bridge construction projects,” Nordbo said.

Exclusive: Japan uses ‘environmental’ fund to finance Vietnamese coal power plant

The World Bank overestimated adaptation funding by $ 832 million. He qualified 86% of the $ 328 million spent on an earthquake relocation project in Nepal as adaptation funding, despite the project responding to a geohazard not caused by climate change.

France has overstated its adaptation funding by $ 104 million. He said $ 93 million had been spent on climate adaptation as part of a program to strengthen local governance in the Philippines. Further analysis showed that only 5% of the budget was earmarked for adaptation, the report notes.

Last month the world the poorest countries appealed to the rich nations to provide more funding to help them adapt to climate change. UN chief Antonio Guterres has urged donor governments and development banks to commit to devoting at least 50% of their climate finance to adaptation and resilience before COP26 next year.

“So far, adaptation accounts for only 20% of climate finance, reaching just $ 30 billion on average in 2017-18,” he said at the Thimphu ambition summit.

This month on Warning from the United Nations Environment Program that annual adaptation costs in developing countries could reach $ 300 billion by 2030.

The Care report was released ahead of the United Nations climate adaptation summit on January 25-26, where world leaders will discuss scaling up financing for adaptation ahead of COP26 in November.

“I hope that governments in the South will talk about this and that donors will start putting more energy into the reliability of their systems,” said Nordbo.

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Small businesses in Kern adapt to survive pandemic | New Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:13:48 +0000

Great Change Brewing had only been open for about a year and was gaining momentum when the pandemic hit it and just about every other small business in Kern County.

The Resnik Court baker had a business model focused on serving inside and selling restaurants to the table. Suddenly it wasn’t going to work and it was time to adjust to an unprecedented disruption in modern life – or die.

Great Change turned to canning, which ultimately worked well with the shift of its catering partners to field service and take out, while advancing the brewery’s branding strategy. Government grants and loans have helped payroll and other expenses, so brewery owners now expect to weather the pandemic.

“It lets you focus and it’s part of running a business,” said co-owner Tim Belmont. “You have to find a way to be nimble enough to survive.”

The coronavirus crisis has pulled the rug out from small American businesses, and not all of them have landed on their feet. But many in Kern County did so, some by accident and others with government support. In other cases, it was bold, reflective action that made the difference.


Bakersfield wedding planner Colleen Bauer had learned from her contacts on the East Coast that the tsunami was coming, so she took steps to reposition her business, Fairy Godmother Events.

She learned from mentors how to organize “micro-weddings” and began to organize these and, for corporate clients, virtual events for employees.

It worked: couples still wanted to get married and big companies still had to recognize their workers. The business hasn’t grown and made as much money as it once did, Bauer said, but it was able to continue at a time when others didn’t. Now she has said she is filling her 2022 calendar of events.

“If you sit down and throw a pity party saying, ‘COVID shut down my business’ it will end your business,” she said.


Then there were companies like Taco Bros on downtown 23rd Street. It was well placed with a window to the wheel, but with five employees it was not realizing its full potential as a fresh, attractively priced restaurant offering what was at the time a unique product in Bakersfield: tacos de birria, a Mexican delicacy traditionally reserved for special events like baptisms.

Last summer, the owner took Baylee McCool, a 23-year-old former restaurant waiter with a very personal touch, knowledge of social media and a concern for efficiency, on board. She made a series of operational and marketing changes, and before long, customers from as far away as Los Angeles lined up a block or more.

The restaurant has become an online sensation, now employing more than 20 workers, and plans are underway for a second location in southwest Bakersfield. McCool credits his focus on customer service and his heavy use of Instagram.

“You can have the best food, but that’s actually how you bring it out,” said McCool, now the restaurant’s co-owner. She added that, ironically, the pandemic “helps us a lot”.


It was a different story for hair salons like Panache A Mark Lamas Salon. The state government twice closed local lounges, costing Empire Drive four months of revenue.

Owner Mark Lamas recalled two key decisions that helped make a difference. One was that he had decided to reopen despite state rules, which meant living in fear that regulators could withdraw his license at any time.

