17 Dec

The changing perception of banking marijuana related businesses

first_imgWhen the federal government issued policy guidance in 2014 as to how financial institutions (FIs) could permissibly service marijuana-related businesses (MRBs), industry reaction was swift and decisive – most FIs wanted nothing to do with the reputational risks associated with marijuana.  Fast-forward three years and we are beginning to see a noticeable change in the perception of banking MRBs.   With the ever growing acceptance of legalized marijuana, MRBs are increasingly viewed by FIs as opportunities to be pursued, not risks to be avoided.  Moreover, federal and state officials see FIs as the key to getting marijuana proceeds off the streets and into the financial system where they can be tracked and taxed.  In short, the image of marijuana banking is changing.  Let us begin by separating reputational risk into two categories:  Reputational risk caused by the action (or inactions) of FI’s themselves, and the reputational risk associated with servicing clients considered to be controversial, such as MRB’s.  Reputational risk is commonly defined as the following:  “The potential that negative publicity regarding an institution’s business practices, whether true or not, will cause a decline in the customer base, costly litigation or revenue reductions.”  Certain byproducts of an institution’s direct actions or inactions can be defined.  This can be demonstrated by the $185 million dollars levied against a large institution last year for fraudulently opening accounts without their customer’s consent.  Another example would be civil money penalties for an institution’s failure to comply with various regulations.  Other examples would be negative publicity from data security breaches in an FI’s computer system, formal enforcement actions, and accounting irregularities.  Matters such as these are typically public information, with media exposure at various levels.  The airlines have been in the news recently for demonstrating less than exemplary customer service.  Despite large-scale press and social media calls for boycotts, I have yet to see the public threatening to locate and boycott the financial institutions servicing those airlines.  Or consider individuals that have conducted violent crimes, or crimes against children.  Are financial institutions obtaining lists to screen their clients so as not to be providing services to those individuals due to potential reputational risks?  If you like or dislike a particular political party, does where they bank influence your personal banking decisions?Let us now discuss banking MRB’s.  I recently conducted a Google search of the six known FIs servicing MRB’s in the state of Washington for any negative stories based on their association with marijuana.  The research results primarily consisted of articles containing profitable earnings and various employee promotions; there was not a single negative story about serving MRBs.Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana in some form.  Recent surveys have indicated that 80% of Americans think marijuana should be legal for medical use, and 49% approve of its use for recreational purposes.  It is not only public opinion that has been changing but that of financial institutions as well.  While the reputation of the financial services industry continues to suffer from the financial crisis, the fact is that most credit unions take seriously their role in their communities.  And what they understand is the potential harm that could befall those communities if the marijuana industry remains unbanked.  Many financial institutions believe it is their civic duty to bring this money in-house where it can be accounted for, monitored, and taxed, and not left on the streets wreaking havoc on communities.Bringing financial services to MRB’s brings a number of desirable benefits, such as strict scrutiny and compliance to federal policy and state laws, BSA / AML oversight, and the ability to fully collect taxes on MRB’s.  Credit unions that are responsible banking MRB’s are removing cash from the streets and bringing legitimacy and transparency to an industry previously relegated to the financial shadows.   Perhaps the time has come to recognize that it is the FI’s serving MRB’s that are providing a valuable community service, as opposed to those that do not.If you have any questions, please email Hypur executives directly aherrera@hypur.com and jvardaman@hypur.com. 70SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Andre Herrera Andre’s broad experience in payment system and banking technology management spans over 22 years and includes the management of complex, large-scale conversions, migrations and new product implementations. He also … Web: hypur.com Detailslast_img read more

