AMC reportedly in superior talks to refinance debt

A man walks past the AMC Georgetown 14 Theaters on June 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

AMC entertainment accelerated its plan to refinance its debt, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

The publication said the The cinema chain is in advanced refinancing talks with several interested parties to reduce the interest burden and extend the terms by several years. This follows comments from CEO Adam Aron earlier this month that one of his key goals for 2022 was to improve the company’s financial position.

An AMC spokesman declined CNBC’s request for comment.

AMC’s total debt tops $5 billion, but Aron has repeatedly cautioned investors that it has no maturities until 2023.

On Tuesday, AMC shares fell more than 4% on debt refinancing news. amid robust selling in the broader market.

AMC’s push to shore up its balance sheet comes as the company’s stock has fallen more than 40% year-to-date, reversing big gains that helped AMC avoid bankruptcy last year. AMC’s stock value was boosted in 2021 by retail investors who closely followed the stock on social media platforms like Reddit.

AMC has been caught up in the meme stock trading frenzy and was able to replenish its coffers through stock sales in early 2021, but twice failed to win shareholder approval to issue new shares in the company. That means the company can’t issue any more shares to pay off its debt.

Read the full report from The Wall Street Journal.

Millennial Cash: Beat your summer time ‘revenge procuring’ debt | Existence

List your debts using a spreadsheet, pencil and paper, or debt settlement app. Enter the balance, the interest rate and the minimum monthly payment. Make sure you consider all forms of debt, such as: B. Buy now and pay for loans later.

Then, look at your income and expenses to see how much money you are putting on debt and where you can cut expenses. For example, if you’re spending more on restaurants than you did six months ago, try reducing that to free up cash to pay off debt.

Next, choose a strategy for the payout. Here are a few common tactics:

– SCHULDSSCHNEEBALL: With that Debt snowballfocus your debt settlement energy on the smallest balance first, while making minimal payments for the rest. Once the smallest debt is dismissed, roll the amount you paid for it to the next smallest debt. As you pay off more debt, the payment amount grows like a snowball until you are out of debt.

– DEBT LAWINS: With this method, you settle the debt with the highest interest rate first. Then, similar to the debt snowball method, once it’s paid off, cascade the payment with the next highest interest rate on your debt.

5 tricks to repay mounting debt | Cash Good

If you’re having trouble getting your bills off, here are a few tips that might help you.

SAN ANTONIO – If you are heavily in debt, you are not alone.

US household debt hit a record high of $ 15 trillion in the second quarter of 2021, according to the latest report.

The latest quarterly report on the debt and creditworthiness of households in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says total household debt rose 2.1% to hit $ 14.96 trillion. The report shows that mortgage debt was the largest contributor. Auto loans and loan spending also contributed to the increase.

If you’re struggling to get your bills off, here are five tips that might help.

“A lot of people think that you should cash out your highest-interest credit cards first, but psychologically, I think it’s best to get some out of the way. If you have five or six credit cards, and one of them is very small, pay it off first because mentally you feel like you can accomplish something by getting rid of one credit card, ”said Karl Eggerss, Senior Wealth Advisor and Partner at Federation.

FOCUS ON THE MAP WITH THE HIGHEST INTEREST RATE

“If you can call the institution to try to get a lower rate, I’d advise. If not, you can actually transfer this balance to another credit card on an introductory course. Maybe zero percent or six months or even a year. You’re trying to buy yourself time while you pay for it, ”advised Eggerss.

PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM CREDIT

“If you only pay the minimum, you will never pay them off. So make sure you cut the spending elsewhere to pay for that credit card, ”he said.

“Sell things that you no longer need in your house and literally put the money on your credit card,” advised Eggerss.

“You need to know what money is coming in and what is coming out. When it comes to spending too much, you will never get anywhere with these credit cards and it will continue to be a problem. In terms of interest rates, it is getting bigger and bigger and could lead to bankruptcy, ”suspects Eggerss.

How faculty closures have an effect on taxpayers and college students: ‘You stole my cash and I’m $188,000 in debt and for what?’

Hello and welcome back to MarketWatch’s Additional credit Column, a weekly look at the news through the lens of debt.

I have this week written about the collapse of some well-known college chains, the dissolution of their parent organization Dream Center Educational Holdings, and pressure from advocates and students to hold school executives accountable for their collapse.

