New York attorney general asks major banks to clarify handling of small business loans

Reuters | May 05, 2020

New York’s Attorney General said on Monday she has asked 11 major U.S. banks to clarify how they had issued loans tied to the U.S government’s $660 billion program to rescue small businesses from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the plan was intended to help small firms weather the worst global economic crisis in decades but has been hobbled by missing paperwork, technology failure and a misdirection of funds to big corporations.
Attorney General Letitia James said she is seeking information on the practices, marketing and procedures that banks undertook when they issued those loans. Also of interest is whether some companies had used their lobbying power to influence the way banks had dispensed the loans, she said.
“We are concerned that women and minority groups did not have equal access to loans,” James said in an interview, adding that she worried a disproportionate amount of money had flowed to big companies.

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FINANCE

OPay and Mastercard announce strategic partnership to grow cashless ecosystem and advance digital financial inclusion for millions

OPay & Mastercard | May 19, 2022

Fintech giant OPay and Mastercard today announced a strategic partnership, which marks a significant boost for wider financial inclusion and economic prosperity by opening up digital commerce to millions of people across Middle East and Africa. The collaboration enables OPay consumers and merchants in the region - including Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa and the UAE - to engage with brands and businesses anywhere across the globe, thanks to a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to the OPay eWallet. This partnership is the latest milestone in Mastercard's emerging market strategy where the technology company is collaborating with growing Fintech's such as OPay to expand access to digital payments, enable multiple lifestyle services, create new pathways to financial inclusion and support the next generation of super-apps. Consumers are increasingly looking for seamless user experiences on a single platform offering easier interactions to complete various day-to-day needs, including sending and receiving money, ordering food and groceries, organizing transport, lending, investing and listing items they wish to sell. In the initial phase of this partnership, OPay customers will benefit from the Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to their OPay wallets, to shop at well-known global brands for leisure, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more. The service is available regardless of whether or not the customer has a bank account. It also allows small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the secure virtual payment solution. "At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is rooted in partnerships to support inclusion at scale. Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs." -Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard EEMEA Yahui Zhou, CEO of OPay,said: As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across Middle East and Africa. Since its operations started in 2018, OPay's active users have grown to 15 million in dozens of markets in which it operates. The company processes millions of transactions per day on average. In Nigeria alone, where OPay takes significant market share, users have saved billions of US dollars in the last four years through credit-linked savings accounts from their mobile wallets and small loans from lenders that use its platform. Plans are in place to launch OPay services in other markets in the next three to five years, significantly driving the growth of digital inclusion and digital commerce, while at the same time widening OPay customer inclusion into the global economy. Mastercard has made a worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses – with a focus on 25 million women entrepreneurs – into the digital economy by 2025. About OPay: OPay is a fast-growing mobile payment fintech company. OPay has achieved significant growth in the past three years and has become one of the largest fintech companies in Africa and Middle East with a decent market share in key markets including Nigeria, Egypt, and Pakistan among others. OPay offers bespoke services to different clients in order to suit their needs; some of these services include offline payment, online payment, digital wallet service through AI and other fintech innovations. OPay boasts over 15 million registered wallet users, 600,000 merchants nationwide and surpassed $6 billion in monthly transaction value. About Mastercard Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

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TECHNOLOGY

Vodafone Business and RingCentral Bring Flexible Cloud Communications Solutions to Organisations