8 Dec

Noah Farrelly Run held virtually

first_imgPutrino said the last minute change in the run perfectly embodied Noah’s memory. “From when we’d run together it was kind of like, ‘I just finished dinner and I’m full of pasta, but lets go get a run in,'” Putrino said. “Running wherever or whenever was what Noah did.” Runners ran whenever and wherever they could to honor Noah’s memory. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – The 2020 Noah Farrelly Run was held virtually on Sunday. Noah’s longtime friend Vincent Putrino said the event was different this year, not just because of the coronavirus moving it virtual, but because the field day element was cancelled. Noah’s mother, Bridgette Farrelly, said even being held online rather than in person, the run was once again a big success. center_img Despite the new challenge of a virtual run, around 400 participants lcad up their shoes and hit the trails. “You can add a twist on it if you want to go a little longer, run a couple of other streets. That is what we are going to do today. Go run a loop at the course and go run a little more,” said Putrino. “We have people here in town, people that came to run the course and people all across the state,” said Farrelly. “I was down here with some pom poms and some cow bells. We really made it fun.” “It’s such a challenging time that I really did not expect this type of turnout,” said Farrelly. “I am so grateful, I am so honored we really live in such a fantastic town.”last_img read more

20 Oct

More must be done about Mohawk River ice jams

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWhat can be done to alleviate the almost yearly ice jam along the Mohawk River? Generations of my family have lived on Schonowee Avenue in Scotia. In my 87 years, 70 of those years have seen ice jams and dangerous flooding from Jumpin’ Jacks through the Stockade in Schenectady, past the Waters Edge Lighthouse and the marina in Alplaus and past the Rexford Bridge where the jam begins in the wide part of the river before Lock 7. I read news reports about Coast Guard cutters and excavation activities along the Connecticut River and Penns Creek, and I wonder if our local authorities have considered these or other alternatives to watching the flooding occur and strengthening evacuation procedures. It would be helpful to those of us with homes or businesses along these banks to understand what is going to be done, if anything.Ken FetterScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

6 Oct

Great potential drives up price in bidding battle

first_imgThe home at 44 Manchester St, Eight Mile Plains.A shocker of a property has sold under the hammer in Eight Mile Plains, smashing the reserve by $50,000. Marketing agent Karl Gillespie of LJ Hooker Sunnybank Hills said 44 Manchester St sold for $420,500 to a buyer who had not even walked through the property. The three-bedroom, two-storey home, which was in need of a complete renovation, attracted 10 registered bidders and about 40 onlookers. “I was expecting four registered bidders … but another five people I’d never seen before showed up on the day,” Mr Gillespie said. The auction kicked off with an opening bid of $350,000. More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020“We had over 30 bids and some really heated bidding. A lot of people bid up to $400,000 but stopped as soon as it got over $400,000,” Mr Gillespie said. “It came down to a couple of Asian investors. “The woman who successfully bought it had never seen the property. She didn’t even look through the property before the auction but she does own two other homes in Eight Mile Plains and likes the area.” Mr Gillespie said the location and affordability of the home enticed buyers. “The property attracted a lot of bargain hunters because they could see the potential. A lot of builders and renovators wanted to buy and flip it,” he said. “Also the location has to be one of the most convenient in Eight Mile Plains. “Everything is within a few hundred metres, including shops and highways.”last_img read more