For this week’s extra credit, I figured I’d stick with the topic and talk a bit about the impact of school closings on students and taxpayers.

When college chains like the Dream Center – including the Art Institutes and Argosy University – collapse, students are left with few good options. You can try to transfer your credits to another school. Or they can have their federal student loans canceled, putting taxpayers at risk for any canceled debt. But the people who ran the schools often escape responsibility.

Proponents urge the Biden government to hold executives personally accountable for their role in the demise of these schools, a move they believe could protect students and taxpayers in the future. When schools collapse, the Department of Education, which is usually one of many creditors, doesn’t have much money left to claim and use to mitigate losses.

In the case of the Dream Center, the Department of Education has already canceled more than $ 100 million in loans to borrowers who attended schools when they closed.

“Pursuing personal liability is the only way to prevent hasty closings and reimburse taxpayers for the costs associated with fraud and closings that are most harmful to students,” said Yan Cao, senior fellow of the Century Foundation.

Still, some are skeptical of the idea of ​​holding school principals personally accountable. While executives who break the law and are knowingly involved in misconduct should not be immune from legal scrutiny, “the proposal goes way beyond that,” said Jason Altmire, president of Career Education Colleges and Universities, a trade group that promotes for-profit corporations represents universities.

“This is a bit of a departure from the traditional rules of personal responsibility in American corporate law,” he said.

Further than the Ministry of Education has ever gone

Holding executives accountable would be further than the Department of Education has ever gone in overseeing for-profit colleges. Still, the agency has had powers to do so since the 1990s, the National Student Legal Defense Network, which represents student loan borrowers in litigation, including former students of the arts institutes, argued in a memo last year.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and former long-time university professor, confirmed that conclusion in a press Publication for the report. She urged the department “to use every available tool to hold executives and university owners personally accountable who defraud students”.

This week, Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said: wrote to The Ministry of Education is calling on the agency to use its powers to hold executives personally responsible for the liabilities of their collapsed schools to the federal government.

“We want them to use whatever leverage they have to achieve progressive profits, and that includes curbing abuse of for-profit colleges,” said Jeff Hauser, executive director of The Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research Bidener administration. “In general, dishonesty and consumer fraud must be taken very seriously by the executive branch.”

One way to do this would be to take a closer look at the agreements colleges are making with the Department of Education to receive federal grants, said Beth Stein, senior advisor at the Institute for College Access and Success. “We have to think a little more proactively about what the terms of the contract look like,” said Stein. The contracts could, for example, include personal liability on the part of managers in the event of a college failure.

“This is something the new boss of [the Office of Federal Student Aid]”And his team” could contribute to how they might approach these things in the future, “she said.

“The people who are held accountable will not be held accountable”

Meanwhile, students like Cherisse Hunter-Southern struggled with the aftermath of the turmoil for the school chains for years before they became part of the Dream Center portfolio and eventually collapsed.

Hunter-Southern, 40, is about the age she would like to consider buying a home, but the damage to her creditworthiness from the $ 188,000 student loan she is struggling to repay has made it difficult.

Hunter-Southern, who sued Argosy University shortly after it was sold to Dream Center by Education Management Corporation, chose the school’s campus in Ontario, California to get her PhD in psychology because they are attending college wanted to be close to her home, which was flexible enough to accommodate work, school and her duties as parents.

But the education was below average, she said even before the school closed.

The schools owned by the Dream Center collapsed in 2019 when it was alleged that college executives knew of accreditation problems at some of the art institutes’ campuses and failed to inform the students. and that students at many colleges in the Dream Center chains did not receive scholarships – the financial resources that students received in addition to tuition for living expenses – and more.

Earlier this year, Hunter-Southern wrote to the judge overseeing the bankruptcy administration, asking him to block a proposal by court-appointed bankruptcy administrator Mark Dottore that would rule out litigation against the executives for their behavior in relation to the schools.

Dottore, through his attorneys, urged the judge to overturn their objection, saying that “the overwhelming majority” of Hunter-Southern’s training took place while the school was owned by EDMC and the bar association’s order would not prevent them from filing claims filing against them of the entities that preceded the bankruptcy administration, including EDMC, or the bankruptcy administration. Dottore wrote through his attorneys that he may decline their request in the future.

