Category: Business Written by Courier Newsroom
Financial Planning Workshop
APRIL 4—The African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania will host a Financial Planning Workshop at the Koppers Building, Penn Room, 436 Seventh Ave., Downtown. Representatives from the Luther Financial Group, Merril Lynch, Fragasso Financial Advisors & Janney will discuss the importance of financial planning as a business owner and the resources available to assist you. Registration is required. For more information, call 412-392-0610 or visit www.aaccwp.com.
The Human Factor
Business Opportunity Fair
APRIL 11—Highmark will host a Business Opportunity Fair at 8:30 a.m. at 120 Fifth Ave., Downtown. This is in regards to the Wexford Medical Mall Project. There will be prime contractors on site to answer specific questions related to diverse partnership opportunities. Pre-registration is required by March 29 and seating is limited. For more information, visit www.highmarkbcbs.com.
Business Trends 2013
Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series
APRIL 12—Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship will host the Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series from 7:30-9 a.m. at Chatham University, James Laughlin Music Hall, Woodland Road, Pittsburgh. Susan Gregg Koger, of ModCloth, will speak on the topic “Dresses and Successes: Turning a Passion for Vintage into a Global Business.” She will discuss how she turned a hobby into an e-retailer known for its innovative social shopping experience. Registration is required and the cost is $25. For more information, visit www.chatham.edu/cwe.
Career Development Series
Job Fair and College Expo
APRIL 19—The Community College of Allegheny County Boyce Campus will host a Job Fair & College Expo from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the CCAC Boyce Campus, Student Union, 595 Beatty Rd., Monroeville. There will be a job fair and a professional dress fashion show at 11 a.m. by the Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 724-325-6771.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 05:59
Category: Business Written by Courier Newsroom
by Cornelius Fortune
Your smartphone just got smarter.
As we depend more on technology for the simplest tasks from recipes to finding directions, our smartphones are an integral part of our lives, and shouldn’t we be able to see what’s going on at home even if we’re hundreds of miles away?
That’s the concept of Belkin NetCam with Night Vision, which is now available from Verizon Wireless.
The Belkin NetCam Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision makes it easy to check in on your kids after school, or keep an eye on your room while you’re away, and the camera connects to your Wi-Fi router without the need of a computer.
Think of it as a stand-in for your home monitoring system. Although the box doesn’t come with multiple cameras, you can at least set it up in a “hot spot” of your choosing.
Simply download the free NetCam app on your iOS or Android device to keep an eye on your home anytime, anywhere. The camera’s wide-angle video captures large spaces while its clear digital audio keeps you from missing conversations or noises. With night vision for recording in low light, NetCam is also ideal for baby monitoring.
With access to your home from wherever you are, this camera is not only a cool gadget to add to your arsenal of gadgets, it has plenty of practical applications worth diving into. It also lets you save video directly to your mobile device, so you can share your favorite memories. NetCam requires a Wi-Fi router with an Internet connection and an Apple device with iOS 4.2+ or an Android device with version 2.2+.
While the Belkin NetCam certainly wouldn’t replace your home security system, it does function as a plausible add-on worth considering if you’re looking for something unique, or even a conversation piece over dinner, the NetCam is obviously ground zero for a bigger technology round the corner.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 March 2013 10:07
Category: Business Written by Courier Newsroom
KEITH B. KEY
PITTSBURGH, Pa.—The African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania has announced that Keith B. Key, president and CEO of KBK Enterprises has joined the Chamber’s Presidential Roundtable, as the first African-American member. Key, a prominent real estate developer, is a native of Pittsburgh, and heads one of the nation’s largest African-American owned real estate development firms. KBK Enterprises is active in cities throughout the nation including Pittsburgh, Ohio, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and New Orleans. KBK Enterprises was selected as developer of Addison Terrace, a former public housing community in the center of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The $130 million dollar award is the largest to a minority enterprise in the history of Pittsburgh. KBK’s previous largest project award of $80 Million was Garfield Commons in Pittsburgh, a community where he was raised. KBK has over $500 million in current activities under contract. Key is also chairman of the Board and Director of the KBK Foundation, a charitable non-profit located in Ohio.
The Chamber’s Presidential Roundtable is composed of 16 top executives in the business and academic communities in our region. The creation of the Presidential Roundtable in 1998 was the result of the Chamber’s need to develop corporate links for relationship building to grow the organization. Former Chairman Robert Agbede, Chester Engineers, Inc.; Thomas Usher, former Chairman of USX Corporation; and Richard Simmons, Chairman Emeritus of Allegheny Teledyne initiated the effort to encourage chief executive officers in the business and academic areas in Western Pennsylvania to commit to being an executive member of the Chamber, and to encourage their buyers and procurement officers to work with the Chamber to identify minority firms for purchasing goods and services. Keith Key has been a member of the Chamber since 2006, and becomes the first African-American to belong to the Chamber’s Presidential Roundtable.
Today the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania has over 500 members and supporters, and is ranked the 11th largest Chamber in the region. The mission of the Chamber is to continuously improve business and professional opportunities for African-American business owners and professionals.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 10:05
Category: Business Written by CNN
by Jennifer Liberto
The U.S. Postal Service must deliver the mail six days a week, said Congress’ watchdog arm in a Thursday legal opinion.