Vodafone Business | February 04, 2022

Vodafone Business and RingCentral Inc., a leading provider of global enterprise cloud communications, video meetings, collaboration, and contact centre solutions, today unveiled ‘Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral,’ a powerful new communications platform that brings together RingCentral’s flagship offering RingCentral Message Video Phone™ (MVP™) with Vodafone’s mobility and 5G capabilities to give customers more choice, flexibility, and simplicity when it comes to workforce collaboration and remote working. Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral will be rolled out in the UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and Sweden. The way people work and collaborate has changed. There is an increased focus on enabling people to work from anywhere. To support hybrid work, companies need a secure, reliable, and flexible cloud communications platform. Bringing together Vodafone Business’ mobile first approach, global brand, reach, and scale with RingCentral’s deep Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) expertise, Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral combines all preferred modes of communication including team messaging, video meetings, and cloud phone into a single intuitive app that is accessible on any device, anywhere. “As businesses adapt to a disruptive and changing environment, they need to become more automated and agile in their way of working. Bringing technologies together that work in sync, connecting people, processes and information for faster decision making, will be critical. Vodafone is committed to supporting the digital journeys of companies big and small, so we’re pleased to be working with RingCentral to support this move and help organisations become fit for the future.” Giorgio Migliarina, products and services director at Vodafone Business Providing businesses with an effective way to move their existing legacy infrastructure to the cloud, the platform is highly secure and robust and offers an expanded portfolio of next generation unified communication and collaboration capabilities including team messaging, HD video meetings, and calling. Homayoun Razavi, Chief Business Development Officer at RingCentral said: “Enterprises today have growing global communications needs to meet the ever-evolving demands of their mobile and distributed workforce—from servicing global customers to expanding their global talent pool. Combining RingCentral’s industry-leading cloud communications with Vodafone’s leadership in mobility, 5G, and international connectivity unlocks new ways for companies to grow and run their businesses. Our open platforms and joint innovation are paving new paths to productivity and engagement around the world.” All features can be run standalone or integrated with various business applications, including Microsoft 365, leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Helpdesk services – ensuring everything works in sync. In addition, Vodafone Business UC with RingCentral includes real-time and historic analytics, extensive call management, and team collaboration and task management capabilities, which will be available to larger businesses. Vodafone Business plans to expand the platform to smaller businesses in the UK and Germany soon. About Vodafone Unique in its scale as the largest pan-European and African technology communications company, Vodafone transforms the way we live and work through its innovation, technology, connectivity, platforms, products, and services. Vodafone operates mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries, and partners with mobile networks in 52 more. As of 31 December 2021, we had over 300m mobile customers, more than 28m fixed broadband customers and over 22m TV customers. Vodafone is a world leader in the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting more than 142m devices and platforms through innovation that aligns with the aspirations of society for cleaner and safer cities, better transport, and improved agriculture. Vodafone’s digital leadership is also changing how governments deliver healthcare and education, and how businesses, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), serve customers. We have revolutionised fintech in Africa through M-Pesa, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2022. It is the region’s largest fintech platform, providing access to financial services for more than 51m people in a secure, affordable, and convenient way. Our purpose is to connect for a better future, enabling an inclusive and sustainable digital society. We are taking significant steps to reduce our impact on our planet by becoming net zero by 2040, purchasing 100% of our electricity from renewable sources in Europe and across our entire operations by 2025, and reusing, reselling or recycling 100% of our redundant network equipment. Vodafone proactively works to expand access to connectivity for rural communities, students, and jobseekers. For more than 30 years, Vodafone’s Foundation has supported communities in Europe and Africa in the areas of health, education, and equality. We support diversity and inclusion through our maternity and parental leave policies, empowering women through connectivity and improving access to education and digital skills for women, girls, and society at large. We are respectful of all individuals, irrespective of race, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, belief, culture, or religion. About RingCentral RingCentral, Inc. is a leading provider of cloud Message Video Phone™ (MVP™), customer engagement and contact centre solutions for businesses worldwide. More flexible and cost-effective than legacy on-premise PBX and video conferencing systems that it replaces, RingCentral empowers modern mobile and distributed workforces to communicate, collaborate, and connect via any mode, any device, and any location. RingCentral’s open platform integrates with leading third-party business applications and enables customers to easily customise business workflows. RingCentral is headquartered in Belmont, California, and has offices around the world.

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FINANCE

CIBC Innovation Banking Provides Expensify with Expanded $100 Million Credit Facility to Support Growth Plans