Following a Zoom hearing earlier this week in which the judge announced he would approve the bar association’s order, Hunter-Southern said she was “confused” by the situation.

“The people who need to be held accountable will not be held accountable,” she said, adding that if the leaders “want to work elsewhere, they have the opportunity and potential to do the same, not just for me . but for other students. ”

Hunter-Southern found that consumers have the opportunity to get their money back with much smaller purchases than with higher education.

“If you go to the store and get broken sunglasses, you should be able to return the sunglasses and get the one you want,” she said.

“You stole my money and I owe $ 188,000 in debt and what for? The worst education ever. “

Expensive Annie: Our good friend is deep in debt, requested us for cash and hasn’t instructed her husband. What ought to we do?

Dear Annie: My wife and I are in a pickle. We are friends with another couple, “Josh” and “Vanessa”. Vanessa happens to be a teacher at our children’s school. One day I picked up my offspring and started chatting with them. I noticed that she was sad and asked her about it. Then the locks opened.

She started telling me about how she ran up credit card debt and she said Josh didn’t know about it. Josh is under a lot of stress and she doesn’t want to tell him. I comforted her and asked how much, thinking maybe a few hundred dollars.

You: “17.”

Me: “A thousand?”

You: (nods slowly)

I lied and told her it was okay. I also told her to tell Josh. She agreed and said she plans to do it next month after he hits a deadline on the job. Then she asked if my wife and I would loan her $ 500 for the time being so that she could pay the minimum. I told her we would talk about it.

So now we have two questions. Shall we give her the money first? Second, should we ever tell Josh sometime? If we told him, Vanessa would hate us. But otherwise Josh would hate us after he finally found out. What would you do? – couple in a riddle

Dear couple: put this one off.

Don’t give Vanessa the money. This would only enable her to maintain her spending addiction.

Don’t talk to Josh. Let Vanessa be the one to tell him. She’ll have to do it soon anyway if you don’t loan her the credit card minimum.

I know you want to help, but defend yourself. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and has an expressway for people who get right in the middle of their friends’ relationship problems.

Dear Annie, backseat drivers are an absolute nuisance to me. I’ve been driving a car for 20 years and have never had an accident except once when my side mirror hit a mailbox and I never had a ticket except once in New York State.

I am not an aggressive driver. I keep people in my lane. I’m not trying to drive fast, but I’m busy (and often late) trying to keep up with the other cars around me.

But the way some friends react when they’re in my car, you might think I’m Danica Patrick. And my husband is the worst. He keeps making comments: “Stop dragging.” “Slow down.” “You’re driving really fast.” And when he’s not voicing his thoughts, I can see him preparing for the impact by grabbing the handle over the car door.

The constant feedback from people about my driving gets on my nerves. How can I give them the confidence to enjoy the ride when I’m behind the wheel? — Makes me mad

Dear Car Driving: Well you can start by being a better driver because I doubt anyone who drives your car is overreacting. They’re sending your passengers into survival mode and they’ll burst out in self-defense and not pick on you.

Consider signing up for a defensive adult driving lesson. Many insurance companies even offer discounts for attending such courses.

At the very least, I suggest that you reconsider the basics of Driver ED: adjust your mirrors (while the car is still parked) to avoid blind spots; Leave a length of car in front of you for every 10 mph, etc. And get out early so you are not in such a rush to get seats.

The backseat drivers like to hand over their keys, so to speak, when they see that you can get them to safety.

Dear readers, today’s column originally ran in 2016.

view previous ‘Dear Annie’ columns

Send your questions to Annie Lane at Dearannie@creators.com. To learn more about Annie Lane and to read articles by fellow Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2021 CREATORS.COM

Covid customers did nice job paying bank card debt. It will probably’t final

Santiaga | iStock | Getty Images

Ask a consumer expert what would happen with credit card loan balances during a recession and the answer wouldn’t be that balances decline sharply and Americans avoid a wave of card delinquencies.

But that’s what happened during the pandemic year. Helped by government stimulus and limited to spending on necessary goods rather than discretionary items, consumers bucked economic downturn history when it comes to credit card debt.

It’s been an upside down credit environment,” said Stephen Biggar, who covers financial institutions at Argus Research. “If you told me the market was going to crash 40% and we would have 20% unemployment, you would have also said card delinquency rates would go through the roof, particularly for the lower-end consumer.”