The legal opinion from the nonpartisan agency throws new questions on the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s plans to stop delivering first-class mail, but keep delivering packages and express mail on Saturdays.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office stopped short of saying the U.S. Postal Service’s August plan to end most Saturday mail service violates current law.
The U.S. Postal Service says it’s not ending six-day delivery, only changing it, since it’ll still deliver packages on Saturdays.
However, GAO’s report could make it easier to file a lawsuit to stop the U.S. Postal Service, if it decides to continue with service cuts as previously announced.
“We fully expect the Postal Service’s board of governors and the postmaster general to follow the law and the expressed will of Congress about maintaining six-day delivery,” said Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. “We do not expect to have a legal fight.”
When the U.S. Postal Service announced last month it planned to stop delivering and collecting letters and other first-class mail on Saturdays beginning Aug. 5, several lawmakers accused the agency of overstepping its legal authority.
“The GAO legal opinion clearly rejects the Postal Service’s attempt to circumvent the law,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia who asked GAO to review postal service’s legal authority.
In the past, the agency had said it needed Congress to change current law to cut Saturday
service. After more than two years of waiting for Congress to help, the Postal Service decided to cut Saturday mail, saying the current temporary funding measures gave them a loophole to pursue the changes.
The GAO report said that loophole isn’t there and that current law requires the agency to continue 6-day delivery.
U.S. Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said the agency disagrees with the GAO opinion. He also said it doesn’t address their plan to move to “5-day mail delivery, with 6-day package delivery, during the week of August 5.”
That plan would save $2 billion a year, not much compared to the $16 billion loss the organization reported for 2012.
The key culprit for the Postal Service’s woes has been a 2006 congressional mandate, under which it has to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees. The USPS has been borrowing billions of dollars from taxpayers to make up for the shortfalls.
At the same time, technological advances have led to a decline in first-class mail, which most consumers use to pay bills and stay in touch.
The situation turned particularly dire last year—the agency twice defaulted on payments totaling $11 billion, and it exhausted a $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 March 2013 10:04
Category: Business Written by Charlene Crowell
(NNPA)—In today’s challenging financial times, the cost of living finds many consumers with an ongoing financial challenge to hold on until their next payday arrives. Even worse, when banks peddle predatory payday loans, they pose serious threats to their customers’ financial well-being. Marketed under names such as “direct deposit advance,” these loans are easy to get; but hard to pay off. As consumers get ensnared by the debt trap, banks reap repeating cycles of quick cash.
In its latest report on bank payday lending, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) found that although participating banks claim that their payday loan products are only for short-term emergencies and carry marginal risks, the real-life experiences were the opposite. In fact, the typical bank payday borrower:
•Is charged an annual percentage rate (APR) that averages 225 to 300 percent;
•Took out 19 loans in 2011, spending at least part of six months a year in bank payday debt; and
•Is twice as likely to incur overdraft fees than bank customers as a whole.
In addition, more than one in four bank payday borrowers is a Social Security recipient. This comes on the heels of a key administrative change for seniors on Social Security. As of March 1, all Social Security payments are issued electronically. And although seniors have specific protections from payday lending on prepaid cards, no comparable protection exists on checking accounts.
CRL’s report also calls for regulators to take immediate actions to stop banks offering payday loans from engaging in this form of predatory lending. Additionally, CRL calls for the following terms on small loan products:
•A minimum loan term of 90 days with affordable installments;
•An APR of 36 percent or less;
•Underwriting based on an ability to repay; and
•No mandatory automatic repayment from the consumer’s checking account.
More than a year ago, 250 organizations and individuals sent a letter to federal banking regulators expressing concerns about bank payday lending. Last year, in a separate action, more than 1,000 consumers and organizations told the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about elder financial abuse, including bank payday lending.
At that time, CRL advised, “More than 13 million older adults are considered economically insecure, living on $21,800 a year or less. Senior women in particular face diminished incomes because of lower lifetime earnings and therefore lower Social Security and pension benefits.”
As opposition to bank payday and elder financial abuse grows, banking regulators are continuing to hear from advocates, experts and concerned citizens. Fortunately, advocates are determined to press this issue in growing numbers. In a letter dated March 13, for example, 278 organizations and individuals signed a second letter to regulators.
The letter states, “Payday lending has a particularly adverse impact on African-Americans and Latinos, as a disproportionate share of payday borrowers come from communities of color. High-cost, short-term balloon repayments, and the consequent series of repeat loans, have long been identified by regulators as features of predatory lending.
“Ultimately, payday loans erode the assets of bank customers, and rather than promote savings, make checking accounts unsafe for many customers. They lead to uncollected debt, bank account closures, and greater numbers of unbanked Americans. All of these outcomes are inconsistent with both consumer protection and the safety and soundness of financial institutions.”
The limitation of space will not allow for the listing of all 278 signatories. But they include many national and statewide organizations, including AARP, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the Black Leadership Forum, NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and CRL.
The coalition warns, “Please move quickly to ensure that payday lending by banks does not become more widespread and to ensure that those banks currently making payday loans stop offering this inherently dangerous product.”
(Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at: Charlene.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 10:02
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