“It was good that they didn’t bother us but it was scary,” he said.

Lamas said he remains grateful for the financial support from the federal and local government that has helped his stylists and kept him up to speed with public services.

The other big step he took was reaching out to salon owners he wasn’t used to talking to. They launched a hashtag on social media, #openoursalons, which brought together former competitors.

“It brought us together,” he said. “If we are all united, we will all be successful.”


Kim Belmont, co-owner of Great Change Brewing with her brother-in-law Tim and two others, said the company’s hard work is finally paying off. Customers she hasn’t seen for a year or more return to the brewery to buy her craft beer.

“It took a lot of perseverance to be able to get things done. I think everything pays off. I think we will be able to get back on track here, hopefully by the summer,” she said. declared.

“I would never have guessed that I would have experienced something like this in my life,” she said. “It’s like something in a movie.”

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Klamath’s economy adapts to survive COVID | Local News Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:13:48 +0000

VSResponsiveness has been the name of the game for companies over the past year or so as they struggle to survive what has been billed as a temporary economic recession that would help save lives from a deadly virus.

But now, more than a year after the COVID-related closures were enacted, some business owners fear the economic impact will be anything but temporary.

In March 2020, with fewer than 100 cases of COVID-19 in the state, Oregon’s economy came to a halt. Unemployment has skyrocketed into double digits, and restrictions intended to curb the soaring spread of the virus have made some business models obsolete – from downtown Portland to the vast swathes of the Klamath Basin.

With Governor Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” executive order, restaurants were unable to provide on-site dining, entertainment venues were completely closed, and retail operations had to limit the number of meals. number of customers in their store. It all had to do with the idea that the closures were needed for a few weeks, which then bled in a few months. Emergency orders and “lockdowns” across the country, originally written to last 60 days, have since been extended by more than a year.

Despite the unpredictability, most businesses in Klamath County have survived the pandemic. But business owners and local officials know we’re not out of the woods yet.

Klamath County Chamber of Commerce director Heather Tramp said that while the past year has been difficult, she is worried about many local businesses in 2021. Many will have to start repaying loans from life-saving emergencies granted in 2020.

“I’m actually more worried about this year than last year because all the loans are coming due, as the ramifications of rent moratoriums and non-payment of bills emerge,” she said. “As this continues, it becomes more and more difficult. People have used up their savings. A lot of our small businesses, their personal assets are tied to their business assets, and so over time it has been more difficult to make the various payments that they have received. And it puts their life – everything in their life – in danger.

According to Klamath IDEA, a nonprofit organization, businesses in Klamath County received more than $ 89 million in CARES funding in 2020. Some of that funding includes grants that do not have to be repaid. But there are still plenty of loans, like the Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan, for businesses that were losing revenue during the pandemic, and the Paycheck Protection Program, which has prompted businesses to keep their paychecks. employees. Lake County businesses have received nearly $ 13 million in COVID relief funding.

Mike Angeli, owner of The Ledge, has seen the ups and downs of 2020 at his independent outdoor store in downtown Klamath Falls.

Although it experienced a rush for its products like kayaks and hiking supplies, backlogs in the supply chain have caused it to go weeks or more without being able to restock the shelves.

“You’ve seen hiking, camping and outdoor sports explode,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 36 years, and it’s the most (interest) I’ve ever seen, increased tenfold, in 36 years… it became overwhelming with the amount of stuff people instantly wanted.

Once he saw the cleaning regimen he should be implementing at his nearby climbing gym, he decided to focus his time and money on the store. The gym was already struggling before COVID-19 hit and it didn’t have to fire anyone.

Businesses have been creative over the past year to make ends meet, despite restrictions that limited certain business sectors. From curbside service to delivery to redesigning the business model, Angeli wasn’t the only one to shake up its operations to stay afloat.

Due to the unpredictability of shipping, he has changed the way he buys his inventory. He expects to have to do so over the next few years as the pandemic continues to increase and decrease across the world.