29 Sep

Joseph Mariathasan: China’s evolving ESG standards

first_imgCredit: Peggy and Marco Lachmann-AnkeAir pollution in Shanghai, ChinaThe major changes started in 2016 when China signed the Paris Accord. The 18th National Party Congress also made the “establishment of an ecological society” a strategic development goal, and laws were passed regarding energy conservation, water management and environmental protection.By 2020, all public companies in China will be subject to a “disclose or explain” requirement for environmentally related information and a carbon market is expected to launch in the same year.One point that Li emphasised was that decision making in China was driven from the top – for better or worse.Companies are given very little time to prepare for what could be drastic changes to their regulatory environment. As environment-related policies are introduced and anti-pollution initiatives are implemented by the central government, companies with pre-emptive practices and corporate strategies tend to be better prepared for transitional risks. There is certainly far to go as currently 86% of A-shares companies rated by MSCI fall below BBB, the mid-point for MSCI’s ESG ratings.Improving standardsThere are a number of challenges that investors face when it comes to improving ESG scores. The scope and quality of ESG-related information disclosure among Chinese-listed companies is sub-par. However, it appears that regulators are in the process of providing a standard framework for company disclosures.Company awareness of sustainability issues is also low, but getting better. Many public companies, Li said, have indicated an interest to learn more and improve on their corporate sustainability. China and the concept of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) conscious investing seem at first to have nothing in common.Air pollution in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai has been in the headlines for decades, while social and corporate governance issues are not what investors would assume Chinese companies would prioritise.However, interest and developments in ESG themes in China has, over the past few years, experienced a step change in importance. Robert Li, who heads the ESG team at China Asset Management Company (China AMC), one of the leading managers in China, gave a fascinating description of the developments at IPE’s annual conference in Dublin last week.What has driven interest in ESG in China, he argued, has been rising living standards. As Chinese GDP per capita approaches $10,000 (€8,823), environmental protection has become a critical way of improving quality of life, as income levels in top-tier Chinese cities approach those of their developed market peers. Beijing’s smog has been obvious to all for many years, but there have been significant improvements in air quality and water stress metrics in recent years due to social and government attention. center_img Source: Patrick FrostRobert Li of China Asset Management addresses last week’s conference, with Joseph Mariathasan, IPE, and Yan Hu, member of Vermilion Partners’ advisory boardA major problem that China AMC has found with external ESG ratings in China is that the quality of the information used in ratings can be poor. ESG rating agencies are regularly working with outdated information, while senior management often never receive emails as contact information is outdated. Getting accurate data for Chinese companies will require in-depth research beyond superficial scorecards.Li also argues that, due to a variety of historical and cultural reasons, the concept of a ‘stewardship code’ has yet to proliferate in China.Environmental issuesOn the positive side, the top-down drive to improve quality of life in China is driving companies to take environmental issues more seriously.Li said ESG improvements would likely come from two areas: enhancing information disclosure, which can quickly help companies improve ESG scores (the low-hanging fruit); and fund managers such as China AMC engaging with companies on ESG issues. This includes corporate governance, which he said would help to establish sustainable corporate strategies and practices that enhance profitability and support valuations.As China’s equity markets become a more important part of international portfolios, it is incumbent on investors to work alongside domestic Chinese fund managers such as China AMC to actively engage with companies to improve sustainable business practices. The fact that so much progress has been made bodes well for the future – even if there is still a long journey ahead.last_img read more

27 Sep

NZ cannabis campaign on a knife edge

first_img7 News 31 July 2020Family First Comment: Are they getting desperate?“Many [on the Yes campaign] want the country’s most popular politician, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, to join the push to get the measure over the line.”NZ Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell says “every vote is going to count”. “It’s tracking very tight. That’s what keeps me awake at night,”(PS: We’re sleeping like babies )Fifty days out from a national referendum, cannabis legalisation campaigners in New Zealand are fearful a lack of public advocates could cost them a chance at carefully crafted law reform.And many want the country’s most popular politician, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, to join the push to get the measure over the line.Kiwis will decide whether to legalise personal marijuana use as one of two public votes – the other being euthanasia – alongside the election on September 19.Opinion polls for the “reeferendum” show a tight contest.Proponents have spruiked online polls showing the ‘Yes’ vote ahead, though the last six polls taken by broadcaster-backed public pollsters have ‘No’ in front.NZ Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell says “every vote is going to count”.“It’s tracking very tight. That’s what keeps me awake at night,” he tells AAP.The ‘No’ campaign – badged ‘Say Nope to Dope’ – is resolute in opposition, arguing the dangers of more widespread use through legalisation.READ MORE: https://7news.com.au/news/crime/nz-cannabis-campaign-on-a-knife-edge-c-1207476last_img read more