The savings rate spiked to a level not seen since World War II, and that caused consumers to take the cash they had and pay down debt — and often the first kind of debt they paid down was cards, which have among the highest interest rates, averaging 16%. 

According to Experian, from Q3 2019 to Q3 2020, credit card balances fell 24%. Among active credit card holders right before the pandemic, 58% carried a balance month-to-month, an interest-rich pool for card issuers that is now down to a record low of 53%, according to the American Bankers Association.

“Lots of people made lots of progress paying down debt and we would not have thought that at the outset of the pandemic,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

But even paying down significant debt, the average balance on a card is still above $5,000, and there are signs the pay-down surprise may be nearing a reversal.

“I think we are at the tail end of that,” Biggar said. “Once government stimulus ends, then we get a consumer mostly on their own holding their debt capabilities up.”

Government stimulus checks that came in multiple batches are slowing, though child tax credits to those at lower-income levels and unemployment tax refunds continue. Enhanced unemployment already has been ended in many states and will end in early September for the rest.

And, most importantly, consumers want to spend.

$2 trillion in ‘forced savings’ ready to be unleashed

“There is a lot of money, a lot of savings and they are out spending it,” Rick Caruso, founder and CEO of real estate company Caruso & Co. which develops malls and resorts, recently told CNBC. “They’re shopping, dining, they are going to the movies and they are doing it consistently. $2 trillion of ‘forced savings’ is just starting to get unleashed.” 

For now, consumers still have leverage and the cautious financial habits formed during the pandemic remain in evidence.

Payment rates continue to be high given the trillions in cash and savings. Loan growth in the card industry is down double-digits in most consumer assets over the past year since, according to Kevin Barker, a Piper Sandler senior research analyst covering consumer finance companies, and savings rates are still double the run rate pre-pandemic.

The course of the highly contagious delta variant remains a wildcard in this picture as well with a recent estimate that as many as one million Americans are being infected daily. But there are some signs that the priority consumers have made of paying down debt during the pandemic is beginning to give way to a focus on spending again, including travel and entertainment, as stimulus is wound down. “There is a feeling now that perhaps we are staring to see a reversal, the early stages of it,” Rossman said.

A Creditcards.com survey found 44% of people saying they are willing to take on debt in the second half of 2021 for non-essential purchases, which are mostly out of the home activities such as dining.

The Federal Reserve’s G.19 report covering consumer credit for the month of May found that credit card balances went up 11% from April to May, the largest jump in five years, on an annualized basis. 

“Either old habits die hard or new habits take hold and consumers continue to say ‘let’s pay down even more debt,” Rossman said. “I want to say it’s the latter as a consumer advocate,” but he added that history doesn’t give him confidence.

The historical pattern that played out around the Great Recession a decade ago reinforces the theory that it takes a big crisis to bring credit card debt down, and that it won’t last. Credit card balances fell 20% from 2007-2014, but from 2014-2019, balances rose by 41%, according to NY Fed household credit data.

“The point is, the same thing will happen this time, but much more rapidly. It’s one area where consumers don’t want a V-shaped recovery,” Rossman said.

Where bank CEOs think economy, consumer debt is headed

“The pump is primed,” JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said during the Wall Street bank’s recent earnings call. “The consumer, their house value is up, their stocks up, their incomes are up, their savings are up, their confidence up.”

Asked by analysts where loan growth and payment rates are headed, Wells Fargo chief financial officer Mike Santomassimo said activity “has really picked up” but it hasn’t translated into bigger loan volumes given the payment rates. “Payment rates are still really high, and I think they’ll come down and normalize eventually.”

Card issuers make money on card transactions, but loans are the bigger part of the equation. And because interest rates on credit cards are so high relative to other loans, it plays a big role in the key bank metric of net interest margin.

From a consumer perspective, the message is to keep that momentum going. … resist the temptation to put a fancy vacation on a credit card. It’s no fun to pay 16%.

Ted Rossman, Creditcards.com senior analyst

Credit card businesses have net interest margin as high as 10% versus the average bank debt at 3%, though defaults are historically significantly higher than other loans. And unlike other forms of debt, the average rate charged to customer stays at 16% even when underlying rates come down.