“I took the lead as best I could, as much as I could afford, and warehoused and stocked as much of that – to meet customer demand,” he said. “But the demand still exceeded what I had. And I was ahead of a lot of people in my area because I had planned.

If there were any industries that saw their activity increase during the pandemic, Tramp estimated those were home improvement stores, outdoor outfitters and garden stores.

While the slow reopening process is underway, the increased capacity of many retail businesses has been welcomed. However, Tramp said a limited reopening taking effect on days’ notice created staffing issues for some businesses in Klamath County. She noted that school hours and daycare availability also impact staffing and outcomes.

Klamath County’s unemployment rate is still struggling to rebound after the sharp rise in spring 2020. According to the state employment department, the county has recovered about 50% of the 2,730 jobs lost last spring, this which means that about half of them still need to be completed. . The sectors hardest hit over the past year have been recreation and hospitality, education, health services and manufacturing. In Klamath County, the leisure and hospitality industry said it lost 660 jobs over the past year and 220 jobs were lost in public education.

However, some industries have already rebounded. As of December 2020, the Klamath County construction industry had increased by 160 jobs from the previous year.

Klamath County’s unemployment rate in January 2021 was 6.8% compared to 5.7% in January 2020.

The unemployment rate in neighboring Lake County is almost equal to that of last January of 4.5%. South-central Oregon regional economist Damon Runberg noted in his jobs report that “Lake County remains one of the communities least affected by COVID-19 layoffs with employment levels down only 2.2% from last January.

The statewide unemployment rate is 6.1% for February 2021 and the state recovered 46% of the jobs lost when the COVID-19 recession hit in April 2020, according to the employment department of Oregon.

Global virus, local impact

Darin Rutledge, director of the Klamath Falls Town Center Association, acknowledged that the rough road for the past 12 months had been for the small business hub of Klamath Main Street.

Still, he said terrible predictions last spring that one in four businesses would shut down during the pandemic have not come true, especially in Klamath County.

“Small business owners are resilient,” Rutledge said. “They have become innovative. They are really good at adapting. “

Although a handful of downtown businesses have closed in the past year, others have sprung up in their place, filling storefronts that have been empty for years. Rutledge highlighted how the pandemic has fostered entrepreneurship and pushed business owners and workers to find ways to make ends meet.

“Just as businesses adapt, so do individuals,” he says.

He said that so far Klamath County is on track to start even more businesses in 2021. He partly attributed this to a difference in attitude in 2021, compared to the difficult times that came before.

“It seems more temporary (to many) than the 2008 economic crisis,” he said.

Officials in the region said the majority of businesses closed permanently during the pandemic have struggled since the virus arrived and COVID has accelerated closures that were likely already underway.

Tramp was impressed with how the community escalated when COVID-19 restrictions first hampered businesses. She noticed that the focus was on local shopping and eating – and it had immediate effects. She does know, however, that a year later that energy can wear out.

“I know the people who normally eat out two or three times a month would eat out two or three times a week just to help businesses,” she said. “And eventually, it becomes more difficult for ordinary citizens.”

Some sectors that particularly suffered were personal services, such as hair salons, nail salons, tattoo studios, massage therapists and other independent contractors.

Klamoya Casino has closed for months at a time as cases of COVID-19 increased in the region. General Manager Joseph Quiroli noted that even when the casino was open, there was much less traffic in the casino. He attributed most of that to the much tighter family budget this year and a decrease in international visitors to the area for nearby sites like Crater Lake National Park.

“If some of these basic needs aren’t met, you’re unlikely to go out and do things,” Quiroli said. “People worry about their next paycheque, they worry about paying the rent. Their discretionary dollars are not really available. “

At the Crater Lake Junction Travel Center, general manager Michael Thompson said business had been a wash over the past year. Tourism in the area was down, including to Crater Lake. However, trucking traffic in the area was on the rise, he said.

The travel center remained open most of the past year, except for a few 24-hour closures after positive employee tests were confirmed. Thompson said that at the request of the federal government, they have remained as operational as possible to service freight traffic and keep their shelves stocked.