26 Sep

Dialysis patients to double in 9 years

first_img 106 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Share HealthLifestyle Dialysis patients to double in 9 years by: – March 23, 2011 Sharecenter_img Share Tweet BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Given the current trend, the number of patients on dialysis in Barbados could double, reaching 400 by the year 2020, costing the government millions of dollars.This projection, based on statistics from a World Bank Study, was shared by Health Minister Donville Inniss at the annual Silma Reeves Lecture of the Barbados Kidney Association.“It is the intention of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) to restart and maintain the momentum with its transplantation programme. This is expected to save considerable sums of money in the medium to long-term, as we get such patients off dialysis and leading a more productive life,” he said, adding that when preparatory and surgical costs are added to anti-rejection drug costs, we realize that transplantation is the way to go.“It costs approximately BDS$54,000 (US$27,000) annually to provide dialysis for one person on haemodialysis in the QEH, and we are currently paying BDS$1.2 million (US$600,000) per year for those whose service is currently outsourced. It is costing the state approximately BDS$10 million (US$5 million) per year for dialysis services in Barbados. In other words, seven per cent of the QEH budget is being spent on less than 200 patients.”The Health Minister said he had requested that the QEH and the Ministry of Health work with a “sense of determination” to address the issue of organ donation, as it related to brain stem death and ‘do not resuscitate’ policies.“There are some major ethical, and perhaps religious issues, that will rage in this debate but I urge all not to be faint hearted, but to engage in a robust debate and let us come to reasonable decisions. We would not be the first or last country to pursue such a programme,” he said.The QEH is also in the process of replacing 18 dialysis machines in three tranches, at a cost of approximately BDS$1.9 million (US$950,000) per year over the next five years.The Minister disclosed that the QEH was currently managing 168 patients on dialysis, with half being treated three times per week and the other half, twice weekly. Thirteen patients are on peritoneal dialysis and 21 patients attended a private facility.Source: Caribbean 360 Newslast_img read more

26 Sep

PAHO urges renewed efforts to promote breastfeeding

first_imgHealthLifestyle PAHO urges renewed efforts to promote breastfeeding by: – August 6, 2014 Share Share 46 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring!center_img Tweet Share Photo credit: sites.hampshire.eduWashington, D.C., (PAHO/WHO) — In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 1–7 August 2014, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is urging increased support for breastfeeding so that children are given the best start in life. Breastfeeding is one of the most cost-effective ways to support healthier and smarter children and healthier mothers. “Breastfeeding: Scoring the Winning Goal for Life!” is the theme chosen this year by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to highlight the importance of ensuring that mothers and children are able to benefit from the many advantages of breastfeeding.Among other things, exclusive and continued breastfeeding helps to:· Improve maternal health, since breastfeeding reduces a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes.· Reduce the risk of a child becoming ill or dying, particularly in the first month and year of life. A child’s risk of becoming overweight is also reduced.· Boost a child’s brain development since breastfeeding is associated with an increase in 2 to 5 points in scores that measure cognitive development.· Reduce costs. In the United States alone, if 90% of mothers exclusively breastfed for 6 months, US$ 13 billion a year would be saved through prevention of respiratory, ear and skin infections, and diarrhea as well as more than 900 deaths. Among mothers, another US$ 17.4 billion a year would be saved through prevention of premature death and increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers among other illness.“Breastfeeding protects babies from illness and death, regardless of whether they are born in a developed or impoverished country, in a rich family or a poor one,” according to PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. In addition, she notes that “it has long-term benefits for both mothers and children.”PAHO/WHO recommends that babies receive breast-milk only for the first 6 months of life, and then continue to be breastfed along with complementary foods for 2 years or more. However, in the Americas, this goal is rarely met. Although the majority of newborns begin breastfeeding at birth, the number that is breastfed as recommended is highly variable within and among countries. For example, in one country only 8% of babies under 6 months are exclusively breastfed while in another country 60% are breastfed in this way. The average length of time a child is breastfeed is equally variable, from a low of 6 months on one country to a high of 22 months in another. These disparities reflect large differences in national legislation policies and programs to promote breastfeeding that have been implemented over the past 25 years and that are associated with large increases in breastfeeding practices. Breastfeeding in the 21st Century: Anytime, AnyplaceOne of the factors that hinders women from breastfeeding for 2 years or more is the influence of social behaviors that discourage breastfeeding in public.“Many women feel embarrassed to breastfeed in public,” says PAHO/WHO senior advisor in nutrition, Chessa Lutter, who adds that “we must support mothers so that they feel comfortable breastfeeding their baby and doing so anytime, anyplace.”“Breastfeeding in the 21st Century: Anytime, Anyplace” is the message PAHO/WHO is spreading during World Breastfeeding Week in order to generate awareness of the importance for a woman to be able to breastfeed whenever the child is hungry or needs comfort, regardless of the time and place.As noted by the Director of PAHO/WHO, “we must redouble efforts to ensure that breastfeeding is once again recognized and valued as the ideal, healthy, natural, and nutritious way to feed a young child.”PAHO works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of the people in the Region. It was founded in 1902 and is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It acts as the WHO Regional Office for the Americas and is also the specialized health agency of the inter-American system.last_img read more

