Credit card default rates soar as bankruptcy filings pour in

first_imgBy Madlen Read THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK – With more Americans filing for bankruptcy again after last year’s hiatus, credit card default rates are spiking. Although the percentage of payments being written off as uncollectible isn’t as high as it was a couple of years ago, the conditions are ripe for it to catch up. Bankruptcy filings keep pouring in, home prices keep falling and energy prices remain high. According to data from Moody’s Investors Service, credit card companies wrote off 4.58 percent of payments between January and May, up nearly 30 percent from the same period in 2006. “In 2007, we expected an increase, as bankruptcy filings returned to more normal levels,” said Jay Eisbruck, managing director in Moody’s Investors Service Asset-Backed Finance Group. He called this year’s resurgence in bankruptcy filings the primary reason credit card default rates have soared. In mid-2005, when home prices were still rising, the default rate was at around 6percent, and in 2004, it was even higher. What ended up bringing the default rate down to about 3percent in late 2005 and early 2006 were changes in U.S. law that made it more expensive and more difficult for individuals to file and qualify for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy filings surged in late 2005 before the law took hold, then dropped off. Now, bankruptcy filings are flooding back in. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the nation’s bankruptcy filings jumped 66percent in the first quarter. That’s causing default rates to soar, because getting bankruptcy protection usually means you’re released of your credit card obligations. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

MTN to up African music offering

first_img“With Africa’s mobile penetration now at approximately 50% of the 1-billion population, MTN sees a huge opportunity in music content being delivered on people’s mobile handsets via our www.mtnplay.com digital content portal.” Christian de Faria, MTN’s senior vice president for innovation, says there is a growing demand for digital content in Africa: “More and more people in Africa and in the developed world are going online for entertainment content,” he said in a statement earlier this month. “We are delighted to work with MTN Play to deliver this content to the rest of Africa.” CCA has a substantial catalogue of African musical content by artists in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya – among others. It also has rights to exclusive video content featuring a host of popular African artists, including Hugh Masekela, Fela Kuti and Busi Mhlongo. 23 June 2011 “Connect Africa is passionate about music from our continent,” said CCA managing director Antos Stella. “We have always strived to be ahead of the pack when it comes to representing African music, offering our artists and labels a bouquet of services from content to marketing, sponsorship and digital management. Vast catalogue of African music He explained that the African consumer, with an estimated spending power of US$1.4-trillion by 2020, has become highly aspirational with a taste for world-class goods and services over the last few years. Pan-African mobile operator MTN has teamed up with Content Connect Africa (CCA), an aggregator and provider of on and off-portal content, to offer a wider variety of African music to its customers across the continent. CCA’s vast catalogue includes recording labels such as AS Entertainment, Godfather (specialising in Nigerian content), Al Records (East and West Africa content) and Soulistic Music, which features top DJs like Black Coffee. Growing demand for digital content Through its deal with CCA, MTN will offer a wide selection of music content, which will be available either as full tracks or caller tunes. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Can We DO That?! FMLA Q & A

first_imgAlso known as the Friday and Monday Leave Act, these are just a few names affectionately (not) given to the acronym for the Family and Medical Leave Act. Know some others? Click here to share and I’ll publish them in next month’s newsletter.  So why does the FMLA continue to be so challenging for covered employers? To begin with, just consider the definition of a covered employer. It’s not just simply an employer with 50 or more employees, nor an employer with 50 or more employees for 20 or more weeks.  A covered employer is one that has employed “50 or more employees for each working day during 20 or more calendar work weeks in the current or the preceding calendar year.”  So if an employer met that definition through May 2013 but then had a reduction in force and has employed less than 50 employees since then, that employer would still be an FMLA covered employer through December 31, 2014. On the flip side, when an employer hires its 50th employee it will have at least 20 work weeks to come into compliance with the FMLA, if not more, depending upon when in the calendar year that 50th employee was hired.In the last month I’ve received a number of FMLA-related questions. Since one person asked, I suspect these may resonate for others.Q: Does an employee who is on FMLA for the birth of his or her child have the right to take leave intermittently or is this at the discretion of the employer?A: If the leave is not medically required, such as to care for a child newly born with a disability or adverse medical condition then the employer may require the employee to take the leave all at once.  Section 825.120(b) of the regulations reads in part, “An eligible employee may use intermittent or reduced scheduled leave after the birth to be with a healthy newborn child only if the employer agrees.”Q: If an employee’s FMLA leave starts before the employee is eligible but continues after the employee becomes eligible what portion of the leave, if any, is FMLA covered?A: It may depend upon whether the employee is ineligible when the leave began because of the length of service requirement (total of 12 months) or hours worked requirement (1,250). Section 825.110(b)(3) provides, ” If an employee is maintained on the payroll for any part of the week including any periods of paid or unpaid leave (sick, vacation) during which other benefits or compensation are provided by the employer (e.g., workers’ compensation, group health plan benefits, etc.) the week counts as a week of employment. Section 825.110(d) of the regulations provides, “An employee may be on ‘non-FMLA leave’ at the time he or she meets the eligibility requirements, and in that event, any portion of the leave taken for an FMLA qualifying reason after the employee meets the eligibility requirement would be ‘FMLA leave.’ ”Q: If an employee is taking intermittent FMLA leave that is disruptive to business operations can I temporarily transfer the employee to another position?  If so, do I have to pay the employee the same rate of pay if the temporary position pays less? A: Yes, you may temporarily transfer the employee to another position.  You must also continue to pay the employee his or her regular rate of pay. Q: What if an employee also needs light duty in addition to intermittent or reduced schedule leave, must an employer provide light duty? A: We often see issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which covers employers with 15 or more employees overlap and run concurrent with FMLA issues.  The answer to this question would be “Yes” under the ADA so long as the light duty position was a “reasonable” accommodation. The FMLA regulations provide no express, affirmative obligation on the part of the employer to create or provide a light duty role.  If one is available, however and your employee works the light duty job the time spent working in the light duty job is not counted as part of the employee’s FMLA leave, even thought the employee is technically absent from or not performing his or her regular job.Some other issues addressed by the courts in recent months have included:Can an employer require an employee to submit to a fitness for duty exam before returning to work from FMLA leave? (the answer might surprise you)If an employee is otherwise eligible but does not want an absence to be counted as FMLA covered leave can the employer require the employee to use FMLA leave?If the employer fails to provide the employee with the required Notice of Eligibility and Rights or the Designation notice to what penalties, damages or fines might the employer be subject?  Want the answers to the above and more?  Join FiveL Company’s June 25th webcast, “FMLA In the News: What’s Hot and What’s Not.” Click here for more information. Want to hear more?  Attend related sessions at SHRM’s 2014 Annual Conference & Exposition with me and Eric B. Meyer.last_img read more