“Diversified banks face pressure on mortgages and other interest rate products but you are not going to find a 13% interest rate credit card,” Biggar said.

In fact, in recent years the margin on cards has been “creeping up,” according to Rossman, with a prime rate at 3%. 

At Bank of America, the number of cards outstanding hasn’t changed notably, but there is roughly $20 billion less in balances. “People didn’t get any different,” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told analysts after its earnings. “They just have more cash. And so they paid off their credit cards, which is a completely responsible thing for them to do.”

“When they can get out and spend more money, which is starting to happen, I think you’ll see them use these lines, short-term purchases,” Moynihan told analysts. “Yes, the pay rate’s up, but I don’t think it’s a fundamental difference of behavior. It’s just the opportunity to use the cards for activity has been limited coming into this quarter when you finally saw things open. So we’ll see where it goes, but the good news is it’s going in different direction.”

Card business in a ‘sweet spot’

Banks need the consumer to be strong, and in fact, the silver lining of the debt pay down phenomenon during the pandemic was the stronger credit profile of banks, with the surprisingly low level of card charge-offs and excess reserves on the balance sheet.

“The pandemic played out well for card companies,” Barker said. “The losses they anticipated didn’t materialize and credit performance is a primary driver for these stocks.”

“Card businesses are in a sweet spot,” Biggar added. “Some of these estimates will be moving up dramatically when these guys beat a quarter by $7.71 versus $4.61, like Capital One did. Its almost a $3 beat.”

From a valuation perspective, and given the reserve levels, the card-focused financial stocks are trading at peak price to book value.

“High payment rates are continuing to contribute to strikingly strong credit results,” Richard Fairbank, CEO of Capital One Financial, which similar to rival Discover Financial has a much more concentrated business in cards than the more diversified Wall Street banks, told analysts. “We actually are always happy when our customers are paying at high levels, and it’s indicative of a healthy consumer, and those high payment rates correlate with the really strong credit results that we continue to see.”

For Capital One, domestic card purchase volume for the second quarter was up 48% from the second quarter of 2020, but the card charge-off rate for the quarter was 2.28%, a 225-basis-point improvement year over year.

A behavioral shift and acceleration of card usage

For the banks, the current level of financial responsibility is not necessarily the most profitable. And the banks are betting that the consumer cash cushion won’t last forever, and people will take on more debt to spend.

“That is the most likely next phase of the credit cycle,” Barker said. “We are seeing spending up 20% in some categories. Right now, the default is to go with the historical pattern and the consumer goes back to way it was.”

A bigger behavioral shift in the way people treat debt or how they spend money can’t be ruled out, Barker said, but he added, “They want to spend and travel a certain way and they will do it because that’s the way they operated for a long time.”

The monthly numbers show an easing in payment rates, but Capital One’s Fairbank stopped short of saying it’s a trend.

“It would be a natural thing that payment rates would ease a little bit here and that also credit metrics would move toward normalizing a little bit. I would say we’ve seen the earliest of indications of that still running at really quite a breathtaking level,” Fairbank said. He told analysts that while the timing of the trend remains speculative, the direction is clear: “There’s really only one way for the credit to go from here.”

The cyclical pattern implies that people who have jobs take on more debt, and then might lose a job and have more trouble paying back, and credit loss rates return closer to normal.

“I don’t think it goes back to 2019 consumer loss levels, the consumer is in pretty good shape,” Biggar said. “But at the lower levels there is always churn. Every day it is harder to make ends meet and inflation is a huge topic, from car prices to home prices to food prices and gas prices. Everywhere you look it’s problematic for lower income levels. The default rates moves back up.”

One major pandemic change is likely to be permanent, and is going to serve as a tailwind for the card business. Card spending accelerated during the pandemic relative to cash and checks, and though that was a secular trend already in place, like many pandemic shifts linked to technology and digital, it accelerated. That was beneficial for many companies in the payments space, from PayPal and Square to Visa and Mastercard and the card issuers.

“Aside from the cyclical aspect of credit losses, we’re just seeing enormous opportunity in cards. Lots of teenagers never carry cash any more,” Biggar said.

Risks to aggressive card companies and to the consumer

Card marketing and competition is getting more aggressive, and CEOs like Capital One’s Fairbank are preparing for it.