Thompson noted the challenge over the past year, as many customers refused to wear masks or threatened employees who were only doing their jobs and trying to follow the rules.

Another unfortunate circumstance that boosted business at the travel center was the Two Four Two Fire, which set off about 10 miles north of the travel center. The casino and hotel served as an emergency site for the Red Cross, which increased businesses but also put stress on their operations.

Tramp noted, looking into the summer of 2021, that while emergency business loans have been a lifeline for many to keep the lights on, there is still a lot to be understood at the state and federal levels in terms of allocation and receipt of aid. .

While Tramp says she hears every day how tired people are from the lifestyle changes caused by the virus, she urges people to be kind to the waiters, cashiers and other employees who are doing their job. work and try to make a living.

Angeli said the pandemic reminded her of the importance of connecting with those around her, especially her clients.

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Technology is the future and MSMEs need to adapt as much as possible, says HDFC Bank’s Sumant Rampal Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:13:48 +0000

India’s MSME sector is the country’s second largest employer, just behind agriculture. The industry has been heavily battered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with numerous surveys showing that the disruptions impacted revenues by 20-50% and that micro and small businesses were facing maximum heat.

A year later, however, the recovery is in the air despite the second wave of COVID-19.

Charles Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that best adapts to change. “

Sumant Rampal, Senior Executive Vice President, Business Banking and Healthcare Finance, HDFC Bank, believes that MSMEs have become clear winners in the war against COVID-19.

And this has been facilitated by their evolution – making certain changes in their existing structures, especially going digital, in order to survive and thrive.

As the country commemorates a year of nationwide lockdown, SMBStory spoke with Sumant about how MSMEs survived the lane or swim situations posed by the pandemic, what lies ahead and the role banks are playing in developing the sector.

SMBStory [SMBS]: It’s been exactly a year since the lockdown was announced. How have your MSME clients behaved?

Sumant Rampal [SR]: It’s been a year since I started working from home. I remember last year around this time we were all so worried about what was going to happen. We had started to see some signs of weakness in the MSME sector in the last quarter of the previous fiscal year, which started in January because we had started to hear about the impact in China and parts of Europe, so there was a slow down. However, we never expected it to explode like this.

Since no one knew how it would turn out, we decided to manage the situation by interacting more closely with our customers. At HDFC Bank, we created small teams and had conversations with our clients through digital and physical channels. It gave a lot more clarity: how we felt they should be saving money, what support we could offer at that time, and how we engaged with the government and the regulator.

Therefore, the moratorium and the other programs put in place by the government were very good steps. Recovery figures increased in November and December. People were returning to factories, festivals like Dussehra and Diwali pushed demand and spurred recovery.

From my reading of our clientele, most MSMEs have proven to be winners in combating COVID-19.

SMBS: How have the measures put in place by the government helped the sector?

SR: The programs of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Stimulus Package are the best that the government can offer, especially the Emergency Line of Credit Guarantee System (ECLGS). I really thank the government for thinking about this and executing it with the help of National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).

We have also seen sectors such as agriculture and sustainable consumption doing very well. Many companies in this sector have recovered by 80 to 90 percent; some even recovered 100 percent. There are others who have recovered from 65 to 70%.

We need to understand that the recovery does not happen overnight, but we are seeing the positivity.

Now, with Wave 2, the mood has eased, but the good news is that the government has realized that a lockdown is not the solution. As a country, too, we are much better prepared in terms of health infrastructure to deal with the situation.

SMBS: How is HDFC Bank becoming easily accessible to MSMEs through digital means? What efforts has the bank undertaken for this sector?

SR: We are one of the best banks to have sanctioned and disbursed loans worth Rs 23,000 crore as part of the ECLG program. We see ourselves as a beneficiary of technology and digitization, and our goal has been to ensure that our MSME clients have the same benefit. Today, any customer in the MSME segment can provide their basic documentation digitally. Our digital product ENet and our SME service portal let customers contact us directly. It also helps us provide working capital loans, overdraft facilities and meet their other financial needs.