Making Mobile Printing Easier: Google Announces Cloud Print

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Once every printer is cloud-enabled, Google envisions that users will simply connect their printers to the Internet, register, and start printing from Chrome OS or any other service that supports this new and open protocol. You can find more details about how Google expects this system to work here.Free and Open StandardsAccording to Google, the standards and protocols for enabling this service will be open and freely implementable. It’s important to note that this means that other vendors will be able to offer similar services that should work with all cloud-enabled printers. Thanks to this open protocol, the barrier of entry for supporting these services should also be very low.One of the most interesting aspects of this service is that it will make it very easy for developers on mobile apps on devices like Android and the iPhone/iPad to enable printing from their apps. Right now, printing from mobile devices is almost impossible without resorting to specialized apps that connect to software on a local machine. It’s worth noting that Hewlett-Packard announced a similar initiative in the past (CloudPrint), but this service never materializedUpdate: see statement from HP in the comments below. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… frederic lardinois Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Even though the myth of the paperless office has been with us for as long as we have had personal computers and printers, most of us still have to print a document here and there. Yesterday, Google announced Google Cloud Print, its new plan for enabling printing from its cloud-focused Chrome OS, mobile apps and browser-based web services. Google essentially plans to outsource most of the software infrastructure for printing to the cloud and establish a standard protocol that every Internet-connected printer will soon be able to understand.Cloud-Enabled PrintersIn Google’s ideal world, every new printer will soon support the Google Cloud Print protocol. Under Google’s model, these cloud-aware printers will be standalone devices with an Internet connection. Older printers, in Google’s vision, will be able to access these cloud-based printing services through a proxy on a desktop computer. This proxy will – at some point in the future – ship with the Google Chrome browser. Tags:#Google#news#web last_img read more

Facebook’s New App Center Promises Quality Over Quantity

first_imgDevelopers interested in publishing apps to Facebook’s App Center should take a look at both the guidelines and the tutorial that outlines how to upload the appropriate icons, how to request permissions, how to use Single Sign On (SSO, a requirement for App Center) and the app detail page. This is a good move for Facebook. It will give the company several avenues to start making money off of mobile but also strengthen its position as one of the backbones of the Web. For instance, App Center is both separate from iOS and Android but also a part of it. Through App Center, Facebook can direct traffic to its apps, monitor who and how users are downloading applications and keep itself at the center of the user experience. Developers: Are you jumping to deploy an app to App Center? Or is this too little, too late for Facebook? Let us know in the comments.  Facebook is in a tricky spot with App Center. It will house not only apps that are specifically run through its platform but also iOS and Android apps. Thus it needs to achieve a balance between competition and cooperation with some of the most powerful forces in the tech universe. If an app in App Center requires a download, the download link on the app’s detail page will bring the user to the appropriate app repository, either Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play. One of the more interesting parts of App Center is that Facebook will allow paid apps. This is a huge move for Facebook as it provides a boost to its Credits payment service. One of the benefits of having a store is that whoever controls the store also controls transactions arising from the items in it, whether payments per download or in-app purchases. This will go a long way towards Facebook’s goal of monetizing its mobile presence without relying on advertising.  Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Last September, during the f8 Developers’ Conference, Facebook CTO Bret Taylor said that the company had no plans for a “central app repository” – an app store. Today, Facebook is changing its tune. The social giant has announced App Center, a section of Facebook dedicated to discovering and deploying high-quality apps on the company’s platform. The App Center will push apps to iPhone, Android and the mobile Web, giving Facebook its first true store for mobile app discovery. The departure from Facebook’s previous company line comes as the social platform ramps up its mobile offerings to make money from its hundreds of millions of mobile users. This is not your father’s app store, though.Let’s start with the requirements. Facebook has announced a strict set of style and quality guidelines to get apps placed in App Center. Apps that are considered high-quality, as decided by Facebook’s Insights analytics platform, will get prominent placement. Quality is determined by user ratings and app engagement. Apps that receive poor ratings or do not meet Facebook’s quality guidelines won’t be listed. Whether or not an app is a potential Facebook App Center candidate hinges on several factors. It must• have a canvas page (a page that sets the app’s permissions on Facebook’s platform)• be built for iOS, Android or the mobile Web• use a Facebook Login or be a website that uses a Facebook Login.  Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#Android#apps#Facebook#iPhone#mobile#Social Web dan rowinskilast_img read more