“We see competition heating up all around us, especially in rewards. … you see it in the marketing and the media activity. We see it in direct mail numbers. We see it in the rewards offerings and the heating up of some of that. The competition is intense right now …. but it’s not yet irrational,” Fairbank said.

Analysts say there is a big opportunity in the card space and the big banks, while having made major gains in trading and investment banking and other businesses in the past year — while being more cautious on cards given expectations of defaults — now see the growth and the higher net interest margin from cards at a time when the charge off rates are historically low, and are unlikely to double or triple in a good economy, which translates into an opportunity.

“The big banks may not be as aggressive as card companies like Capitol One or Discover, but JP Morgan won’t fall asleep at the switch with its credit card business either. Wells Fargo is coming out with more offers. It’s a big pie and I think there is lots of room for growth,” Biggar said.

“We’re clearly seeing more competition, being aggressive going after accounts right now, because if you are a card lender you are looking at a consumer who has a high savings rates, income is higher and is a better credit counterparty more likely to pay you back,” Barker said. “And they are being more aggressive because the industry is awash in capital looking for a way to be spent and for the best way to grow. “

With the bets being placed by both card companies and consumers at a time when a lot of the data is atypical and after an unprecedented year, there are risks on both sides.

How the consumer spending normalizes in the years ahead is an unknown, as is the strength of the economy and direction in rates, which can trip up both the banking sector and consumers.

If rates rise too quickly the consumer could quickly be back in a tough spot, but banks have a vested interest in making sure consumers are doing well because they need those loans to be paid back.

“The longer this persists, the more competition will likely be to extrapolate these trends to inform their decision making,” Fairbank told analysts. “And this can embolden them to make more aggressive offers, market more intensely and a particular one I worry about, loosening underwriting standards. And in this particular environment, the benign rearview mirror could encourage lenders to reach for growth. And it could be exacerbated by credit modeling that relies on consumer credit data that, frankly, may be very unique to the downturn and not as good for predicting where credit performance is going to be over time.”

That’s a potential problem for banks, and their shareholders, but also for the consumer.

The real sweet spot, and the most profitable for the card issuers, is if consumers carry debt month-to-month as they pay the banks back. All the outstanding balances are not good for the banks if they have to write them off, or if consumers continue to pay balances in full every month, but if consumers are making minimum payments it provides banks the interest month after month that is the most profitable way for them to get paid back.

“The longer you take, the more money they make. If people are spending freely and running up debt, even if it’s not the wisest thing for consumers, it’s probably the most likely,” Rossman said. “From a consumer perspective, the message is to keep that momentum going. If you paid down debt from $6,200 to $5,300, bring it lower still; resist the temptation to put a fancy vacation on a credit card. It’s no fun to pay 16%.”

It’s a hard message to make stick. “I would like to see the newfound frugality last, but we’ve seen this in the past,” Rossman said.

Louisiana school makes use of pandemic cash to pay scholar debt

A junior college in Louisiana is using federal COVID-19 aid money to clear student debt for everyone who attended last year. Chancellor Rodney Ellis says Southern University in Shreveport’s offering should help students who got into financial trouble during the pandemic get back to school without worrying about debt. Ellis says the school is also offering $ 1,000 grants to all students who enroll by Aug. 6. The university estimates it will cost $ 3.5 million to pay off all student debts from spring 2020 to spring 2021.

A junior college in Louisiana is using federal COVID-19 aid money to clear student debt for everyone who attended last year.

Chancellor Rodney Ellis says Southern University in Shreveport’s offering should help students who got into financial trouble during the pandemic get back to school without worrying about debt.

Ellis says the school is also offering $ 1,000 grants to all students who enroll by Aug. 6.

The university estimates it will cost $ 3.5 million to pay off all student debts from spring 2020 to spring 2021.

Greenville mother and father donate unused lunch cash for college kids’ meal debt

When Stephanie Hollis logged into her Greenville County Schools account, she noticed that her graduate senior still had about $ 35 in unused lunch money.

She saw a button that she could use to transfer the money to a sibling’s account, but since none of her other children were having lunch at school, she had another idea – why not donate?

“If they have a negative lunch balance, they get different lunches. And that’s just what a child shouldn’t have to worry about,” said Hollis. “So if we could give someone the $ 35.50 to make them a little less anxious and [have] a little less negative from an experience? That’s easy.”