Another product, Trade on Net platform, aid for trade (import and export) digitally. 89% of my clients use this platform. All of these products and initiatives have supported MSMEs in their daily work.

As a bank, if I’m able to help my clients collect payments and complete transactions faster, it saves them a lot of time and that’s where the biggest benefit lies.

We have seen that customers who have used these technologies generate profits and those who do not suffer from certain inefficiencies.

SMBS: What factors do you keep in mind when onboarding a client?

SR: Our aim is not only to help MSMEs with financing, but also to provide better guidance on their overall banking needs. We overestimate cash flow; this is the first thing we look at before structuring lending transactions.

We prefer clients who are able to provide financial information and records digitally. We also say never hide your balance sheets, whether they are good, bad or ugly.

SMBS: Will the pandemic change the way you assess and assess MSMEs?

SR: This is a very risky segment and can only change with better behavior from these companies. When I say this, I am relying on reports from the Reserve Bank of India and other credit rating agencies in terms of the underperforming behavior of this particular segment. Unfortunately, their track record is not the best.

But we see transparency coming in. With government initiatives like the goods and services tax (GST), the ability of a bank like ours to structure financing is improving.

COVID-19 is a challenge, but technology is the future and MSMEs need to adapt as much as possible.

SMBS: There are currently many digital financial enablers in our country – fintechs, NBFCs, etc. This appears to have overloaded the MSME lending ecosystem. What do you think?

SR: The fintechs that I have seen emerging over the past few years largely meet the very small ticket requirements of MSMEs. Additionally, I think fintechs would be forced to respond to the needs and investments that MSMEs need.

Banks, on the other hand, are very well oiled in helping MSMEs take charge of their cash flow and trade facilities.

That said, fintechs are an important tool in helping these small businesses get started and create good financial behavior.

In the times to come, I see a lot more fintechs and banks working together; there is much more the two can do together.

SMBS: Going forward, what are your plans to expand your MSME loan portfolio?

SR: Currently, we have four lakh clients in 545 districts in india. We plan to cover 630 MSME clusters in the coming times. Our goal is also to speed up our approval rates and be able to process a transaction (end-to-end) in less than a week – from the moment you meet the customer to the moment the money is disbursed.

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Creative ways to support your business if PPP has overtaken you Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:13:48 +0000

Some 72 percent of those who attempted to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan were successful in submitting their application. This left around 28% of small business owners on the outside, who tried unsuccessfully to apply for P3 loans.

While the federal stimulus would likely have brought welcome relief to companies trying to keep their finances above water, the lending program is not the only way to support results.

Smart business spoke with Kurt Kappa, Director of Loans at First Federal Lakewood, on some of the ways that businesses that haven’t received PPP loans can stay afloat.

What financial support can companies turn to if they have not obtained a PPP loan?

If the lack of a second stimulus package has forced a company to explore other avenues to access capital and none of them fit, one solution is to find a new perspective. Use small banks to access the various business loan and grant programs offered by the US Small Business Administration and local government agencies. These institutions tend to have excellent partnerships with local municipalities and economic development organizations offering community-based loans that businesses are eligible for.

What other measures could companies take to compensate for the revenue shortfalls?

When the traditional way of selling your product is no longer feasible due to the pandemic, explore other options. Many companies are turning to new channels. For example, there has been a significant shift towards e-commerce for businesses that have products to sell. The channel has become much more popular given the social distancing imperative we are under right now. Third-party online shopping platforms like Amazon or Etsy can help businesses reach new customers who may remain after the pandemic.

Businesses also have the option of asking, “Is my current business model working?” Now may be the time for companies to change the mix of what they sell to better match what people are looking for, or companies may need to adapt their products and services – for example, during the pandemic , distillers began to manufacture hand sanitizers and personal products. the trainers animated their sessions via video platforms.

Companies are finding that they have to do more with less, including by requiring staff reduced by layoffs to work harder and often for less pay. Companies affected by the tightening of the purse strings and pay cuts should consider incentives and non-financial benefits to attract, retain and motivate employees. Consider perks like extra days off, creating time for passionate projects, or flexible working arrangements as incentives and rewards.