24 Sep

Breanna Stewart

first_imgYou may not be familiar with the name Breanna Stewart.  She plays basketball for the University of Connecticut.  The Cicero North Syracuse High Schooler is a 6’4″ player for U Conn.  Her goal is to win 4 national championships while attending U Conn.  She is well on her way because she already has 2 under her belt.In last years championship game, she scored 21 points in the win against Notre Dame and was named the MVP of the tournament.  She is a very versatile player for the Huskies.  She can play any position from point guard to center.  Her 7’1″ wing span means she can block shots with relative ease.  She also can use either hand very efficiently.Currently, U Conn is ranked #2, but if you are inclined to bet on sports activities I would say that placing a small wager on U Conn to win again this year is a pretty good bet with Stewart leading the way.last_img read more

21 Sep

Saints duo earn Pochettino plaudits

first_img Southampton also picked up a fifth clean sheet of the season, with goalkeeper Boruc pulling off a string of fine saves to keep the visitors at bay. “He was incredible,” Southampton boss Pochettino said of the Poland international. “He did ever so well, but it just shows we have full trust in his performances and his skill, and also in our other keepers. “We were able to keep another clean sheet, which was a massive positive for us, but Boruc has our full trust to be our number-one keeper. “I don’t know what happened in the past, but in the eight months I’ve been here he’s been excellent for us. “There’s great competition between the three main goalkeepers and behind in the youth teams, so we’re very happy with the great atmosphere between them.” While Boruc was Southampton’s best defensive player, goalscorer Lallana shone going forward. After taking a while to adapt to life in the top flight, the 25-year-old has impressed for Saints this term, leading to suggestions he could follow Rickie Lambert into the England set-up. “I’m very happy for Adam,” Pochettino said of Lallana, who was called up for England’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine in September 2012 but did not play. Press Association Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Artur Boruc and Adam Lallana after they starred in Southampton’s hard-fought Barclays Premier League victory over Swansea. “He’s a great bloke and a great professional and he’s very passionate about this club, about Southampton, so I’m happy for him. “I’m very happy that he scored and for everything he represents – all the good values at this club. “It’s not my decision in the end, but if he keeps performing as he did today he’ll be actually very close to getting that call up to the national side. “I don’t like to talk about what I’ve done in his game. It’s an overall group of people who are helping to make this club better. “I want to thank him for his kind words, but there’s a structure at this club to help everyone improve and that goes from the chairman to the cleaning lady. “The one person who deserves all the praise for his improvement is the player himself. His performance has been amazing over the last few games.” Swansea counterpart Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, was left ruing missed opportunities after seeing his side fail to follow up Thursday’s Europa League win against St Gallen with another positive result. Michu and Wilfried Bony were denied by fine Boruc saves, while Saints academy graduate Nathan Dyer hit the inside of the post before half-time. “I don’t know if frustration’s the right word, but I think there are always positives and negatives in every game,” the Swans boss said. “Before we started this season, we said it would be difficult for the team and we’ve seen a lot of cases around Europe of teams who have to play on Sundays. “I can only say we are doing well, and are playing well in all the games after midweeks. “Today was the seventh game in 20 games. I thought it could be some players tired. You play every three days, but I really didn’t see that. “It’s true Southampton were the best team in the first 10 minutes, but since the goal I think we dominated the whole game. “The second half we dominated form the first to last minute, but maybe not creating the same number of chances.” Saints emerged 2-0 winners from a pulsating, end-to-end encounter at St Mary’s, despite spending most of the match on the back foot. The Swans dominated the majority of play but fell to strikes from captain Lallana and substitute Jay Rodriguez as Saints secured a third successive league triumph. last_img read more