Expensify | February 08, 2022

CIBC Innovation Banking is pleased to announce it has provided a $100 million credit facility to Portland-based Expensify, a payments superapp that helps individuals and businesses around the world simplify the way they manage money. This funding, provided in October 2021, will further support the company’s rapid growth and product expansion, and represents a significant increase to an existing relationship between CIBC Innovation Banking and Expensify. With more than 10 million members across the globe, Expensify provides free corporate cards, expense tracking, next-day reimbursement, invoicing, bill pay, and travel booking all in one app. The product also integrates with all major accounting software, as well as HR, tax, practice management, and travel platforms such as Uber and Lyft. “Expenses are a universal pain point for businesses of every size, and Expensify’s tools are addressing and alleviating those headaches for millions of users,” said Paul McKinlay, Managing Director at CIBC Innovation Banking. “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Expensify and are excited and proud to continue to support this company as they continue to scale and innovate through new platforms and initiatives.” “CIBC has provided creative and flexible financing for us for several years. As we prepared to enter the public markets last year, we knew CIBC was the right banking partner for us. We’re excited to continue with this credit facility as we scale in the public markets and further extend our product platform.” Ryan Schaffer, Chief Financial Officer and Board Member of Expensify About CIBC Innovation Banking CIBC Innovation Banking delivers strategic advice, cash management and funding to innovation companies across North America, the UK, and select European countries at each stage of their business cycle, from start up to IPO and beyond. With offices in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, London, Menlo Park, Montreal, New York, Reston, Toronto and Vancouver, the team has extensive experience and a strong, collaborative approach that extends across CIBC’s commercial banking and capital markets businesses in the U.S. and Canada. About Expensify Expensify is a payments superapp that helps individuals and businesses around the world simplify the way they manage money. More than 10 million people use Expensify’s free features, which include corporate cards, expense tracking, next-day reimbursement, invoicing, bill pay, and travel booking in one superapp, all free. Whether you own a small business, manage a team, or close the books for your clients, Expensify makes it easy so you have more time to focus on what really matters.

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INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

TTG Imaging Solutions Announces Acquisition by Sentinel Capital Partners

Sentinel Capital Partners | December 28, 2021

TTG Imaging Solutions, LLC (TTG) announced today a partnership with Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests in promising midmarket companies. The partnership between Sentinel and TTG's management team will drive the company's next phase of growth. Sentinel invests in management buyouts, acquisitions of family businesses, corporate divestitures, industry consolidations, and going-private transactions in the United States and Canada. TTG was founded by Jack Tomayko in 2004, and has been highly acquisitive in recent years, completing nine transactions across each of its business units since March 2019. "TTG has achieved significant organic and acquisition growth over the past several years. Our differentiated level of service across all business units, coupled with a customer-centric philosophy, attracts acquisition targets and customers alike." Matt Mastarone, President and CEO of TTG Mastarone continued, "It was our goal to find a partner who shared our vision of TTG within the broader medical imaging industry. We aim to provide the highest quality equipment and service and to deliver value to our customers through turnkey staffing and radiopharmaceutical solutions in our end-to-end model. Sentinel is the right partner to help us grow while maintaining our focus on this goal." "Since its founding, TTG has built a reputation of providing best-in-class services that allow physicians, imaging centers, and hospitals to offer top-quality patient care," said Paul Murphy, a Sentinel Partner. "The TTG team has developed an impressive growth playbook and we are thrilled to provide them the capital and support to significantly expand the business. We look forward to working with TTG's talented team as they enter their next chapter of growth." The TTG end-to-end Solution is comprised of: TTG Imaging Solutions – new and refurbished equipment sales, clinical applications support, parts, and nationwide service that help the marketplace extend the useful life of its valuable medical imaging equipment Cardiac Imaging Solutions – turnkey nuclear, echo, and vascular testing programs that offer physician practices and health systems the flexibility and efficiency of an outsourced model TTG Isotopes – radiopharmaceuticals that include cardiac imaging agents, custom-compounded iodine therapy, and a complete line of products used in general imaging. TTG was honored in 2021 by the Pittsburgh Business Times as the fastest growing organization in the region for the $25-$100 million revenue category. About TTG Imaging Solutions, LLC (TTG) TTG Imaging Solutions provides a breadth of product and service offerings with its End-to-End Solution. Through organic growth, key partnerships, and targeted acquisitions, TTG delivers solutions to a broad continuum of healthcare providers within the United States. ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485:2016 certified in sales, repair, refurbishment, installation, parts, and servicing of medical imaging devices. About Sentinel Capital Partners Sentinel specializes in buying and building midmarket businesses in the United States and Canada in partnership with management. Sentinel targets aerospace and defense, business services, consumer, distribution, food and restaurants, franchising, healthcare, and industrial businesses. Sentinel invests in management buyouts, recapitalizations, corporate divestitures, going-private transactions, and structured equity investments of established businesses with EBITDA of up to $80 million. Sentinel also invests in special situations, including balance sheet restructurings, operational turnarounds, and minority junior capital solutions.

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Spotlight

Entrepreneurs have the potential to radically improve the world and one of the most important elements of successful entrepreneurship is loving what you do. In this video, I'll share the key habits and values that make aspiring entrepreneurs more successful.

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