How can bankers help businesses find ways to address their financial concerns?

Small businesses should consider all of their options, from redesigning business models to online pivoting to restructuring their debt. A reorganization of a company’s debt can allow it to assess its cash flow needs and give it the opportunity to stretch or even reduce some of its debt payment obligations. It is also a good idea for a business to ask a banker for the eligibility and availability of additional loan and grant programs.

Small businesses haven’t had it easy in 2020 and early 2021. First, shelter-in-place orders have forced many businesses to take a break. Then, phased reopening, challenges in securing federal financial assistance, and ever-changing rules and regulations continue to force businesses to pivot again and again. Almost all businesses have had to adapt to changing customer needs in order to stay afloat beyond the support of government assistance. Now may be the time for companies to re-evaluate their models and embrace reinvention.

INSIGHTS Banking is brought to you by First Federal Lakewood

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Norterra businesses fight pandemic, adapt Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:13:48 +0000

Some businesses in northern Phoenix have taken the brunt of the pandemic head-on and appear to be doing it on the other side as the Arizona governor eased occupancy limits statewide.

Earlier this month, Gov. Doug Ducey announced he would rescind previous executive orders that limited the number of people who can be in a business at any given time.

The owner of Crumbl Cookies at the Shops at Norterra takes advantage. Sydney Herring opened her store, 2450 W. Happy Valley Road Suite 1151, in April 2020, just as the pandemic was starting.

“We were lucky enough in this situation,” Ms. Herring said. “Even during the pandemic, people loved coming for cookies. It is a happy place for them at a time of so much uncertainty.

“One thing to think about that a lot of companies did was try to adapt and be understanding. Everyone was having heartache. We try to accommodate some requests and donate when we can in the health field. “

Last year, executives at Mellow Mushroom shut down the business on March 17 and strictly switched to a 100% take-out model.

Keith Correa, district manager for Mellow Mushroom at 2490 W. Happy Valley Road, said he waited a week after the governor’s orders not to allow food services in restaurants. The chain has five Valley pizzerias.

Mr. Correa said he wanted to know which methods were most effective and which were ineffective. Since then, take-out sales have more than doubled. The restaurant’s curbside service, which was instituted in 2020, has also been a success.

“I wanted to see what the others were doing,” he said.

Mr Correa said business “was behind” last year’s figures, but said he hoped the pizzeria can catch up and keep pace.

Norterra businesses have received help.

Dan Dahl, real estate director at YAM, said officials had worked with tenants to develop innovative ideas such as hosting drive-in movie nights in the mall. Officials touted take-out services from tenants at the downtown restaurant.

YAM Properties owns and operates over 12 properties in the metro area. The company is a Scottsdale-based real estate investment and development group made up of Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy, who has branched out since the sale of the company into various businesses, including real estate.

Mr Dahl said his group has helped maximize outdoor space and opened up previously closed roads to allow convenient access to restaurant pickup. His team has also designated nearby parking spaces for driver efficiency.

The YAM Properties team also took to social media to help potential clients shop at Norterra and Westgate, another property owned by the company, and let clients know they were open, said Mr. Dahl.

“Social media has been a lifeline for many as they have been able to adapt quickly to difficulties and deliver messages that could be aimed at supporting the bottom line,” Dahl said. “At Westgate in particular, we’ve tried to keep things as ‘fun’ as they could be. We hosted a free virtual Easter egg hunt, fitness classes and more. We wanted our community to know that we are always there as a bright light – living up to our slogan: ‘Westgate, where the fun happens’. “

YAM Properties has added more than 30 tenants to various commercial properties in recent months, according to a press release earlier this month.

Ms Herring said her landlord had helped with rent for “a month or two,” but the business had not needed to take out small business loans during the pandemic. She said business was good.

Now Ms. Herring is looking to open an additional location.

“So busy and so good,” Ms. Herring said. “The holidays are always a busy time of the year with parties, gifts, gatherings, etc. We love it! ”

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