Last year, all public students across the country received free breakfast and lunch at school a US Department of Agriculture scholarship. This scholarship has been extended to both the summer and the 2020-21 school year.

However, the debt for the earlier school luncheon persists – it follows the students through graduation. Families at Greenville County Schools owe $ 362,434 in school meals.

In previous years, students with negative food records received meals at school, but they were not hot meals. Since the introduction of the USDA grant, all students have received hot meals regardless of lunch debt.

Seniors with graduation debt could be prevented from attending their opening ceremonies, though Teri Brinkman, spokeswoman for Greenville County Schools, said it was rare. Community members who donate money to school food debts go primarily to senior graduates to prevent this from happening. Sometimes schools have scraps of money that they use to cancel a student’s debt.

When Hollis discovered she could donate her remaining balance towards a student’s debt, she posted it on social media on May 21.

Greenville County Schools donated about $ 800 for the lunch debt this year, and almost all of it came in in the days following Hollis’ social media post.

“Together we could all make a difference,” said Hollis. “Hopefully it gets bigger – I would really love it if you did this every year.”

She asked the district to consider adding a donation button next to the one that parents can use to send money to siblings. She knows some parents may have more credit left and need the money, but she hopes that even small credits donated could add up.

Joe Urban, director of food and nutrition services at Greenville County Schools, said adding the button was a decision that district administration must make after making sure it does not cause problems or legal ramifications.

School feeding programs are different from other departments in a district – schools often lose money on catering services. According to federal law, a school district’s food service program must be self-sufficient without relying on a district’s general fund. However, Urban said this is not always the case with many schools.

“Greenville, our program, doesn’t take money from our district. In fact, we’re giving them a ton of money back to cover all of these costs,” said Urban. “But that’s not the norm in school feeding programs.”

In a typical year, more than 60% of the Greenville County Schools food service budget comes from federal funds. The remainder is raised through the program, either through meals bought by students and teachers, or through other fundraising drives.

Even in years when the USDA National Scholarship has not been active, students whose families are below a certain income level are entitled to a free or discounted lunch. Greenville County Schools have 21 schools where meals are free for all students as they qualify for a free or discounted lunch to qualify the school for school USDA Community Eligibility Commission.

Urban hopes the USDA statewide scholarship will continue so that all students can have free meals.

Ariel Gilreath is a watchdog reporter who focuses on educational and family issues with The Greenville News and Independent Mail. Contact her at agilreath@gannett.com and on Twitter @ArielGilreath.

Use federal cash to pay down Chicago’s huge debt — not on shiny new applications | Letters

Chicago should use all of its $ 1.9 billion in government pandemic aid to help reduce the city’s debt. That’s what the Federal Aid Act, the American Rescue Plan, is supposed to do – to cover lost revenue.

In a Sun Times message on April 14th report, Ald. Michele Smith, 43, appears to be complaining when she says the $ 1.9 billion in federal aid “barely covers” the $ 1.7 billion in city revenue lost in the pandemic. In reality, however, the city should only have received $ 1.7 billion.

Sorry, but the federal government also has problems. It cannot afford to fund the Chicago Universal Basic Income Program. And there the city is more than $ 36 billion The city of Chicago cannot go into debt either. The money should be used to pay off past debts and debts related to the pandemic. It shouldn’t be used for shiny new programs.

We cannot ignore the mountain of debt that is crushing the city.

Courtney Houtz, West Loop

When people defy the police

Don’t use it as an excuse for a terrible mistake, but do the Sun-Times editors blame a person who opposes or fights the police, given the inherently chaotic and dangerous situation that this creates? Police compliance reduces your chance of getting injured or worse by about 99.9%. I know it is a heresy these days to say that a person who is arrested should not fight. This is why most cops just answer calls and try not to do anything else. Good luck with the summer here, with your constant encouragement to the criminals.

Manny Irizarry, Norwood Park

Biden, infrastructure and climate change

President Joe Biden’s proposal to improve our country’s infrastructure, the American Jobs Plan, focuses heavily on combating climate change. The aim is to make our infrastructure more resilient to the effects of climate change, and it includes initiatives to reduce the emissions that cause climate change.

