Your financial institution has access to your name, phone numbers, home and work addresses, social security number, credit card data, account information and whatever other personal information you use as your security checks. This information has turned banks, credit unions and alternative lenders into technological companies that are driven by data with the ability to analyze millions and billions of data points. In a market where companies would do anything for this type of data, what are your financial institutions using it for?
- Fraud Detection: because we have the ability to use our financial information anywhere at any moment, fraud has become more prevalent. To combat the fraudulent use of credit card and identity information, financial institutions are using your data to detect falsified transactions among all of your legitimate account activity. Has your bank or credit card company ever called you in order to approve a transaction? It was most likely because this transaction was unusual to your spending history based on the data your financial institution analyzes about you.
- Risk Management: your data isn’t only being used to keep you safe; your financial institutions are also using your data to protect themselves. Banks can use your data to monitor your spending and credit activity and make predictions as to how your portfolios will perform over the course of a fiscal year, based on this they can decide to extend or decrease your lines of credit, or refinance your loans.
- Target Marketing: financial instutitutions are also using your data to get to know you better so they will be able to target specific offers, deals and advertisements specifically at you. This data helps banks and credit card companies better understand how you behave financially so that they can target deals and sales on that to give them better success rates.
Big data is trending right now as more and more companies are realizing how valuable all of this information actually is. Due to the Heartbleed bug and other large data breaches at companies like Home Depot and Target, people are also being way more careful with how they handle and allocate all of their personal information. Financial institutions are kept secure under lock and key, both physical and digital, but we do give them a wealth of our extremely sensitive personal data. Due to this growing concern about our personal data, we have decided to delve deeper to get a better understanding of what it is financial institutions actually do with your personal information.
Although there has been a steady increase in the amount of businesses owned by Women Entrepreneurs this past year, Small Business Loan approval rates for Women Owned Businesses has not increased, and in fact is seemingly getting worse. The approval rate for women Small Business Loans is between 15 and 20 percent below that of their male counterparts. One reason for this trend might be that these Women Owned businesses are newer, and have less revenue which deems them as a riskier asset to most traditional lenders. It has also become apparent that women business owners on average have lower credit scores than male business owners, which makes it harder for them to secure traditional financing as well. 2/3rds of all women owned businesses actually have less than $25,000 in revenue a year, another big hinderance to their financing needs. We can only hope and assume that as women owned business age and become more common their lending forecast will look much better
Entrepreneurs who owned and operated car washes during the Great Recession were hit especially hard. Consumers stopped spending and lenders tightened their belts. Now that the Great Recession is over, the tables have finally turned. Consumer spending is up, and banks are vigorously competing to provide car wash financing to borrowers who are a good fit for an SBA loan. If you are a car wash owner, now is the best time since 2007 to look into financing options for your business!
To learn more about car wash financing, visit: http://www.carwashmag.com/issues/current-issue-list/issue-single-view/update-car-wash-financing/46668b452e1f2a182dcd35414d790a81.html
Due to the mass amounts of environmentally friendly products exploding on the marketplace today it should come as no surprise that environmentally friendly businesses are flourishing at a time when environmental stewardship is increasingly drastically across all different spectrums including education, agriculture and the economy. Becoming “Green Friendly” is now more of a demand rather than a suggestion and more and more consumers are making the switch to products that do not harm our earth. So as your customers demand safer environmental practices, capitalize on it by finding your eco-friendly niche, getting international certification from an Eco-label program and create a solid partnership between your business and the environment! Here are 5 Ways you can make your business practices more eco-friendly:
- Create A Sustainability Impact Report
A Sustainability Impact Report can help you gain trust from your environmentally conscious customers because it requires you to measure, assess and report your sustainability performance.
- Choose Better Suppliers
To be a green friendly business it is imperative that you also use suppliers and vendors that are also environmentally conscious. You should be holding all of your vendors to the same standard as you are holding your own business to.
- Use Green Packaging
Use recyclable, sustainable materials to create the packaging for your products so that you can extend your eco-friendliness to your customers as well. A big part of green packaging is also eliminating excess materials that could be used in the production of your products and their packaging.
- Try To Be Zero-Waste
Becoming a zero-waste company is not as hard as it may seem, in fact most companies in Switzerland have already adhered to zero-waste policies and many larger companies in the United States are making plans to shift in this direction as well. . Zero waste is a form of sustainability that involves reusing all resources to decrease the total environmental impact. Basically, the zero waste philosophy entails redesigning the entire life cycle of a product so that every part of the product is reused and no trash is sent to landfills or incinerators. Overall, businesses that adhere to zero waste policies and philosophies see it as an efficient, lucrative, and ethical guide to imitate natural and sustainable life cycles where all discarded materials become resources for others.
- Cut Energy Consumption
There are a lot of easy steps you can take to decrease the amount of energy your business uses each day. Install motion sensor lights that go on and off only if someone is in the premises, and use less energy emitting light bulbs as well. Try to use as much natural light as possible and make sure your employees are shutting down their electronics when they are not being used.
Although small business lending was reportedly decreasing in June, July saw a 7 percent increase in the small business-lending index by PayNet. Not only was lending up, but borrowing also increased by ten percent compared to July of 2013.
Although lending and borrowing are trending up, small businesses are hiring less. It seems as if although growth seems imminent for small business owners, they are still managing their cash flow conservatively; most noticeably by their lack of payroll expansion. In fact the Intuit Hiring Index which was released this week noted that no new jobs where added by small businesses in the United States at all in August.
What these recent statistics suggest about the state of small business in the United States is that it is seeing an area of growth and expansion.