Author Archives: Shaun Root

Credit-Card Debt in U.S. Rises to Record $930 Billion

Serious delinquencies increase, particularly among younger borrowers

WASHINGTON—Credit-card debt rose to a record in the final quarter of 2019 as Americans spent aggressively amid a strong economy and job market, and the proportion of people seriously behind on their payments increased.

Total credit-card balances increased by $46 billion to $930 billion, well above the previous peak seen before the 2008 financial crisis, according to data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Tuesday.

Some cardholders, particularly younger ones, are running into trouble.

The proportion of credit-card debt in serious delinquency, meaning payments were late by 90 days or more, rose to 5.32% in the fourth quarter, the highest level in almost eight years, from 5.16% in the third quarter. The serious-delinquency rate for borrowers from 18 to 29 years old rose to 9.36%, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2010, from 8.91%.

Read the full article here.

People to Watch in 2020

We are proud of our amazing CEO Stephen Hoops who was recognized as one of Delaware Business Time’s People to watch in 2010! 

Hoops said revenues for his company, which designs strategies for clients by analyzing segments to identify trends from data received from different environments, increased by more than 50% for the third year in a row, and the company became the first non-University of Delaware occupant in the Tower at UD’s STAR campus. Predictive Analytics has been recognized as one of UD’s most promising new ventures two years in a row.

What are your biggest goals for 2020?

I am looking to move PAG into the fourth year of the business and continue to expand into new verticals. We now have clients across five business verticals, while targeting new clients in two additional verticals in 2020.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to achieving those goals?

Whenever you move into new verticals, there is a “getting to know you” period. We are well established within the financial services, gaming and the marketing world today, where we collectively have more than 120 years of experience in financial services and marketing. Gaming took time building contacts, our reputation and some pro-bono work to establish ourselves. Health care and sports are moving well today but had similar hurdles early on. As we grow cross-vertically, we are starting to see less “time to market” from initial contact within an industry to a first paid engagement. Patience, a healthy balance of EQ and IQ, humility and passion are the keys to expansion into new markets. It also helps that we all enjoy what we do on a daily basis.

Full article can be found here

The Decade When Numbers Broke Sports

In the 2010s, data and analytics changed the way games are played—for better and worse

Brad Pitt (left) played Billy Beane in ‘Moneyball,’ which was released in 2011, at the beginning of a decade that would change sports forever. PHOTO: COLUMBIA PICTURES/EVERETT COLLECTION

By Ben Cohen, Jared Diamond and Andrew Beaton

It wasn’t long ago that baseball players still bunted, football coaches were unapologetically conservative and basketball teams doubted Stephen Curry. It was only the beginning of this decade.

But what happened over the last 10 years inside MLB ballparks, NFL stadiums and NBA arenas rendered the sports almost unrecognizable. The games barely resemble the previous iterations of themselves. They have been reinvented in front of our eyes.

Read the full article here.

Three casinos signal plans for sports betting in state

HARRISBURG –- Three casinos have now applied to offer sports betting in Pennsylvania, but none have yet been approved to do so.

Harrah’s Philadelphia applied to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week, following Penn National in Grantville and Parx Casino in Bensalem.

The Gaming Control Board is due to consider the petitions from Penn National and Parx Casino at a meeting next Wednesday. Penn National filed their application on Aug. 17. The Parx application was filed Aug. 24.

Under temporary rules approved by the gaming board in August, the casinos will be able to offer sports betting online or in-person at the casinos.

Read the full article here.

A Better Alternative to Payday Loans

Using a ‘salary link,’ employers can help low-income workers get access to credit.

PHOTO: ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

By Todd H. Baker and Snigdha Kumar

More than 50 million Americans in low-income working families struggle to manage everyday cash flow. That means they have the resources to pay monthly bills but can’t handle small financial shocks or timing mismatches because they lack the savings buffer the more affluent take for granted. Most lack access to reasonably priced credit and can’t stretch out medical, home and auto expenses over time. The result is a damaging cycle of reliance on high-cost payday loans, auto-title loans and bank overdrafts that often leads to financial ruin. While interest groups squabble over whether more or less regulation is the answer, people suffer.

There is a solution with benefits for employers and employees. In a new working paper published from Harvard’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, we show that mobile and online financial products sponsored by employers can cover a wider range of borrowers and charge them less money than those available to individuals in the market. Use of these FinTech products may also significantly reduce employee turnover and save employers millions. The key to their success is the “salary link”—meaning the money provided to employees is automatically repaid through salary deduction. Large employers can make these benefits available today without changes in law or government intervention.

 

Read the full article here.

Why are Amazon, PayPal meeting with bank regulators?

Asked whether Amazon, which is run by CEO Jeff Bezos, should be allowed to own a bank, a former top regulator replied, “It’s a tough decision that we are going to have to make one of these days.”

 

WASHINGTON — Technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are showing an increasing interest in engaging with federal banking regulators, a move that underscores Silicon Valley’s growing involvement in the financial services arena.

In recent years, such firms have formed a lobbying group, Financial Innovation Now, that is staking out their view on various hot-button topics. But some firms are also meeting individually with government agencies.

For example, Amazon lobbyists met with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency starting in the second quarter of 2016, and again this year to discuss “issues related to mobile payments and payment processing, financial innovation, and technology,” according to publicly available lobbying disclosures.

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Equifax apologizes as U.S. watchdog calls for more oversight

 

FILE PHOTO: Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

Big data analytics in healthcare comes with many challenges, including security, visualization, and a number of data integrity concerns.

By John McCrank

(Reuters) – Equifax Inc promised to make it easier for consumers to control access to their credit records in the wake of the company’s massive breach after the top U.S. consumer financial watchdog called on the industry to introduce such a system.

Equifax’s interim chief executive officer, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., vowed to introduce a free service by Jan. 31 that will let consumers control access to their own credit records.

Barros, who was named interim CEO on Tuesday as Richard Smith stepped down from the post amid mounting criticism over the handling of the cyber attack, also apologized for providing inadequate support to consumers seeking information after the breach was disclosed on Sept. 7. He promised to add call-center representatives and bolster a breach-response website.

Read the full article here.