Biden’s plan would provide funding not only for roads, bridges, and transportation systems, but also sustainable homes and buildings, electric vehicles, and research and development for clean energy technology.

A report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on managing climate risk for 2020 confirms Biden’s climate goals. This document describes the threat that climate change poses to American energy, water, transportation, and communications infrastructure. For example, it is claimed that extreme rainfall, sea level rise floods, extreme heat and forest fires “challenge almost every element of transportation systems, from bridges and airports to pipelines and ports”.

The report concludes that “it is important that the United States set a price for carbon … without such a price … instead of accelerating the transition to a grid, capital will continue to flow in the wrong direction -Zero emissions economy. ”

It is for this reason that I am encouraged that the Energy Innovation and Coal Dividends Act was introduced in the US House. This bill charges an ever increasing fee for carbon emissions and returns the money to the American people.

Let us urge our members of Congress to take action to address this critical national security threat.

Terry Hansen, Hales Corners, Wisconsin

U.S. Cash Markets Brace for Complications as Debt Restrict Attracts Close to

(Bloomberg) – US dollar denominated finance markets are already facing a myriad of challenges that are distorting supply and demand, and those effects will only intensify as the US government’s legal credit limit returns.

Short-term dollar borrowing rates were cut to zero and below, weighed down by purchases of Federal Reserve assets, drawing on the US Treasury’s huge stash of cash, and a shift from bank deposits to money market funds. The reintroduction of the debt ceiling, suspended in 2019, in late July threatens to exacerbate that dynamic as its return also affects how much cash the Treasury Department can legally hold.

The reinstatement will force the Treasury Department to reduce its cash balance to levels close to the previous suspension, or about $ 120 billion to $ 130 billion from the current $ 924 billion. That would bring more cash to the market and at the same time pull the bill payment offer out of the market.

While JPMorgan Securities strategists Teresa Ho, Alex Roever and Ryan Lessing estimate that the gap between supply and demand is currently around $ 585 billion, there is room for that to widen.

“Too much money”

Either way, there is too much money to buy a home for and not enough products to invest in, and that’s what makes it all tight, “said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior US interest rate strategist at TD Securities. The debt ceiling “will only add to the Treasury headache.”

The longer these idiosyncrasies persist, the more the Federal Reserve will be forced to step in to maintain control over the short end – especially over its central political goal, the federal effective interest rate. The Fed appears to be already taking steps by changing the mechanics of its reverse repurchase agreement facility overnight.

Last month, the Fed instructed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to raise the counterparty limit on the overnight repo facility (O / N RRP) from $ 30 billion to $ 80 billion. This could help prevent short-term interest rates from sliding any lower. The move was well received, and adoption quickly rose to its highest level in almost a year.

The story goes on

Lorie Logan, executive vice president of the New York Fed, said in a speech on April 8 that the bank could adjust the licensing requirements for its day-to-day operations to allow wider involvement of the fund community.

Adjustments ahead?

Policy makers still have the option to tweak the Fed’s rates on the excess reserve interest rate, the offered level of the O / N EIA, or both. In the minutes of the March Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Chairman Jerome Powell pointed out the potential for downward pressure on money market rates and suggested that it might be “appropriate” to make adjustments at upcoming meetings or even between meetings to ensure that the Fed Funds rate remains “well within target range.”

The latest FOMC minutes suggest that the Fed recognizes that the overnight repo rate is a “more important operational parameter than the IOER is at present,” Wrightson’s ICAP economist Lou Crandall wrote in a note to clients. Wrightson believes that any initial adjustment to the O / N MSRP – and possibly the IOER – would be 2 basis points, while the second choice is a 3 basis point optimization.

The fact that the FOMC “lays the groundwork for a possible adjustment so explicitly” reinforces the belief that the Fed will react faster than in the past to the technical downward pressure on overnight rates, Crandall wrote.

JPMorgan strategists, who said in February that the Fed would not have to make adjustments to their instruments by mid-year, now say policymakers could optimize earlier. You are not alone with such thoughts.

“It is certainly on the Fed’s radar that the pressure is mounting,” said Goldberg of TD. “You want to make sure that the levy at the lower end of the target range is strong enough to stem this cash flow.”

(Updates, including the recent inclusion of the Fed’s streamlined operations in the seventh paragraph.)

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